I have never watched the anime, so before the hate mail starts rolling in, I HAVE NOT SEEN THE ANIME! NOW PUT...THE KITTEN...DOWN!!!! There, that's better. Violence against Kittens is so gauche, anyway.
What I have done is seen every Shyamalan movie, at least made in North America. Here's my take on them: 6th Sense: a 3 star movie with a 5 star ending. Unbreakable: his best work, an extremely underrated film, and a 5 star movie. Signs: Yeah, I understand the problems people have with it (as in why would aliens whose weakness is water attack a planet that's 7/10ths covered in water?), but whatever, I still dug it. The Village: once again, understand why everyone is pissed at it, but liked it, anyway. Lady in the Water: horrible story, just completely outlandish and ridiculous. The Happening: terrible story, terrible characters, terrible acting...neat concept, but just overall a bad movie. Which leads me to Airbender, which has gotten a outpouring of horrible critical backlash. Wooden acting, absurd dialogue, terrible story, plodding plot, too serious, etc, etc.
Well, here's my response: I actually liked this film. I do believe that it could have had more action in it (though you get to see everyone use powers, and you can actually see the action that does happen, so that's great). I think too they tried to jam too much into this movie, which causes some potentially interesting characters to fall by the wayside. However, it's not a horrible movie, not by any stretch of the imagination.
The wooden acting? That's a matter of opinion, though I didn't come looking for Shakespeare. Absurd dialogue? Same as the acting. Terrible story? You have warring tribes that have command of the 4 elements (1 for each tribe, with the Avatar having the capability to use all 4, though he can't, and when you watch the movie, you'll see why). You have great locations, you have powers all over the place, you have spiritualism, you have great fx...I don't know what everyone is screaming about the story for. Like I said, yes, they could have streamlined it, as sometimes it threatens to fall all over the place, but we're talking about semantics, here. Plodding plot? I don't get that. It seemed things happened really fast in this movie, we go from the Avatar being unfrozen to him fighting the Fire Tribe pretty fast. I don't know what people were talking about, here. It was too serious? In what way? Because they seemed to take things seriously? Because there was no cheesy humour? How exactly was it too serious? I mean, you have fantasy, but they didn't cheese it up. So, how exactly is that too serious?
Like I said, it isn't perfect, and if people have problems with this and that (especially if they're fans of the show), that's alright. I just don't agree with them. I think this was a solid fantasy movie with neat things going on. It's too bad there probably won't be a sequel, as I would have liked to have seen more of the Airbender and his world.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I bid thee a fond airbend.