REVIEW: THE LAST AIRBENDER
OVERVIEW: Director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs) brings to life the extraordinary journey of an unlikely hero called upon to save his world in THE LAST AIRBENDER, arriving in a DVD/Blu-ray Combo pack, single disc DVD and single disc Blu-ray on November 16, 2010 from Paramount Home Entertainment. Based on the hugely successful animated TV series “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, the exciting live-action film from Paramount Pictures and
Nickelodeon Movies tells the story of four nations, Air, Water, Earth and Fire, locked in an age-old conflict that can only be ended by the Avatar—a single boy with the power to manipulate all four elements. Earning more than $280 million at the global box office to become one of the top 10 family films of the year worldwide, this inspirational adventure features newcomer Noah Ringer (Cowboys & Aliens) as Aang, the lone Avatar, with Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Jackson Rathbone (Twilight saga) and Nicola Peltz (Deck The Halls). From the producers of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park, THE LAST AIRBENDER delivers spectacular visual effects, exotic lands and magical creatures with the uplifting message that anyone can be a hero.
Water, Earth, Fire. Four nations tied by destiny when the Fire
Nation launches a brutal war against the others. A century has
passed with no hope in sight to change the path of this
destruction. Caught between combat and courage, Aang (Noah
Ringer) discovers he is the lone Avatar with the power to
manipulate all four elements. Aang teams with Katara (Nicola
Peltz), a Waterbender, and her brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone),
to restore balance to their war-torn world.
FILM REVIEW: Well folks, as I’ve often mentioned, I have three sons. That said, Avatar the cartoon was very popular in my house. We (yes, we as in the boys and I) were avid fans and I believe there are still a few action figures lying around the house. First time that I saw a preview of he Last
Airbender, I remember the boys got so very excited and I just couldn’t wait to see how they would flesh it out. The fact M.
Night-Shaymalan was writing and directing the film truly sealed the deal for me. I knew that I had to review this film (not to mention, bring Ralphie along).
Aang (Noah Ringer) awakens after a hundred years to find a war torn world where the Fire Nation is quickly taking over the world and folks that’s a bad thing. He is the last Avatar which is an overwhelming reality for a little boy, but Aang just isn’t any little boy. He is not only the most recent reincarnation of the (think Dalai Lama) Avatar, he is the only person left on earth that can bend Air, Water, Earth and Fire, but he needs to develop all of these talents. He is a boy who became lost whilst running away from this great responsibility and thus from home. Prince Souko (Dev Patel) is the Prince of the Fire nation and due to a dysfunctional relationship with his, father the Fire Lord Ozai (Cliff Curtis), he has been banished. He is in search of redemption in his father’s eyes and feels that he will not have peace until he captures the Avatar and brings him to his father. He is a is a boy desperately trying to return home.
In his attempt to stop the Fire Nation from taking over the world Aang is helped by Katara (Nicola
Peltz) and her brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), the two siblings that found
Aang. Let me tell you that the choreography of the martial arts in the film is very beautiful and I’m sure your little one will be asking for lessons shortly after viewing it.
Cinematically, the movie has gorgeous views of land, forests and ancient temples, but the darkness of the Fire Nation and all that they hold is very prevalent. The kingdom of the Water Nation, in which the beautiful Princess Yue (Seychelle Gabriel) rules, reminded me of one of the lovely kingdoms in The Lord of the Rings.
M. Night Shaymalan has always been one of my favorite contemporary writers/directors and knowing that he is of Indian birth made it psychologically interesting (I have thing about analyzing people) that he made all the
villains from the Fire Nation Indian. Dev Patel did a very good job at playing a dark and brooding young Prince hell bent on making his distant father proud of him,. But I have to tell you that his choice of this film as his follow-up project after Slum Dog Millionaire was surprising. Aasif Mandvi played Commander Zhao so well that I nearly forgot how much I’ve enjoyed his comedic turns in movies such as Ghost Town.
Mom and Dad, yes your child will want to drag you to see this film, but if you enjoy fantasy films or martial arts, this will also be enjoyable for you. As my buddy Marilyn stated , the ending is way to obvious in its effort to set up the next installment and thus leaves you going “..what?”. For me the surprise was actually the lack of said surprise in its ending. What I mean by that is that surprise endings are a staple of M. Night Shaymalan and I’m afraid that this was written more for its commercial value than as a great, big screen version of the
Nickelodean series. I enjoyed it, Ralphie enjoyed it, Marilyn enjoyed, it and even Miguelito enjoyed it (you don’t know him so you wouldn’t understand how hard it is to get a positive reaction from him)!
The film is
presented in 1080P widescreen in a 2.40:1 aspect ration
preserving its theatrical format. The picture is just
flawless, bringing to perfection the special effects of the film. Not only the picture looks great in
this release, also the sound it is good, a 5.1 DTS-HD Master
Audio (48kHz/24bit) in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French that provides a
good complement to the picture. It also includes
English Spanish French
The Blu-ray Combo includes over two hours of in-depth, behind-the-scenes special features including a nine-part documentary on the making of the film, a featurette entitled “Origins of the Avatar”, which documents the creative transformation of the hit animated series to the big screen, picture-in-picture insights from the cast and crew that deconstruct some of the amazing action and visual effects sequences, deleted scenes, outtakes,
DVD copy and Digital copy of the film.
Overall The Last Air Bender Blu-ray Combo delivers
a little more than 2 hours of bonus features that
ones again show the quality and quantity that Paramount Home
Entertainment puts in their Blu-ray blockbuster releases. Definitely this
is a Blu-ray to own.
2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen 1080P
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and Brazilian Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital
English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese
Discovering The Last Airbender (nine-part documentary in HD)
Inspirations – Co-creators of the show and M. Night Shyamalan give insight into the inner journey the characters take
Spirituality – Explore the deeper spirituality that colors The Last Airbender
Heroes – Aang,
Katara and Sokka journey together to save the world;
behind-the-scenes piece provides a closer look at these
characters and the actors
Greenland – With sub-zero shoots on glaciers and frozen rivers, travel with the filmmakers to Greenland to meet the locals and experience the magnificent landscapes captured for the powerful opening of the film
World – The sets, props, costumes and make-up that helped bring to life four unique nations in the film, each with a distinct look and style
Action – With the film’s “bending” rooted in Martial Arts, uncover Shyamalan’s process with Noah Ringer to create complex, heart-pounding action sequences
Effects – Closer look at the jaw-dropping cinematography and special effects that were created to blend seamlessly with ILM’s computer generated imagery
Music – Longtime creative collaboration between M. Night Shyamalan and composer James Newton Howard is celebrated in the film’s sweeping score
Finale – The journey culminates in one breathtaking moment on the ice wall
Siege of the North (HD) – Get transported to the frozen realm of the Northern Water Tribe and the largest indoor film set ever built on the U.S. east coast
Origins of the Avatar (HD)
– Birth of the mythology from the original co-creators of the animated show, Mike DiMartino and Bryan Bryan Konietzko. Concept art from the popular series provides further perspective into how the story would eventually reincarnate into an epic feature film
Katara for a Day (HD) – Spend a day on the set with Nicola Peltz
Deleted Scenes (HD)
Avatar Annotations (Picture-in-picture on select scenes) – Insights with cast and crew
Feature Film DVD Copy
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