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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars seriously
Ok seriously people it was one person's interpretation of how he imagined that a live action movie should be. Granted I understand that many people had expectations and all but come on already . No I haven't seen the cartoon version and I do agree at least the names should have been pronounced properly butin the end it was like I said it was one imagining of events. I...
Published on November 11, 2010 by bgon78

663 of 732 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars As someone who had never seen the show...
I'm someone who saw this movie without having seen a single minute of the anime it was based upon, or having known one single thing about the anime. I had heard the movie got bad reviews when it was in theaters, and I had heard something about the fans of the show being upset about the movie, but I was only vaguely aware of the this, and I didn't really care. Movie...
Published on November 23, 2010 by romisep

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663 of 732 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars As someone who had never seen the show..., November 23, 2010
This review is from: The Last Airbender (DVD)
I'm someone who saw this movie without having seen a single minute of the anime it was based upon, or having known one single thing about the anime. I had heard the movie got bad reviews when it was in theaters, and I had heard something about the fans of the show being upset about the movie, but I was only vaguely aware of the this, and I didn't really care. Movie critics get things wrong often enough, and the trailers looked like the movie could be cool, particularly the first one. I almost watched it at the theater this summer, and was willing to spend money on 3D, but I ended up going to other movies instead.

So, last Friday I ended up renting the movie and watching it. I then started watching the series online (check Hulu, though it might not be up any more), and managed see all 61 episodes of the series over the course of four days. This has put me in the unique position of being able to review this movie BOTH as someone who doesn't know anything about the anime series, AND as someone who is (now) a fan of the anime series.

First, as someone who knew nothing about the show:

In a nutshell, I found the movie to be dull, annoying, annoyingly stupid, and pointless. I couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters. For a fantasy world, complete with magical powers and diverse peoples, a hundred year war, and an adventurous quest to avert the apocalypse, the story was amazingly boring. AND it managed to be simple and confusing at the same time, which is an achievement I didn't know was possible. It's simple, in that it's a standard good guy vs. bad guy storyline, and complicated in that how this world works isn't explained very well and random stuff keeps happening with no explanation.

The protagonist of the story is a kid whose got special super powers, but needs training to use the super powers, and so has to go on a journey to get trained by some people at the north pole. He starts his journey at the south pole. Why he can't find a teacher anywhere closer than literally the farthest away they could be other than outer space, I don't know. The antagonist is the Fire Nation, apparently a nation that wants to rule the whole world. The super kid is important because he's something called 'the Avatar' or maybe it's because he's the last of his kind, the Airbenders, or because he's been frozen in a block of ice for a hundred years, or something, but this isn't explained very well in the movie. The few things that are 'explained' in the movie are explained with stupid reasons. Other stuff is filed under random s**t that just happens. When the bad guys raid a village, they ask for all the old people to be brought out. Why? I don't know. I don't think even the bad guys know. When two people are escaping a prison, a lone arrow is shot across a vast canyon, to perfectly strike one of the escapees across the face, cracking the porcelain mask they're wearing and knocking them out, but not actually hurting the person. Where did the arrow come from? Was it a lucky shot? An unbelievably skilled archer? Why was there only one arrow shot at the escapees and not a hundred? Were all the prison archers on lunch break or something? Then there's giant flying furry beast that the heroes of the story use for transportation that's just THERE with superpower boy. RANDOM INEXPLICABLE STUFF.

Then there was the dialogue. Not a single word anyone ever said actually gave you any idea as to what there personality was like. All dialogue was designed to further the "plot", such as it was. And it was REPETITIVE. In the first ten minutes of the movie one character uses the phrase "the fire nation is here with their machines" TWICE in a single minute (Also, there were no machines. There were soldiers and they came on a ship... maybe the ship was 'the machines'?). Another character, one of the main bad guys, mentions his dastardly secret plot to kill a spirit like half a dozen times. When he finds the spirit (which is apparently a fish... but also the moon, or the moon spirit or don't ask IDEK) he talks about his plot AGAIN while holding the fish up in a bag, and I'm like, "JUST KILL THE STUPID MOON FISH ALREADY!! You've only been yapping about it for the last HOUR!".

The dialogue is dull and insipid. I'd expect this kind of work from a 7th grader. A failing 7th grader. And the acting is worse. It's like the actors are reading their lines for the first time. The emotional range of the characters is the following: fear of the fire nation, worshipful hope that the avatar airbender boy will save the day, and, um.... yeah that was about it. There was a brief love interest near the end, but again, stilted acting just made it painful to watch. There was ZERO humor in this movie.

I don't know how else to describe this. I think I'll borrow Roger Ebert's words:

"The Last Airbender is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented. The laws of chance suggest that something should have gone right. Not here... The dialogue is couched in unspeakable quasi-medieval formalities; the characters are so portentous they seem to have been trained for grade school historical pageants. Their dialogue is functional and action-driven. There is little conviction that any of this might be real even in their minds. All of the benders in the movie appear only in terms of their attributes and functions, and contain no personality. Potentially interesting details are botched..."

Yeah, that about sums it up.

Now as a fan of the show:

Before seeing the the anime series, my feelings on the movie were somewhere along the lines of, "Meh. Whatever." It was just one more bad movie I'd wasted my time on and in due course I'd eventually forget everything about it. Someday, I would get those memory braincells back. Or at least forget I had them.

No more.

Having seen the show, I can honestly say that the movie is a heartbreaking tragedy. Including marketing, they sunk about three hundred million dollars into this movie. Given their source material, they could have made something as exciting and as fun as Star Trek, as epic as Lord of the Rings, and as magical as Harry Potter. A visual experience as stunning as Avatar, and with fight scenes and cinematography more beautiful than "House of Flying Daggers" and "The Fall". With characters and a storyline that pulled you in and gave you an experience you'd remember forever. It could have been something truly awesome.

If it had been merely a good movie, that would have been disappointing, but okay. If it had been a mediocre movie, that would have been sad, but there would have still been room for redemption in the sequels. Instead, it's this. This... this make me sad. And it makes me mad. I can only imagine how much angrier I'd be if I had been a fan from the beginning, been excited about the movie, and waited and waited for it, and then to have this come out...

This is painful enough as it is and I didn't have any hopes dashed. I fell in love with the series already knowing what the movie was. I can understand the fanbase's rage at M. Night Shyamalan. If ever you're in a movie theater, and a trailer starts playing with his name on the screen, and someone in the audience boos and heckles him loudly and vociferously, that's an "Avatar: The Last Airbender" fan who had something they loved destroyed by him and they deserve their anger.

Because there is no way to redeem this with a sequel. I sincerely and fervently hope that they DON'T make a sequel. And with all the money spent on this... There's no way anyone's going to do ANOTHER adaption of the show anytime soon. At least not in the next decade or two, if ever.

This isn't just another piece of mediocre cinematography. MNS didn't just make another bad movie. He took something away from us that we probably won't ever get back. He permanently spoiled something that was beautiful. Because "Avatar: The Last Airbender" will always be related to this movie. This can never be undone.

And I really really wish it could be.
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301 of 358 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wasted potential, July 11, 2010
M "Delicious Strawberry" (I wait behind the wall, gnawing away at your reality) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Last Airbender (DVD)
Originally, I had been intending to wait until this film came out on DVD so I could rent it from a Redbox. However, my friend wanted to see this, and invited me along. I thought, why the heck not.

He wanted to see it in 3D, so I thought, sure, might as well. The 3D cost 4 extra bucks, but after the movie was over, I felt totally ripped off. The movie previews that came before the actual Airbender movie itself had more 3D in them than the danged movie! There were a few moments where the 3D effects popped out, but overall, if you watch this in 2D, you're not really missing out on anything here.

I don't know what M. Night Shymalan was thinking when he directed this. Now, it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to get all of the cool stuff in Season 1 into this movie, but what the people responsible for this atrocity did was disgraceful. There was so much cut out. Many beloved characters - the Kyoshian Warriors, Jet, Bato, Jeong Jeong, Haru, Avatar Roku, King Bumi, Madame Wu, the pirates, the list goes on... none of them made a single appearance. Many things were simply smushed together - for example, Haru's village and the Kyoshi Village have apparently been mushed together as one - but there's no Haru or Kyoshian Warriors (the only thing we see is a old stone statue of Avatar Kyoshi) All the cutting out of vital elements of the story was really unneccessary as this movie was barely one and a half hours. Titanic was twice that long, and this movie could have done at least two hours easy. Why such a short film? Only God knows why. Maybe M. Night or the producers got bored and decided to just cut out as much as he thought he could get away with.

Of course, you CAN'T fit twenty episodes into one movie. We all know that. I've seen enough book to movie adaptations to know that a movie adaptation can never get everything in from the source, but the problem with this movie is that there was minimal effort to capture the spirit of the TV series. I didn't feel like the producers and director CARED for the story, with the way the movie came out plot and dialogue-wise.

I loved Dev Patel as Zuko. And for a odd reason, I rather liked Iroh's appearance. Both of them were decent actors. But none of the lines from the show made it to the movie - such as Sokka's sarcasm, Aang asking Katara if she wanted to go penguin-sledding, the delicious banter between Zhao and Zuko (and the Agni Kai that resulted from it), Iroh's nuggets of wisdom, and so on and so forth. What made the show so great and enjoyable was stripped away from the movie. I didn't FEEL any of the essence of the show in this.

The Bending was a joke. Some of the fight scenes were awesome, but much of the Bending was preceded by what looked like interpretive dance whereas on the show, Bending was pretty much instantaneous with just one or two moves or gestures. Why did M. Night do this to the Bending arts? Again, only God knows why. He clearly had the budget, and the costumes were great - I loved the clothing of the Fire Lord and Admiral Zhao. Overall the costumes for everyone seemed well-done, but so many other things were lacking and props could not save the atrocious storyline, writing, and dialogue.

Very little of the original show remains. Even the freaking name pronouncation has changed. If all of the character's names were changed and the Bending was renamed 'element magic' or something like that, this could easily have passed as an entirely different movie/story. One would think that with such an AWESOME TV show, the movie would be awesome too. Most of the actors for this film - especially Aang, or should I say, 'Ohng' - failed in their roles and were so unlike their TV counterparts and such lackluster actors in their roles that I wonder why M. Night chose them in the first place. It seems especially that the actors for Aang and Sokka have never seen the TV show and didn't bother studying their characters - which to me is shocking, because any actor in a movie adaptation should take the time to study their character and source material.

Sadly, it's a terrible film, and I'm afraid of what M. Night and the producers will do with the next movie. Even people who haven't seen the TV show are trashing this film, and I have to agree. So much has been cut out that if you don't have the TV show information in your mind, things become really confusing. Hopefully M. Night will read all the negative reviews and rethink his plans for the next Airbender movie, because if he didn't even take the time to make sure the character's names were pronounced properly, he shouldn't be too surprised that people are being so critical of the film.
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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Largest disappointment in a movie adaptation, October 26, 2012
The movie began promising with a strong opening that paid tribute to the TV series, but then everything quickly collapsed.
1. The names of key characters were changed: This wasn't a big deal in comparison to everything else, but it gave viewers Shyamalan's focus right in the beginning. Shyamalan wanted to make the movie his own and was willing to spend time to make changes on already perfect aspects of the show instead of focusing on ways that he could have better adapted the show to the big screen. Changes in movie adaptations are necessary, yet Shyamalan diverged to far from the show.
2. Eliminated the personalities of side characters. i.e. Sokka had only two very poor jokes in the movie despite being comedic relief in the TV show, Iroh was no longer heavyset and easygoing in day-to-day life.
3. Alienated the personalities of key characters: Aang was no longer a happy kid. Did he ever smile in the entire movie?
4. Destroyed key movie moments: In the Blue Spirit scene, Shyamalan did an excellent job until the end. Aang saved Zuko by pulling him into the forest. Then Shyamalan should Aang stare at him and leave. In the TV series, on the other hand, there was meaningful dialogue in which Aang questioned the purpose of their fighting and even asserted that they could have been friends without the war. The moment created serious reflection in both characters and was crucial to their development in the TV series. Shyamalan passed on the great half a minute opportunity.
5. Lack of Kyoshi Warriors: It is understandable in a movie, but the Kyoshi Warriors are important in later seasons. Furthermore, they demonstrate great examples of feminism. This balance was crucial in the TV series; the Kyoshi Warriors showed women can perform better in typically male roles.
6. Zuko didn't battle General Zhao at the end. This battle marked the conclusion of the conflict that Zuko initiated during his actions as the Blue Spirit. Changing this battle took meaning out of the story.

This list could go on, not quite indefinitely, but very, very close. A movie that had so much to live up to and simply had to follow the near-perfect story of the TV series to do it, failed tremendously.
The movie was one of the biggest disappointments of my childhood. My favorite show, ruined on the big screen. If you would kindly, for not me but yourself, watch the TV series.
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173 of 216 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Skip the movie, watch the cartoon, October 28, 2010
This review is from: The Last Airbender (DVD)
I don't understand how Shyamalan could mess this up so badly. My girls and I own the 3 books of the nick cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender and we watch it all the time. It has everything a great story needs - action, a little bit of romance (not too much - thank goodness), humor, great characters - both the good and the bad, suspense, and the plot keeps moving forward taking the viewer on an exciting adventure. But this live action version is an overblown waste of Millions of $$. This is just a big M. Night ego trip. There's an action sequence where Aang who is supposed to be fighting for his life, escaping with the help of the blue spirit, finds himself in a large circle surrounded by boards and he just starts blowing the boards into different configurations for a few minutes while the blue spirit is left hanging fighting the bad guys. This is pretty much the way the entire movie goes. MNS doesn't seem to know how to use the characters powers in any useful way, he just goes into special effects mode like "oh, this would be cool to see" without thinking of whether it makes any sense for the character to be doing that. So, the story tends to sits like a big steaming pile of flying bison poop.

Main problems with this movie:
1. Names are pronounced differently from cartoon (is this an elitest version of the cartoon? Aang is now Ahng?)
2. This is supposed to be an asian based world... uhm, where are the asians?
3. Characters are pretty clueless and they do a lot of monologuing (argh!)
4. Where are the laughs? Avatar is filled with jokes and lighter moments, this is just dull, dull, dull.

Zuko's uncle Iroh is the best looking character in the movie.
hmmm... yep, that's about it.

This money would have been better spent creating a 4th book in the legend of Aang. Nickelodeon, if you have any say in the live action movies I seriously recommend taking more creative control or just getting a different director. Luckily, the creators of Airbender have announced a new show called Avatar: The legend of Korra set to air November 2011. In the meantime, I'll be watching all of my old episodes from the cartoon series just to clear my head after watching this junk.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars dont watch it, July 10, 2012
you should just watch the avatar the last Airbender cartoons. the story is just absolutely amazing and you get emotionally invested in the show. just don't watch the movie. this movie is horrible.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wroong, October 22, 2011
This review is from: The Last Airbender (DVD)
There are good adaptations. There are bad adaptations. And there are adaptations that rip asunder the source material and gleefully devour its corpse.

This is one of the last category.

I might have been able to still enjoy "The Last Airbender" if it had merely had special effects, a horrible script and actors with the charisma of a plank. But director M. Night Shyamalan gets EVERYTHING ELSE wrong too, from the character motivations to bending.

Southern Water Tribe girl Katara and her brother Sokka stumble across a glowing glacier, and find a young Airbender boy inside. Since all the other Airbenders are dead, Katara figures out that Aang is the Avatar -- the master of all four elements, and the only person in the world who can defeat the powerful Fire Nation.

However, the Fire Nation has already found him, in the form of the disgraced Prince Zuko (Dev Patel). Aang, Sokka and Katara set out on a perilous voyage to the North Pole to find a waterbending master. But the malevolent Admiral Zhao -- Zuko's nemesis -- is approaching the North Pole with the Fire Nation navy, with a plan that may destroy them all.

M. Night Shyamalan had a golden opportunity with "The Last Airbender" -- the original cartoon was intelligent, funny, complex and filled with brilliant martial-arts and strong philosophical overtones. So instead he decided to make a movie with NONE of that -- a witless, humorless, simplistic stumbling behemoth of a film.

The culture, the characters, the climactic battle, the bending, the acting, the action sequences, and even the pronunciation of the names... EVERYTHING IS WRONG. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. But if I listed everything wrong with the movie, this review would be the size of a novel.

Even from an objective perspective, this movie is a disaster. Shyamalan clearly has no idea how to write an action movie, blasting through incoherent fight scenes in one long pan. The story feels painfully repetitive (how many times is Aang going to be captured?!) and the script is horrendously pompous, humorless and rushed ("We have to show them that we believe in our beliefs as much as they believe in theirs" -- WHAT? You're not trying to SAVE THE WORLD?).

Also, there are gaping plot holes that a three-year-old can spot. So the Fire Nation imprisons Earthbenders, who manipulate rocks and soil... in a friggin' MINE. And the pseudo-Buddhist Aang apparently has no problem with COLD-BLOODEDLY KILLING HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE. Was Shyamalan mocking us with how bad he could make this, or did he just not care?

I will give Dev Patel credit -- even though his Zuko's main source of angst seems to be a mild case of eczema, he does put a lot of passion and intensity into the role.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of the other actors. Aang is wooden and mopey, Katara is weepy and inept, and Sokka comes across as a ticking time bomb. Even the talented Shaun Toub plays the horrendously-written role of Iroh with an air of boredom -- he always looks like he's thinking, "Okay, when do I get paid?" Only Aasif Mandvi seems to be having fun chewing the scenery.

M. Night Shyamalan managed something truly impressive in "The Last Airbender" -- he managed to take a funny, well-written, intelligent series and suck out all the humor, cleverness and likability from it.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please, watch the show and forget this film exists. Your IQ will thank you., June 21, 2013
I cannot begin to express how utterly horrified I was of this movie and how I wanted to rip my eyeballs from their sockets during every scene...

Okay, so that is a bit melodramatic, but I am an Avatar: The Last Airbender show fan and M. Night Shyamalan was practically handed a gift-wrapped, recognition-worthy storyline. How he managed to get it ALL wrong is a mystery, it can only be bad karma chasing him. However, I will not say that Shyamalan hasn't done a decent film in his life, because he is very good in his odd genre niche, but oh, the things that made my brain ache in this film.

I have read many of the other reviews on here that are also 1 star and I can say that they are not exaggerating. If someone said that The Lord of the Rings was a pig's slop pot I would have hard words with them (ahem, 30 Academy nominations and 17 Academy wins). But trust me, this movie is close to a pig's slop pot. It ranks with three other movies as the worst I have ever seen: Batman Forever, Batman and Robin, and Journey 2: Mysterious Island.

It fails on every level: plot, character development, dialogue, cinematography, special effects, casting. The movie is very choppy and fails to explain simple things, like why Zuko wanted the old people to come out in the Southern Water Tribe village. The Avatar, or the Last Airbender, vanished 100 years ago. He therefore thinks that the Avatar is an old man. The lack of explanation in this regard leaves you with a "huh?" moment.

Then there's Katara's narration, which could have cleared things up but didn't and only served to restate what we were already seeing on screen. And Aang not introducing himself or explaining anything to his new pals during the ride to the Southern Air Temple (which takes days in the show) made for a head-smacking moment. I remember leaning over to my equally horrified older sister and saying "I guess they called him "hey, you arrow kid" and just stared at each other the whole time."

They don't clarify why Aang needs to go to the NORTHERN Water Tribe. The Avatar cycle follows a pattern. Water, Earth, Fire, Air. Aang is an airbender, therefore he needs to first master water, then earth, then fire to become a fully realized avatar. Why he can't learn this in the SOUTHERN Water Tribe is because the Fire Nation kidnapped or murdered all the water benders from there, except Katara, whose mother protected her by claiming to be the final rumored water bender. Her mother was captured and Katara's secret was safe. So Katara only knows simple bending and cannot teach Aang, who needs a master. Problem solved and simply explained, too. So why can't they do it in a movie?

And finally, I had a huge beef with the bending itself (and the name pronunciation, white-washing of the cast, lack of acting talent, and no respect for the original show) that M. Night Shyamalan portrayed.

During the firebending sequence in the Earth Kingdom I again talked with my sister and we agreed it was "sissy" bending. Firebending can come from two primary sources in the show (though lightening bending is another matter). You can either begin it in the chest, feeling the energy and channeling it that way...or you can do what Zuko does in the show: use muscle and rage. Firebending is aggressive, the movements have the same attitude as boxing motions. Fire benders do not need torches to make fire...they create their own.

Earthbenders have to be like the rock, immovable and surefooted. They feel the earth with their feet and use it in head-on, no-nonsense forms. All I saw were clods of dirt and a lot of dust flying about, not solid matter (which earthbenders can create by using the energy in bending to take a small handful of rocks and melding it into one big rock).

Waterbending and Airbending suffered similarly and for me, most noticeably. The forms they used to portray them were all wrong. I noticed how long it took Katara to bend water with her hand movements and that those didn't even match up with what the water was doing! It was all fancy, shmancy posing with little purpose and no connection to the elements. And bad CGI, too, to boot.

What hurt the most (SPOILER) was that I couldn't see Aang and Katara together, which is what happens in the show. Furthermore, I didn't even care. Everyone was so poor in their acting that it was cringe worthy at times. Zuko is very aggressive in the show, like a volcano about to blow and he yells at his uncle many times. Here his lid is on so tight he barely has any expression at all. And his scar? That must have been some agni kai, where his dad supposedly burns him. It looks like his dad slapped him and dug a little deep with the fingernails. And speaking of the Firelord...isn't he supposed to have a top-knot and be a frightening, well built man? His hall is dark and lit only by fire that runs in front of his throne and casts him into shadow.

Okay, I know I'm ranting now, but this is so bad I want to use all four elements on M. Night Shyamalan. He ruined the climax of the film and failed to reveal the extent of the Avatar's power and connection to the spirit world. He killed the humor in Sokka, destroyed the charm of Iroh, and made the world of the Four Nations Caucasian (but only with the main characters, background people could be Asian). In short, he removed the philosophy and heart of the show, which leaves you with nothing. In fact, if he had made a movie about nothing it would have been more enjoyable.

Please, watch the show and forget this film exists. Your IQ will thank you.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Watch the cartoon, April 4, 2013
Amazon Customer (ABERNATHY, TX, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Last Airbender (DVD)
I loved the cartoon and was highly disappointed. The only character they got remotely right was that of Sokka. Katara, who was the semi-leader and motivator for the most part, was a cry-baby. Aang, not Ahng, was not cheerful or even remotely happy. The whole movie was made to impress the audience with visual effects, not actual acting or plot. The whole problem with many newer movies that have the 3d option is that it is all they are, a 3d spectacle. No script, no acting, just special effects. Stick to the original cartoons. They are fantastic!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Does Not Simply Not Hate This Movie, July 6, 2014
This review is from: The Last Airbender (DVD)
I became an Avatar fan one fateful day about two years ago. I was over at a friends house and she had an Avatar comic book. I read it, fell in love with the story, and watched all the episodes that were made and the sequel trilogy as well. The show is amazing! It expresses things most kid shows don't often venture off to.

And then the movie came out.

I had heard a lot from my friends that the movie was terrible, made you want to puke. But I just had to see it for myself, now didn't I? Worst mistake I've ever made. I bought it, watched it, and I just felt like crying. How could a wonderful show like that deserve such a movie like that?!

Almost every detail from the show was wrong, the acting was terrible, and don't even get me started on the bending. FIREBENDERS DO NOT NEED LIT FIRE TO FIREBEND! Zuko's scar was just his left side burns shaved off, Katara had no hair-loopies, the airbending tattoos weren't blue, etc.

I won't spoil too much more. Just don't see it. Watch the show, forget the movie. Just...forget
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute failure., September 3, 2012
Never again. This is the movie that I use to describe how good or bad something is.
"How bad is it?"
"Last Airbender bad."
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The Last Airbender
The Last Airbender by M. Night Shyamalan (DVD - 2010)
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