I mentioned before that while my wife is away I have been indulging myself in watching Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix. Well, Netflix also has the live-action M. Night Shyamalan movie. Now, I’ve already seen the movie, I got it from Netflix a few months ago and watched it with the wife, but I wanted to watch it again now that I’ve seen all episodes of the TV show, so that I could do a proper review and comparison. Ah, the joys of being a nerd.
First, it was as bad as I remember it being. It is a bad movie, with overly cheesy dialog and contrived plot devices. And they didn’t even remain true to the characters. There were amazing characters, with great backstory and depth, but none of that transferred into the movie.
My biggest complaint is: Why isn’t Sokka funny? Sokka was hilarious in the TV show, that was his role, he was the comic relief that did occasionally have a great idea. He was the un-talented, un-magic one of the group, with Katara being a waterbender, Aang being the Avatar, and when they meet Toph, she’s an earthbender. But Sokka? He’s just got his boomerang, his crazy ideas, and his jokes!
Second: Why did they feel the need to change the pronunciation of half of the names? It’s not like this was an adaptation of a book, where there may be some debate among readers as to the correct pronunciation of names, unless the author specifically states it. But this movie was based off of a television show — as in, with sound, we had characters calling each other by name, with correct pronunciation! And for the movie they decided to throw that all out the window and make up their own. It’s like somebody got a hold of the script of the television show, thought it was a good idea to make a movie from, but never bothered to actually watch the show.
Third: As I mentioned before — who wrote the dialog for this movie? It’s worse than anything I’ve ever heard. So over-the-top, so cheesy, so let’s-explain-the-obvious-in-case-the-audience-didn’t-get-it-yet. Now, I understand they’re trying to condense plot and character development that occurs over 20 episodes into one 100-minute movie, but still, I could write better dialog than that.
It seems they hoped that their ‘effective’ use of CGI and 3-D, and interesting martial arts scenes would overshadow all of the flaws in the movie. For what it is, this movie is all right, but it’s nowhere near as good as the source material. While I recommend people avoid this movie, I highly recommend the TV show. That is definitely worth watching!