Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Last Airbender?

M. Night Shyamalan's star has dimmed so much in the ten years since he shook up Hollywood with The Sixth Sense and the even better Unbreakable, that studios would be wise to divorce his name from his work. From a filmmaker who has been scraping the bottom of the creative barrel for nearly 5 years, adapting a source material seemed like the sort of career life-support he was due for. Take the story out of his hands and let him  do what he is good at; namely suspense. While an adaptation of a children's anime series doesn't lend itself to atmospherics, I at least expected mixed reviews given his eye for detail and skill behind the camera. Funny thing about career arcs; they're a tough track to jump. Especially when you're on the downslope. It currently boasts a Tomatometer score of 7% (6 positive reviews, 78 negative), a number that makes his last film The Happening (18%) look like Raging Bull. Here are some choice quotes from a few reviews in case you are still on the fence (SS, ahem).

"The current national priorities should be as follows: reduce carbon emissions and stop funding the films of M. Night Shyamalan." - Cliff Doerksen, Chicago Reader

"It's rare to see a film so choppily edited, poorly scripted and spastically directed that you can barely understand what you're watching." - Rafeer Guzman, Newsweek

"If any movie ever warranted a class-action lawsuit against the filmmakers, it’s The Last Airbender. " - Keith Phillips, The Onion AV Club

"The Last Airbender is an insult to anyone with a triple-digit I.Q. and a willingness to use it inside the confines of a movie theater." -James Berardinelli, Reelviews

And finally, Mr. Roger Ebert,

"The Last Airbender is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented" Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

1 comment:

  1. I'm not on the fence here. The animated series is one of my favorite movie/TV/series of all time. The characters, themes, and action are all amazing. I was initially excited about this movie but even before I read the reviews I wasn't planning on seeing it. Now that they slapped 3D on at the last minute AND the reviews are atrocious I'm planning on positively not seeing it. I think of these movies like an open casket at a funeral. What you see inside isn't the amazing movie you remember. It's a shell, a corpse.

    I was pretty burned by the experience of the Golden Compass. His Dark Materials is one of the great trilogies in children's literature and I couldn't believe how not only did the plot of the movie deviate substantially from the plot of the first book, but they also changed a MAJOR plot point that had to do with someone's motivation FOR THE REST OF THE SERIES. I hope they don't finish the other two and I hope the rest of the Airbender movies die on the cutting-room floor. RIP. Their memories will live on on our minds, or at least our Netflix instant queues and book shelves.