Monday, July 5, 2010

The Last Airbender... Dreadful baby, just dreadful...

Disappointment... Right now I am disappointed.  Like many, I followed the doings of the Avatar on Nickelodeon network back in the middle of the decade.  It was pretty cool.

This movie is ultimately bad.  Regrettably, Shyamalan fucked it up.  The source material was pretty sensational.  The production design is sensational.  The visual effects are absolutely sensational.  This movie falls down hard and fast when it comes to script and actors.  Both of those facts point directly back at Shyamalan.

The actors themselves don't seem too bad... with the exception of one.  However, the greazie, cheezy, corny dialog they utter doesn't get printed until it is delivered in the hammiest fashion possible.  There is a whole bunch of ham acting in this movie.  In the summary, they speak of laughable dialog.  They ain't wrong about that.  I can imagine crews of movie critics belting out howls of bad laughter over some of this bad dialog.

Yes folks, Shyamalan wrote this script, produced this movie, and directed it too.  All causal arrows point back at him.  If he is not responsible for the corny dialog, then who is?  If he is not responsible for directing these actors to hammy delivery, then who is?  If he did not yell "Cut! Print it!"  Then who did?  Shyamalan has to be held responsible for this.

I loved The Village and also Sixth Sense, but lately Shyamalan is on a loosing streak.  

This movie suffers from other issues as well.  Specifically, the story is horrendously rushed.  Like Dune (1984) The Chronicles of Narnia (2005), and most recently The Golden Compass (2007), this core story is presented in less than Cliff's Notes form.  Shyamalan tries to pack all of season 1 into a single 2 hour film.  What he produces is a sketchy outline.  This approach is absolutely and completely wrong from inception.  This strategy never works.  It ruined Dune, Narnia, and the Compass.  

Now this rotten approach has claimed Avatar as well.  Those who saw all of season one will know much of the material that got skipped, and they can follow the cliffs notes with some rational understanding.  Everybody else will think this is a wacko acid trip that cannot be comprehended.  This movie should have been two or three movies, not one.

Anyhow, a lot of marvelous production design, talented people, and visual effects went to waste in this film.  I am sorry to say that.

The popular scuttlebutt says that  Shyamalan intends to make two more of these movies:  The first for season 2 and the second for season 3.  That would be dreadful if it happened.  Fortunately, I don't think we have much to fear.  They obviously spent a shitload of money on this movie, and I doubt it will make money.  If such is the case, the Avatar series will suffer the same fate as The Golden Compass series.  They never got past book 1.