Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender

Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender

Static Mass Rating: 4/5

Release date: December 13th 2010
Certificate (UK): PG
Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Jackson Rathbone, Dev Patel, Nicola Peltz, Cliff Curtis, Noah Ringer

Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and based on the cult animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, this big screen adaptation had fans of the original split in two camps; those who strongly supported it and those who strongly opposed it. Although this can be said about almost anything which takes an original piece of work and adapts it for another medium.

The story follows Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her brother Sokka (Jackson Rathbone) as they help the young Avatar, Aang (Noah Ringer), the last of his kind, learn to master the elements of earth, air, fire and water in order to defeat the warring Fire Nation.

Aang, the chosen one by destiny has shied away from his responsibilities for the past 100 years until Katara awakens him. When Aang learns his teachers have been killed by the Fire Nation and that people of other nations have been forced to stop practising their abilities, he is compelled to lead a rebellion.

As an adaptation, there are notable changes, there would have to be in a move from animation to live action. The filmmakers also had the task of turning some 30 hours of stories into a 103 minute feature, so there were some tough challenges. The Last Airbender also marks Shyamalan’s entry into a genre he had yet to explore in his work, but something he was keen to do after his young daughters introduced him to the series. He not only fell in love with the show but saw there was cinematic potential in it.

The Last Airbender might not have been what fans of the show were expecting, but I found it to be a fun movie for kids. Scenes with Katara and Sokka show a playful rivalry that exists with siblings. What I loved the most were the water sequences which show the filmmakers took much care in creating something heartfelt and powerful, but the film is weighed down by a clumsy script and wooden acting from first-timer Noah Ringer who plays Aang.

The Last Airbender

Shyamalan chose him for the role after he sent in a DVD showcasing his martial arts skills. Ringer had been practising Taekwando from an early age and held the title of American Taekwando Association Texas State Champion. As a fan of the animated series, when he heard that a movie was being made, and urged by his instructor, Noah put together an audition tape, complete with Aang’s signature blue arrow on his shaved head.


  • Discovering The Last Airbender
  • Siege of the North
  • Origins of the Avatar
  • Katara for a Day
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Avatar Annotations

It is not certain if there will be any further Airbender movies but judging from the critical response and box office takings, it seems unlikely which is a shame because the original material is so rich story-wise. Will the home release turn things around?

Leave Your Reply

Required fields are marked *. Your details will never be shared.