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The Last Airbender

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The Last Airbender
LastAirbenderPoster.jpg
Yeah folks, somehow they turned one of the greatest animated series into one of the biggest cinematic disasters.
Genre: Action
Fantasy
Adventure
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Produced By: M. Night Shyamalan
Sam Mercer
Frank Marshall
Written By: M. Night Shyamalan
Based On: Avatar: The Last Airbender
by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko
Starring: Noah Ringer
Dev Patel
Nicola Peltz
Jackson Rathbone
Shaun Toub
Aasif Mandvi
Cliff Curtis
Seychelle Gabriel
Dee Bradley Baker
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie
Distributed By: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: June 30, 2010 (New York City)
July 1, 2010 (United States)
Runtime: 103 minutes
143 minutes (originally; cut to 103 minutes)
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $150 million
Box Office: $319.7 million
Sequel: Untitled The Last Airbender sequel (cancelled)


"The Last Airbender is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented. The laws of chance suggest that something should have gone right. Not here. It puts a nail in the coffin of low-rent 3D, but it will need a lot more coffins than that."
Roger Ebert[1]
"The ghostwriter who changed M. Night Shyamalan's original script under his name, you and Paramount Pictures have devastated the legacy of the Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series... and now you shall pay the ultimate price!"
All the previous Avatars offended by this movie


The Last Airbender is a 2010 American action-adventure fantasy film written, co-produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Based on the first season (Book One: Water) of the Nickelodeon animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender, the film stars Noah Ringer as Aang, with Dev Patel as Prince Zuko, Nicola Peltz as Katara and Jackson Rathbone as Sokka. Development for the film began in 2007. It was produced by Nickelodeon Movies and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film premiered in New York City on June 30, 2010, and was released the following day in the United States on July 1, 2010.

Plot

A century has passed since the Fire Nation declared war on the other three nations of Air, Water and Earth in their attempt to conquer the world. Sokka and his younger sister Katara, who live in the Southern Water Tribe, discover an unusual iceberg. Breaking into the iceberg releases a beam of light and reveals a 12-year-old boy named Aang and his pet flying bison Appa.

Zuko, the disgraced prince of the Fire Nation, detects the light from Aang's release and arrives at the Southern Water Tribe to demand the villagers hand over "The Avatar": the only person capable of manipulating, or "bending", all four elements of air, water, earth and fire. Aang surrenders himself to save the village, but escapes the Fire Nation ship and flies to Appa, brought by Katara and Sokka. The trio travel to Aang's homeland at the Southern Air Temple, where Aang himself learns he was in the iceberg for a century and that the Fire Nation wiped out the other Air Nomads, including his guardian Monk Gyatso. In despair, Aang enters the Avatar State and finds himself in the Spirit World where he encounters a Dragon Spirit. Katara's pleas bring Aang out of the Avatar State.

The group arrive at an Earth Kingdom village controlled by the Fire Nation. When they are arrested and imprisoned, they incite a rebellion, battling and defeating the Fire Nation soldiers occupying the village. Aang tells Katara and Sokka that he only knows airbending and has yet to master the other three elements. They make their way to the Northern Water Tribe where Aang can learn from water-bending masters.

During a side trip to the Northern Air Temple, Aang is betrayed by a peasant and captured by Fire Nation archers led by Commander Zhao. However, a masked marauder called 'The Blue Spirit' helps Aang escape. Zhao realizes that Zuko is the Blue Spirit, and has a crossbowman fire a bolt that knocks Zuko out, but Aang uses his skills to escape with the unconscious Zuko. Aang watches over Zuko until morning, then leaves to reunite with Sokka and Katara. Zhao tries again to kill Zuko by blowing up his ship, but Zuko secretly survives and sneaks aboard Zhao's ship.

Upon arriving, Aang and company are welcomed by the citizens of the Northern Water Tribe, and Waterbending Master Pakku teaches Aang and Katara. The Fire Nation arrives and Zhao begins his attack while Zuko continues his independent search for the Avatar. After defeating Katara in battle, Zuko captures Aang, who reenters the Avatar State to search for the Dragon Spirit for help to defeat the Fire Nation. The Dragon Spirit advises him to "use the ocean and show the power of Water".

Returning to his body, Aang battles Zuko until Katara freezes Zuko in ice, then leaves to join the battle. Zuko's uncle Iroh and Zhao make their way to a sacred cave where Zhao captures the Moon Spirit. Despite Iroh's pleas, Zhao kills the Moon Spirit to strip all the waterbenders of their abilities. Enraged by Zhao's sacrilege, Iroh reveals his mastery of firebending, frightening Zhao and his entourage out of the sacred cave. Princess Yue gives her life to revive the Moon Spirit. Zhao finds out Zuko survived and they prepare to fight, but Iroh talks Zuko out of it and Zhao is drowned by waterbenders. Recalling his life before being trapped in the ice, Aang enters the Avatar State and raises the ocean into a gigantic wall to drive the Fire Nation back.

Zuko's father Fire Lord Ozai learns of the defeat and tasks his daughter Princess Azula with preventing the Avatar from mastering earth and fire and said that she "do" to him.

Why It Can't Save the World

  1. This film, to date, is one of the absolute worst victims of executive meddling: M. Night Shyamalan, who directed the film adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, was inspired to direct it after his daughter dressed up as one of the show's characters, Katara for Halloween. He originally intended to make a faithful adaptation of Book One: Water and planned on adapting the remaining two books, Earth and Fire, as well. However, Paramount discarded his original script and hired a ghostwriter who barely knew about the series and Nickelodeon behind his back.
    • What makes it worse is that the producers didn't even bother to watch the show at all!
    • The show's creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, later revealed that the project had been given the go-ahead without their consent.
  2. Incredibly poor and terrible acting from the cast, ranging from being utterly lifeless and emotionless (e.g., Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone and, to a lesser extent, Dev Patel) to obnoxiously hammy (e.g., Aasif Mandvi). Nate Ploof from "Stupid Beagle Reviews" stated in his review that he'd seen middle school plays with better acting than this film.
  3. It heavily relies on exposition without any emotion, with "The Nostalgic Critic" Doug Walker describing the movie as "all explanation and no humanity".
  4. Terrible editing with no flow from scene to scene.
  5. Weak, lazy choreography and cinematography with awkward close-ups for the actors and static shots, along with slow-motion fight sequences that look more like choreographed dances.
  6. The pacing is so lazy and terrible compared to the show.
  7. Terrible writing that tries to cram the entire first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender into a less-than-2-hour-long movie and fails miserably.
    • As a result, most of the character development and arcs from the original show are non-existent in the movie.
  8. Awful attempts at world-building compared to the show.
  9. It barely has the charm that the show had, instead feeling rather depressing and lifeless, and barely even tries to be "faithful" to the TV show it was based on, but it's actually unfaithful.
  10. To rub a salt to the wound, it has a very, VERY poor grasp of the source material. For example:
    • One of the most notable changes was the miscasting choices, some of which were caused by nepotism (Nicola Peltz was cast as Katara as a favor to her billionaire father, Nelson) and name recognition (Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire fame was cast as Prince Zuko, who is supposed to be from a culture resembling that of Imperial Japan).
      • Another controversial change was Sokka, Katara and Aang being portrayed by white actors.
        • Along with Zuko's race change, the Fire Nationals in this movie were switched from being East Asian to South Asian and Middle-Eastern (with some white actors being seen in several scenes), which is very disrespectful to the source material.
        • This even resulted in the appearance of the show's characters becoming unrecognizable in the film for following reasons:
          • Katara now has her hair down instead of having her signature "hair loopies".
          • Prince Zuko has normal squared hair instead of his signature ponytail, while his signature scar looks more like a bad sunburn.
          • Fire Lord Ozai doesn't have long hair and a beard, and now has a normal squared hair.
          • Pakku has normal white hair instead of the bald hairstyle.
          • Kanna also doesn't have "hair loopies".
          • Admiral Zhao doesn't have his signature sideburns from the show and has the same hairstyle as Ozai's.
          • Uncle Iroh is thinner, younger and has dreadlocks and a full beard, while his hair is now black instead of grey-white. Though Iroh did lost weight at one point in book three.
          • Princess Azula has long hair in the film, while she has short hair in the show.
          • The Fire Nation soldiers wore with horns and a white "o" helmet). Here in the movie, there armors look like samurai.
          • Appa, Aang's flying bison in the movie, now has long legs with chicken feet.
          • The Kyoshi Warriors have no makeup.
          • Monk Gyatso, Aang's mentor who was an elderly Tibetan man in the TV series, is now a middle-aged African American.
          • Haru, an Earthbender who was a teenager in the TV series, is now a little boy.
    • The theme of a boy (Aang) realizing his destiny to save the world with help from his friends is changed to focusing more on the "inner conflict" of being unable to waterbend at its fullest potential.
      • To make matters worse, Aang got the hang of waterbending quickly in the show, and it was Katara who was struggling to master waterbending.
    • Momo and Appa are the only hybrid animals in the film.
    • They even created new characters that were never featured in the show whatsoever and are not as original:
      • Koh the Face Stealer was replaced by a new character called the Dragon Spirit, who also replaced the Fire Nation-born Avatar Roku.
      • An unnamed villager at the Northern Air Temple is a generic "villain sympathizer" character who betrays Aang for some reward money.
    • The entirety of the first season, consisting of twenty episodes that last twenty-three minutes (a total of seven hours and forty minutes) has been compressed into ninety-six minutes' worth of film (not counting the credits), forcing a huge number of plot elements to be either heavily truncated or outright removed.
    • It also changed or removed many important scenes:
      • Aang doesn't immediately ask Katara to go penguin-sledding with him after waking up, and he doesn't even tell her or Sokka his name until they're at the Southern Air Temple.
      • Aang barely even fights with Zuko at the Northern Water Tribe.
      • Zuko and his uncle Iroh testing Aang and the firebenders trying to stop him from escaping was rushed and ends with Zuko and Iroh staring at Aang, Katara and Sokka as they fly away on Appa.
      • The Kyoshi Warriors, in the deleted scenes, do not encounter Aang, Sokka and Katara in-person.
      • The sub-stories about the Kyoshi Warriors, Hahn, Jet, King Bumi and Zhao's master Jeong Jeong were removed as well.
      • Chief Arnook is written out as being dead in the film adaptation.
      • The Avatar state (the one where Aang's eyes and tattoos glow bright white-blue and he temporarily gains the ability to bend elements he hasn't yet mastered) is never mentioned.
      • Aang first waterbends by training with Master Pakku rather than going into the Avatar State during a fight with Zuko and the Fire Nation soldiers on a ship.
      • The Earthbender prison camp is in the middle of a quarry, rather than on a metal ship like in the TV series - which creates a massive plot hole, as they could escape very easily, yet they don't do so for some reason. In the series, no Earthbending was possible on the metal ship, so it made sense for them to be roused and empowered by Katara to not lose hope and fight back because there was a big risk and they had something to lose... but in the movie, they're surrounded by Earth!
      • Aang's flashbacks of his early years at the Southern Air Temple and his teachings from the Air Nomads were severely reduced.
      • It's stated that, if a person becomes the Avatar, he or she can never have a family. The show actively contradicts this, as Avatars Kuruk, Kyoshi and Roku are all stated to have had families of their own.
      • In the movie, Aang says that, to get airbending tattoos, a person has to meditate for long periods of time without losing focus and that some of the Air Nomad monks could even meditate for four days. In the show, Airbenders get their tattoos after completing all thirty-six tiers of airbending.
      • The Spirit World is just a plain forest with nothing to expand upon.
      • Instead of Iroh telling the senior officers of Zuko's ship about how Zuko was scarred and banished, Zuko tells a boy at a teahouse about him. How does this boy know about his backstory?!
        • Speaking of it, Ozai and Zuko do not get shirtless and are only seen in his throne room rather than in an Agni Kai arena. Also, Zuko got his scar as a little boy instead of a teenager.
          • Also, it even removes why Ozai was punishing Zuko for.
      • Aang is captured by Fire Nation soldiers at the Northern Air Temple instead of the Yu Yan archers during a trip to find medical supplies for Katara and Sokka.
      • Sozin's Comet is stated to arrive in three years instead of at the end of summer.
      • Iroh tells Yue to sacrifice herself to save the Moon Spirit and the Water Tribe's waterbending, rather than Yue doing it of her own accord.
      • Zhao stabs the Moon Spirit to death with a knife, rather than killing it with a blast of fire.
      • Rather than Aang going into the Avatar State, fusing with the Ocean Spirit and wiping out the entire Fire Nation armada, he instead summons a giant tsunami that causes them to flee.
      • A lot of notable characters like Avatar Roku, King Bumi, Jet, Suki, the Yu Yan archers and Zhao's master Jeong Jeong are never shown or even mentioned in the movie.
      • There are two mistakes that can be easily spotted in the intro of the movie:
        • In the intro of the show, the symbols of the respected elements behind the benders were authentic Chinese symbols; but in the intro of the movie, the symbols of the elements behind the benders are complete gibberish.
        • There's a grammatical error in the opening text of the movie. Where it says "Water, Earth, Fire and Air Nomads", they didn't put an Oxford comma after "Fire", which makes it look like the intro is saying that the Nomads were both Firebenders and Airbenders.
  11. The film takes itself way too seriously, unlike the animated TV series, which has both light-hearted and dramatic moments.
  12. Several of the characters' names are mispronounced, similar to the 1994 Street Fighter movie. For example, Aang is mispronounced as AHNG instead of ANG, Sokka is mispronounced as SOHK-kə instead of SOK-kə and Iroh is mispronounced as EE-roh instead of EYE-roh.
    • Some say that the incorrect pronunciation was done to give the characters more Asian-sounding names, even though none of the characters in the film have accents.
    • It also somewhat explains the title not having the Avatar title because of an unrelated movie directed by James Cameron being released before this film did, and this will also affect most later Avatar universe installments going forward, as even the "Avatar" title in the movie was mispronounced as AH-və-tahr instead of A-və-tahr. Of course, it also mispronounced "Agni Kai" as ag-nee-KEE instead of ag-nee-KYE.
  13. The 3D conversion is very bad, and because it was horrible, it "won" a one-off Razzie Award for "Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3D" (mentioned in "Awards and Nominations" section
    • Not helping is that forty minutes' worth of footage was removed from the film at the last minute to facilitate a terrible 3D conversion thanks to Paramount rushing the movie out for its release in July 2010 and hiring a bad writer to alter Shyamalan's script without his knowledge. It probably wasn't worth it, as it made the movie much worse with many of the aforementioned and described below problems stemming from this cut
      • What doesn't help is that the film's novelization has over twenty differences (some of which are major) that got axed as a result.
        • Even Shyamalan admitted that he was completely out of his element directing an action-adventure film instead of his usual horror-suspense fare.
  14. Poor grasp of the lore from the series, with bending seeming to be generally much, much weaker:
    • Firebenders are shown to be required to actually use a source of fire, which is a rather baffling change, given that Firebenders produce fire from chi, their own internal energy, in the series.
      • To make matters worse, Iroh can produce fire from chi when he's angry. And the firebenders respond with "He's making fire out of nothing!". So what does he do? Iroh just uses his fist to unleash fire on the soldiers to distract himself and then just...forced them to flee instead of blasting them.
    • Airbenders rely on sweeping, rapid, circular movements.
    • Waterbenders take forever to start moving a small puddle by "dancing hand and arm chant".
    • In the infamous "pebble dance" sequence, it takes a team of SIX Earthbenders to throw one little rock by stomping their feet 3 times, twirling their hands, kick again, and punch to summon a floating tiny rock so one Earthbender could punch it. A single Earthbender in the TV series could lift a giant boulder with one hand, while four Earthbenders were capable of taking down an entire group of Fire Nation tanks.
  15. Immense disregard for real-world physics, particularly in one scene where the Fire Nation soldiers invade the Northern Water Tribe with "drill helmets" that tear through thick ice in mere seconds... even though they would actually take almost four months to drill through the ice. In the series, it took the Fire Nation a few days of constant raiding before they were able to break through the city walls.
  16. The trailer showed a scene where Aang is about to fight the Fire Nation all by himself, but the scene never actually appears in the final movie (likely because of the movie being cut short as mentioned above).
  17. Some incredibly laughable dialogue, such as:
    • "We were forced under the water of the ocean."
    • "Bring me all your elderly!"
    • "Are you an airbender, boy?"
    • "This time, we'll show the Fire Nation that we believe in our beliefs as much as they believe in theirs"
    • "YOU'RE LYING!"
  18. Uncharismatic portrayals of the characters from the TV series:
    • Aang, who has always been portrayed as a playful and kind kid who struggles with the responsibility of being the Avatar, is portrayed here as a whiny, angsty brat who almost never cracks a smile.
      • Noah Ringer, who played Aang in this movie, stated that he had "no previous acting experience", proving that he was a terrible casting choice.
        • Similarly, Nicola Peltz's audition tape for Katara was described as "subpar at best".
    • Katara, instead of being a self-dependent, mature person who is also one of the greatest-ever Waterbenders and an "older sister/mother" figure to Aang in the series, is now a completely flat character that is an absolute joke of a Waterbender who mostly exists to deliver exposition.
    • Rather than being a humorous, wise-cracking person who has self-esteem issues that he hides behind a "tough guy" persona, Sokka is now a serious teenage soldier who has an unquenchable bloodthirst and the personality of a twig.
    • Zuko is portrayed as a generic "edgy" teenager rather than an impatient, yet emotionally conflicted person struggling between his free will and the demands of his father and current Fire Lord, Ozai. His motivation of disguising himself as the Blue Spirit and saving Aang from Admiral Zhao is also never explained. His actor, Dev Patel admitted his disdain for his role and experience with the movie. He states that during his performance as Zuko, all he saw was a stranger on the screen that he couldn’t relate to.
    • Speaking of Ozai, he is shown in full from the very beginning, whereas the series kept his appearance a mystery until the third and final season. Unlike the first season, where he was a man in the shadows, Ozai himself barely serves any purpose against the attack against the Northern Water Tribe and seems aware that Zuko is the Blue Spirit. Even his personality is changed from a sadistic tyrant into an emotionless, one-dimensional villain who is contemplative and decisive.
    • Master Pakku barely has any personality or character development with Katara. His battle cry also sounds very weird.
    • Uncle Iroh, who's otherwise somewhat faithful to his show counterpart, lacks the carefree side of his personality and doesn't use his firebending abilities until the climax.
    • Admiral Zhao, the main antagonist of season 1, is barely intimidating and his rivalry with Zuko is almost non-existent. Instead, he is a very weak villain who has a bizarre obsession with a "secret library" that he ransacked in order to find information that would help him defeat the Northern Water Tribe.
    • The Fire Nation Soldiers are lifeless fools and even just being reckless noblemen who just kidnap Earthbenders that attack them in defense while making fun of Aang by asking if he is really an airbender and never mentioned that that they have a metal ship and how they can easily use drills on icebergs.
    • The Earthbenders are portrayed as weaklings and idiots who are too feeble to rebel against the Fire Nation, despite being surrounded by Earth in their prison camp.
      • Speaking of Haru (as mentioned as a child instead of a teenager), he is much weaker and useless than his tv counterpart.
    • Princess Azula is a one-dimensional sadist who laughs at Zuko (while the show depicts that she is smirking, not laughing) when Ozai burns part of his face off in an Agni Kai duel.
  19. Pointless sequel-baiting involving Ozai tasking Zuko's sister Azula with hunting down Aang, which is never resolved.
  20. Even when the film tries to have emotional moments, all of those scenes just serve to have characters deliver more exposition rather than talking about or showing how they feel or express what they like or dislike.
  21. M. Night Shyamalan did a weak and poor job of directing this movie, which resulted in him "winning" a Golden Raspberry Award for "Worst Director" (also mentioned in "Awards and Nominations" section).
  22. Because this movie got very negative reviews, it is notorious for ruining the reputations and, to a lesser extent, careers of people who were involved in the movie.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The soundtrack, composed by James Newton Howard, is surprisingly amazing.
  2. It has a good recreation of the intro from the television series, barring the use of a gibberish language in place of authentic Chinese characters.
  3. Despite her character's race being changed, Seychelle Gabriel's performance as Princess Yue was moderately well-received by fans (barring the "penis hair" meme based on the rather unfortunate appearance she has when seen from behind in one shot), and series creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino would later cast her as Asami Sato in the sequel series, Avatar: The Legend of Korra.
    • Similarly, Shaun Toub's performance as Uncle Iroh was also well-received and seen as somewhat faithful to what he is in the show, despite his character's race being changed as well.
    • Dee Bradley Baker returned to do the vocal effects of Appa and Momo from the cartoon.
    • There are also some chinese/asian actors portraying the Earth villagers.
    • Despite being generic, the Dragon Spirit's voice acting is pretty good (though it's not really surprising given that it's John Noble, who played Denethor in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, voicing him).
  4. Decent visuals in some scenes.
  5. The production designing and sets are surprisingly good.
  6. Aang's airbending tattoos look more detailed than the show's rendition.
    • Zuko's Blue Spirit mask is much more detailed as well, featuring long hair and a Chinese dragon-like design.
  7. The teaser trailer released in 2009 feels much more promising, with the aforementioned deleted scene of a hooded Aang training and preparing to fight the Fire Nation inside an airbending temple.
    • However, if it wasn't executed very poorly and the script was more faithful to the show, it could've been a much better movie.
  8. The posters look very beautiful and nice to look at, it can even be considered to be one of the best movie posters of all time.
  9. M. Night Shyamalan did apologize for the film's failure a few years later and did admit that it was terrible.

Reception

In stark contrast to the animated series' widespread acclaim, The Last Airbender was universally panned by critics, audiences and fans of the original animated series upon its release, and it is widely considered to be not only the worst Nickelodeon movie of all-time, but also one of the worst films ever made. Many reviewers criticized the screenplay, acting, directing, casting, plot holes, unfaithfulness to the source material, visual effects, editing, characters and last-minute 3D conversion. It is commonly described as "a badly-made summary of the first season of the show". Fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender tend to be especially harsh towards the movie. Years after its release, word got out that its misdeeds weren't entirely Shyamalan's fault, but that of the film's producers, who didn't even bother to watch the series.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a "rotten" approval rating of 5%, based on 192 reviews with an average rating of 2.96/10, making it the lowest-rated film produced by Nickelodeon Movies, as well as Shyamalan's worst-reviewed film to date. The site's critical consensus reads "The Last Airbender squanders its popular source material with incomprehensible plotting, horrible acting, and detached joyless direction". Metacritic has a weighted average score of 20 out of 100, based on 33 reviews, indicating the "generally unfavorable reviews" category. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average rating of "C" on an A+ to F scale. Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film half a star out of four and described the film as "an agonizing experience in every category I can think of". Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times said in his review "By specifically critical and broadly adult standards, this film is undoubtedly a disappointment, but it is disappointing in a way that its intended audience may not notice".

Jen Yamato of Movies.com awarded the film one-and-a-half stars out of five and said "The good news for those eagerly anticipating this live-action, big-budget adaptation is that the 3D isn't horrible. The bad news? Just about everything else is".

Box office

The film opened up at #2 on its opening weekend, grossing $40,325,019 domestically. On its closing weekend, it made a total domestic gross of $131,772,187. In overseas territories, the film grossed $187,941,694. Overall, the film made a worldwide gross of $319,713,881. Despite the negative critical reception, the film was a box office success. However, due to the low profits of the first film, the planned trilogy was ultimately scrapped. It is the fourth highest-grossing film produced by Nickelodeon Movies, behind The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Adventures of Tintin.

Awards and nominations

The film dominated the 2010 Golden Raspberry Awards, "winning" five Razzies from nine nominations: "Worst Picture", "Worst Director", "Worst Screenplay", "Worst Supporting Actor" (which Jackson Rathbone "won" for both his role as Sokka in this film and as Jasper Hale in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) and the one-off special "Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3D" Razzie.

Videos

Trailers

Reviews

Trivia

  • This was the third Nickelodeon film to receive negative reviews since Good Burger (although the former has a cult following) and Snow Day, but the very second Nickelodeon film to get horribly panned by critics, fans of the original show and casual moviegoers since Yours, Mine & Ours in 2005.
  • This film was originally envisioned as the first installment of a trilogy of films. While this movie is an adaptation of the first season, the other two movies were supposed to be the adaptations of the second season (Book Two: Earth) and the third season (Book Three: Fire), respectively. However, due to this movie's overwhelmingly negative critical reception and box office performance, the sequels were cancelled, though a live-action Netflix tv series remake is in development.
  • Nickelodeon did not give the film any nominations at the 2011 Kids Choice Awards despite the fact that Airbender was a Nickeloden Movies production, likely due to the negative reputation of said film.
  • This is the first film to use the 2009 Nickelodeon Movies logo, despite using a variant logo.
  • A manga prequel titled The Last Airbender Prequel: Zuko's Story is set before the events of the film and reveals the details behind Zuko's banishment.
  • The Earth Kingdom villagers are actually played by Chinese actors, along with the other Water Tribe villagers (besides Katara, Sokka, their grandmother Kanna, Princess Yue, Master Pakku and several waterbending soldiers) being played by actors of Inuit descent.
  • This film was tied with The Twilight Saga: Eclipse for the most Razzie nominations at the 2011 Razzie Awards, the award show honoring the worst motion pictures of the year. Each film had nine nominations. Airbender was nominated for every category besides Worst Actor and Worst Actress. The movie ended up "winning" five of the Razzies it was nominated for, including "Worst Picture of 2010". One of those awards was won by actor Jackson Rathbone, who appeared in both films and was thus awarded the Worst Supporting Actor trophy for that year.
  • This was the first film released by Nickelodeon to ever be nominated at the Razzie Awards.
  • Jackson Rathbone originally auditioned for the part of Prince Zuko.
  • Jesse McCartney was originally cast to play Zuko, but was replaced by Dev Patel due to scheduling conflicts.
  • This was the first film directed by M. Night Shyamalan that was not based on an original script.
  • In September 2018, Netflix announced a live-action series based on Avatar: The Last Airbender, with the original creators (Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko) and composer Jeremy Zuckerman returning. Both Michael and Bryan said that they intended to adapt the series "with a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast" and it would be released sometime in 2021. This, in effect, killed any remaining possibility of a sequel to this film.
  • Shyamalan has stated that this film was the first film he saw as a genuine failure and still hasn't gotten over how he disappointed fans of the source material.
  • There were plans for two sequels adapting the original series' remaining two seasons. Fortunately, they were canceled following the film's horrific critical bashing and the number of Golden Raspberry Awards it won.
  • Noah Ringer, the actor who played Aang in this movie, has not appeared in another film or another project in general after 2011. His second (and last) film appearance was in the 2011 sci-fi/western film Cowboys & Aliens. He was announced in May 2013 to be starring in a film titled The Peppercorn Chronicles, which was set to be loosely based on a 24-minute fantasy short titled Mrs. Peppercorn's Magical Reading Room. As of now, there has been no further information regarding the film, and it is presumed that it is either stuck in development hell or outright cancelled. He also was likely planned to reprise his role as Aang in the now-canceled sequels. It's safe to say that both this film and Cowboys & Aliens have basically wrecked Ringer's career as an actor, as both films he starred in were box office disappointments and his first film was universally panned.
  • In an "ask me anything" interview posted on the subreddit r/IAmA in February 2013, Dante Basco (the voice of Prince Zuko in the original series) revealed that Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko had warned him and his fellow cast members to never watch the film under any circumstances.[2]
  • Dev Patel, who played Prince Zuko in the film, later expressed regret and dislike for his role and his experience with the film. In a 2016 actor's roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter while promoting his film Lion during Oscar contenders' season sitting alongside Mahershala Ali, Andrew Garfield, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Casey Affleck and Jeff Bridges, Patel said "I don't know what I would like to play, but I know what I'm afraid of playing: those big studio movies. After Slumdog, I did a film that was not well-received at all. The budget of Slumdog was like the budget of the craft services of this movie." He added "I completely felt overwhelmed by the experience. I felt like I wasn't being heard. That was really scary for me, and that's really when I learned the power of 'no', the idea of saying 'no'. Listen to that instinct you get when you read those words for the first time." He described his performance as Fire Prince Zuko as being as though he "saw a stranger on the screen" that he couldn't relate to.
  • A Robot Chicken sketch parodying Roger Ebert's reaction to the film aired in Season 9's "He's Not Even Aiming at the Toilet".
    • The figure design based on the film version of Aang next appeared in another sketch where it parodies the cabbage merchant having the power of "cabbagebending" as the "Cabbatar".

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