Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Worst Films of 2010 No.8 – The Last Airbender


Four different races, each in command of a certain element (Air, Earth, Water and Fire, Heart wasn't invited) are currently engaged in a huge war started by the Fire Nation under Fire Lord Ozai (Cliff Curtis) and that kid from Slumdog Millionaire (Dev Patel). M. Night Shyamalan goes into the warzone to give you all the badly edited action, incredibly limited acting and wantabe 3D effects fitting of an epic adapted from one of the best cartoon of the last five years. By their powers combined, The Last Airbender is easily one of the worst adaptations of all time.

Reasons it’s on the list:

Relative to a budget of €150 million comes a film that looks like it was made for €150. The effects all look unfinished; the acting is mostly at primary school play level and its all so darkly shot and paced so poorly that it is exceptionally hard to keep track of what’s going on. While this topped a lot of other critic’s lists for worst film of the year, I’m inclined to say that’s mostly down to how ‘safe’ it has become to bash Shyamalan since his last film, the proto-B movie disaster that was The Happening.The Last Airbender is undeniably a failure but there are saving graces, such as newcomer Noah Ringer at least somewhat selling the central character Aang to us. Some of the fight scenes have a nice fluidness to them that I enjoyed. Elsewhere, Dev Patel shows that he’s still a very strong newcomer, although I can’t imagine his career recovering from this kiss of death anytime soon.

Still, it’s 8th on this list for a very good reason, namely its script is almost certainly one of the most exposition heavy and clunky that I have ever seen in a major summer blockbuster (bar perhaps Tranformers 2). From Oscar nods for The 6th Sense to lines like "I could tell at once that you were a bender, and that you would realise your destiny"', Shyamalan has fallen far. Even without the homosexual connotations that myself and the rest of the cinema noticed in that line (oh how we laughed), its typical of the awkward, unnatural-sounding dialogue the film is built on.

The Last Airbenders script is flat-out broken. It's not just weak, its self-contradicting, unintentionally hilarious and over the top, all the time striving for an epic air it just can't... quite... reach. Now why does that sound like another script I can think of...

Ohhh... Edgy!

If you hated this, also avoid: The Sorcerers Apprentice

The Sorcerers Apprentice is an exercise in nothingness. Its utterly and entirely forgetful. Even cheese-king (also my favorite actor) Nicolas Cage looks sick of this film from the moment he appears. Even worse is the fact that the effects team clearly put effort into their work. Damn it though if Jay Baruchel doesn’t ham himself into the ground in the most extreme attempt at over-compensation since the last time Tom Sizemore bedded someone. Not a proud day for anyone involved and not even so-bad-its-good in the vein Nicolas Cage does so well. Also a scene involving jump starting someone’s heart, which just proves the old adage that basing scenes on Motley Crue songs rarely works.

So yeah, the expected 1st is in fact 8th on the list, anyone want to start placing bets on the real No.1... but before that I'll see you all tomorrow for No.7, til then!

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