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American Women's Club of Hamburg

The Last Airbender (Die Legende von Aang)

Starts August 19

Avatar: The Last Airbender has a lot of information that was originally in the animé television show Avatar, and we will talk about some things relating the movie to the original show first.  We liked the beginning a lot because it was exactly like Book 1 of the TV show, especially when the Avatar (Ang) was on his way to the North Pole and he stopped at the villages to give the people hope. In the TV show Ang and Sokka were funny but in the movie they were more serious. The backgrounds were well-related to the TV show. The fire lord (Prince Zoko) should have a more serious voice and in the TV show you cannot see his face until Book 3. The fire-benders from the TV show didn’t use a source of fire; in the movie they needed fire to start their bending like when Zoko tried to get Ang in the North Pole. The part that was annoying was that Ang’s name was pronounced wrong, from Ang to Ahng.

Of the movie we would like to say that the acting was somewhat good. The music fit in perfectly. The spirit world was very interesting, but they should have added a few more spirits than just the dragon. We think that the 3D parts were not that all good. They should add more dimension into the movie: when earth, fire, water and air bends should look more like they are coming right at you. The flying bison and the flying lemur did not look real; they looked more like science-fiction made.

Whenever there was bending of the four elements, we liked the “moves” as they looked awesome. The costumes were well made, and looked interesting. Prince Zokos scar was hard to see in the movie; they should have made it more visible.

In our opinion this movie should get four stars.  We believe they will make two more sequels movies in the future, as the story goes on the Avatar TV show for Books 2 & 3.



With two teen-ish sons (see above) addicted to TV’s Avatar, this was a long-awaited movie for our household.  I was expecting little, as the Asian cartoon world caters to youthful mindsets and not 45-year-old moms. (DO not confuse this with AVATAR of the James Cameron mega-hit!)  The Avatar concept is simple:  Prodigies from one of four world tribes (Earth, Fire, Water and Air People) are born with the ability to bend (manipulate) their respective elements. One Avatar is reincarnated to master all four elements, and in this era, he should be born to the Air People.  A controlling Fire King wants power, so he wipes out all of the Air communities in hopes of destroying the Avatar (shades of King Herod).  No Avatar = Fire Nation can rule the planet by their aggressive fire might. Eventually, the child Avatar, frozen 100 years in an ice ball, is found by some children of the Water people and soon reveals that he has only mastered Air and needs to learn the other three elements before he can become the true Avatar. When things go well, the spirit world will support the balance of the elements together with the Avatar, but the premise of Book 1 is based on the possibility for the Fire Nation to upset the course of nature.

The kids were right to say that the film is at least interesting, but the acting is just simply awful. The 3 D was wasted to the point that the credits were the most impressive effect, letting multiple chances to astound with fireballs and water jets peter out to boredom. Music and costumes mustered decent grades and the locations were just fine.  The Asian bent of the TV shows were present in the multicultural cast and artistic styling, but mythical creatures and special effects obviously were not in the budget, as well as scriptwriters of an adult caliber.  Go and enjoy sharing some decent action (no blood or guts) geared towards pre-teen Avatar fans, but don’t expect much for yourself except a car-ride home telling you what was lame and what was awesome.

 

1/2

The Last Airbender is an imaginatively designed film, highly recommended for all those who love fantasy, action, and a little humor.
 
The story closely follows the Nickelodeon manga series on which it is based (“Avater – Herr Der Elemente“), but the tone is a bit more serious.  The four kingdoms of Air, Fire, Water and Earth are taken over by the Fire Nation.  The Fire Lord imprisons anyone who has the ability to “bend“ or control the elements.  The only one who can save them is an Avatar, who can control all four elements.  Aang, the last remaining Avatar, wakens from a 100-year sleep in ice, to fulfil his destiny and save the world.
 
A few characters and places that Aang meets along his journey are missing from the series, but other storylines from the series are cleverly put together.  My only criticism is that the film jumps around too much, like from the village directly to the woods with little explanation. If you don’t know the series though, you might not notice.
 
The effects in this film are unbelievable, especially the way the controlling of the elements are done, and Appy, Aangs flying bison. They are really realistic.  I also enjoyed the cast, especially Noah Ringer, who plays Aang.  Particularly impressive were the elegant martial arts movements he uses to control the elements of Air and Water.  Dev Patel (the guy from Slumdog Millionaire) was perfect as Aangs enemy Prince Zuko.  It was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the guy who did Lady in the Water and Sixth Sense.
 
I have to say that the dialogue was a bit dumb at times, but for kids and teens that is easy to ignore.  It bothered my mom but I was satisfied with it, maybe because I am not an adult.  All in all I thought it was a great film, and not just for fans of the series.  I highly recommend it.

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