“The Last Airbender” Review
Why all the hate? Since when did such a harmless film deserve so much negativity?
First of all, let us all just stipulate that the fantasy genre is an inherently silly one to begin with. The reason that the “Lord of the Rings”, “Harry Potter” and “Narnia” films are treated the way they are is because they can’t legitimately carry the emotional weight of films set in “reality”. Ultimately, it is a children’s genre. Sure, adults can enjoy and admire the films too — but it is a branch of filmmaking that should have the younger audience in mind. Films like “The Princess Bride” and “Labyrinth” are wonderful because they aren’t afraid to accept the childlike playfulness that their subject matter demands. Films like “Lord of the Rings 1, 2 & 3″ suffered a little because they took themselves too seriously.
Secondly, let us all concede that 3-D is a dumb fad that either needs to go away or get infinitely better. The recent glut of 3-D films is utterly ridiculous. It doesn’t make a film any better. If anything, it trumps the story and overshadows everything else by way of distraction. The decision to switch “The Last Airbender” at the last minute was a dreadful one brought on by “marketing geniuses” who haven’t really got a clue about filmmaking.
I am glad that I saw “The Last Airbender” on DVD, in regular old 2-D, long after all the poor reviews. Because of that, I had lower expectations and I wasn’t forced to endure the darkening effects of 3-D, which I hear made the film visually unappealing. I am also happy that I saw the film with my preconceived notion that the fantasy genre should primarily be enjoyed by children.
With all that being said, I actually found “The Last Airbender” to be a nice movie. Did it shatter my universe? No, of course not. It has its fair share of flaws. The dialogue is awkward and the story doesn’t flow as smoothly as it should. However, I thought the film looked wonderful and I enjoyed the appropriately lighthearted performances. I want Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin. I want Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie. Silliness is a NECESSITY in a film like this. I do not want Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee bellowing melodramatic nothings over a cauldron of fire, while a dribbling mob of evil black orcs massacre everything in sight.
Here is the bottom line — FANTASY SHOULD BE FUN AND LIGHT-HEARTED ADVENTURE!!! “The Last Airbender” fit that bill just fine. I enjoyed it more than the usual crap this genre passes off as entertainment.
People should stop the “fake outrage” and reserve their disdain for the myriad other cinematic abortions released in cineplexes every week.