Probably negative reviews

The Last Airbender: worst epic film of all time?

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Photo by Hailey Thorsen

For young adults today, there was no better time to be alive than the early 2000s. Taylor Swift was still making country music and TV networks like Nickelodeon were giving us smash hits we would forever be nostalgic over.

Personally, my favorite TV show at the time was “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”

With a fantasy landscape inspired by Japan, this world takes place in a land where individuals are born with powers which allow them to control one of the four elements of nature: fire, earth, water and air. These individuals are known as benders.

Out of all the benders in the world there is an Avatar, the only person who can control all the elements and bring balance to the world.

Set in the middle of a war — where the Firenation intends to take over the world and eliminate all other benders — we follow the Avatar, Aang, and his group of friends while they travel across the world.

For a kid’s television series, it brought up important issues like child abuse, physical handicaps and post-traumatic stress disorder. This series had beloved characters and the best character development I have ever seen to this day. The show ended in 2008 with a finale that left me paralyzed for days.

As a devout fan, I was desperate for more. You can imagine my excitement when I heard that award winning director, M. Night Shyamalan, was going to make a live action movie called “The Last Airbender.”

I can remember the joy my 9-year-old self felt when I entered the theater. After two years I was finally being given more of my favorite television series — a dream come true.

However, from the originally ethnically diverse cast of characters in the animated series to the whitewashing of the protagonists and leaving the antagonists played by actors of Indian descent in the movie, Shyamalan found a way to offend fans both young and old. 

The $150 million movie also had its fair share of production issues —  the visual effects for the character’s bending for instance.

The fight scenes were underwhelming at best, with CGI waterbending and earthbending that consisted of people splashing water on each other, and earth animations which were about as intimidating as someone throwing a pebble.

Then there is the protagonist Aang. 

In the series, he was a master airbender who could destroy an entire Firenation ship by himself. 

In the movie, we get to see a 14-year-old actor demonstrate his white belt karate routine, which is quite uncomfortable to watch.

I have been forced to live everyday knowing this film exists and that every copy of it has not been burned, which is a crime in and of itself.

For those who have not seen the series, I can’t express how much I recommend it. It can be found on Netflix for anyone who wants to see some lighthearted, yet masterful storytelling. 

As for the live action remake, brace yourself. 

Hinrichs can be reached at [email protected]