Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review: Despite some exquisite special effects, the potential of its popular source material is wasted on an incomprehensible plot, laughable dialogue, and a total sense of detachment.
Noah Ringer ... Aang
Dev Patel ... Prince Zuko
Nicola Peltz ... Katara
Jackson Rathbone ... Sokka
Shaun Toub ... Uncle Iroh
Aasif Mandvi ... Commander Zhao
Cliff Curtis ... Fire Lord Ozai
Seychelle Gabriel ... Princess Yue
The Last Airbender
The premise of The Last Airbender is based on the old Greek idea of the necessity for balance among the four elements. It tells the story of Aang (Noah Ringer), a young boy with an elaborate tattoo on his shaved head who suddenly pops out of the middle of a frozen lake. Could he be the Avatar, the one who can help defeat the evil forces of Fire? He is brought back to life by a brother and sister Katara (Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), who live in the frozen realm of water. She’s a water-bender-in-training, a term for those with the ability to command that element and use it as both weapon and defense.
Aang is being pursued by both the fire lord, Ozai (Cliff Curtis), and by Ozai’s disgraced son, Zuko (Dev Patel) – who believes that capturing the avatar and bringing him to Ozai will redeem him in his father’s eyes. Aasif Mandvi ("The Daily Show")hilariously plays a preening general in the employ of Ozai.
Director M. Night Shymalan has tansferred this story that will be familiar to television audiences of the former Nickelodeon cartoon TV series, but actually only the title has survived in this big-screen, live-action special effects extravaganza, which has also been converted to 3-D in line with current audience popularity. But, there’s a start-and-stop quality to the story, which lurches from episode to episode without much care for transition, pausing once in a while to add some stuff about meditation or reincarnation. The likelihood that this projected first installment ofThe Last Airbender will spawn any successors seems rather remote.