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Okay, I know. The Last Airbender is hardly steampunk. But I took the tot to see it yesterday. Armed with chocolate and the knowledge that it would suck based on all the reviews I’d read, I braced myself for two hours of schlock that would pale in comparative to the cartoon the two of us had watched together, over and over.
I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t a brilliant movie that I’d go to the theaters over and over to see, but it wasn’t a bad way to spend two hours and we’ll probably buy it when it comes out on DVD.
For those of you familiar with the cartoon, the move focuses on “Chapter One: Water” which is the first season of the four season cartoon. I didn’t know this and had prepared for them stuffing four seasons into two hours. They didn’t and I’m glad.
There were plenty of times where I wanted to scream “show not tell” at the movie screen. The dialogue often felt very expository. I know trying to cram 11 hours of cartoon into 2 hours of move is difficult, but it’s not an excuse.
I didn’t find the location shifts confusing, nor did I think there were too many. But then again, I’m very familiar with the cartoon, so my mind was able to fill in any holes. Someone who hadn’t seen all four seasons over and over might not be as tolerant.
The movie felt rushed in places…especially the relationship between Sokka and Princess Yue, which was disappointing. That is a very important part of the storyline which continues to impack Sokka through the whole series. Though I still cried at a certain pivotal scene involving the princess, which I though was beautifuly shot and handed well.
Actually Sokka as a character disappointed me. One of the great things about the cartoon was Sokka’s emotion and reactions in comparison to the others, this felt like it was totally lacking in the movie.
But I liked Katara and I thought Uncle Iroh stole the show…but he was always a great addition to the cartoon.
I thought the cinematography was very good…but the cartoon was also very cinematic. I thought the flying bison was a rather good effect. And the fire nation boats. Wow. I thought those were better than the cartoon, as well as the fire nation machines. I would have loved to see more of them.
Sure, this movie lacked a lot of things including the heart, soul, and character development that made the cartoon sparkle. (Which was a little disappointing because it had epic potential) It also wasn’t nearly as dreadful as I was led to believe. I’d go see the next one.