The Last Airbender

Ask a Nickelodeon-obsessed tween and they’ll tell you that a Bender is someone who can control an element. Benders specialize in fire, earth, air and water, and in this swishy, Asiatic playground, Fire Benders bully the rest into submission. Call director M. Night Shyamalan a Wood Bender; this kiddie cast is as flat and stiff as particle board and Shyamalan used up all his attention span for actors in The Sixth Sense. There, he bothered to guide Haley Joel Osmont to act. Here, star Noah Ringer is just fodder for the CGI wood chipper; he’s a set piece to waste time between battles. Not that the expository, workman dialogue Shyamalan writes is worth the paper it’s written on. The flick pulls off the feat of being both over-explanatory and confusing—it’s like an encyclopedia on fast-forward. Shyamalan doesn’t trust the human element. We’re told how characters feel, that a water warrior (Jackson Rathbone) and a water princess (Seychelle Gabriel) have just fallen in love without letting them generate any hot steam. Still, if you must see it as a baby-sitter, don’t spring to see it in 3D. It’s like watching 2D with glasses. And as the film itself proves, you shouldn’t mix elements.

Click here for The Last Airbender in the IE Weekly

Leave a Reply