reviews: flawless victory

The reviews for The Last Airbender have, so far, been delicious in their hatred for the movie. It seems that our culture always needs a whipping boy, so to speak, and this movie is the current one bent over with its pants down. It started off with Roger Ebert’s 1/2-star review and has since trickled down from there. I wasn’t planning on seeing the movie anyway due to it’s casting “decisions”, but while I didn’t expect the movie to be great, I at least thought it would be good. I haven’t been that wrong in a long time. I was worried with M. Night Shamalamadingdong at the helm, but even poor movies lately have been made amazing due to special effects and cinematography.

Yeah… apparently not. It had gotten so bad, that I was inventing a drinking game for the reviews:

  • If it mentions Robot Chicken/”What a twist!“: take a sip.
  • If it hopes the title of the film is prophetic: call Roger Ebert and then take a sip.
  • If it talks about how dreadful the “upconvert” from 2D to 3D is: do two shots so you’ll see double.
  • If it discusses how the obviously Asian setting only seems have Asian extras in the cast: take a sip.
  • If it notes Shyamalan’s own South Asian/Indian heritage in relation to the film’s casting decisions: do a shot, no brown liquors though.
  • If it fails to mention Racebending: finish the glass.

It really kinda writes itself, even if my friends say I can turn anything into a drinking game.* But then I read this review from io9, “M. Night Shyamalan Finally Made A Comedy” by Charlie Jane Anders. It was akin to the comedian dropping the mic and walking off-stage at the end of a set.

Shyamalan’s true achievement in this film is that he takes a thrilling cult TV series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and he systematically leaches all the personality and soul out of it–in order to create something generic enough to serve as a universal spoof of every epic, ever.

But wait, there’s more…

I think everybody who has criticized Shyamalan for casting white actors as Asian characters in this film should admit they were wrong. Clearly, Shyamalan tried to cast Asians, but he just couldn’t find any whose performances were lifeless enough.

I was happily boycotting the film and waiting on it to hit the internet or Netflix, but as my friend remarked, “You know, it’s not an effective personal statement if I boycott a bad movie. Dammit!”

Still, the Independence Day weekend isn’t over and there are even more reviews yet to come for this film. I will raise my glass high and then slowly empty it as I read each and every one. :mrgreen:

* I can, it’s a gift.

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5 Responses

  1. Crunchbird says:

    Personally, I recommend Nick Mamatas’ takedown over at Sci Fi Wire

    It’s not as brilliant as the io9 take, but still gets in some good shots. His Eclipse review from a day or two ago is equally savage, but it’s the clueless and huffily offended commenters who are the highlights in both cases.

    Just got wind of your health issues … my sympathies, but it’s also good to hear that things are going as well as they are. Here’s hoping all the news continues to be good news.

    • urb says:

      I think, at this point, it will be unique to find a reviewer that actually liked the movie. After the weekend is over, surely the box office and crowds will be an apt rebuttal, but many people I’ve talked to who’ve seen the movie called it a stinker.

  2. Theadeaus Shaffer says:

    I think this sums it up nicely:


    Yeah i wanted to go see it but now i am ever so glad that i was unable to make it anywhere near a theater.

    Also the irony win that they had something like this in the show itself is great

  3. Nicole says:

    I saw “The Last Airbender” and it was horrific. One of the worst things I’ve ever seen. No one should ever see it ever. I feel like a piece of my soul has been taken by that hot mess of a movie.

    I wrote a review of it with video reenactment of what the acting and dialogue was like.

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