With that being said, let’s get this out first: I liked it. I went into it not having grand expectations, and it did entertain me. Although a lot of the guys around me didn’t seem to care for it much; someone actually walked out of the theater booing it. Here’s a few things I really want to point out.
The race issue: Honestly, I was pretty upset when I first heard that White actors had been cast in the movie, especially after the travesty that was Dragonball Evolution (don’t even get me started on that one!). But honestly, after that first acknowledgement that the actors weren’t Asian, it really wasn’t an issue for me in the movie. I think the actors (Noah Ringer, Jackson Rathbone and Nicola Peltz) did a decent job. I can’t think of any particular Asian actors who would have done it any better. Was it Oscar worthy? No. But did you really expect it to be?
Storyline: The storyline did seem a bit lacking to me, but that was until I realized that the movie is made with the intention that it will be a three-part series. People in the theater had a reaction similar to the way my husband said they reacted when he went to go see the first LOTR movie. The “that’s it?” question came up with people grumbling that the movie only focused on Aang’s quest to master water bending. That’s why the movie began with the words “Part One: Water”.
Pronunciation: The moment Sokka’s name was first spoken, the people all around me began complaining: “that’s not how you’re supposed to say it!”. The same of Aang’s name. I have to disagree with them on this point. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” (the show), is anime, meaning it is Asian in origin. The pronunciations used in the movie are the correct way to pronounce the names. Not the westernized version. I’m glad he got at least that part of their identity correct.
Special Effects and Choreography: I will say that these areas are the ones that greatly disappointed me. After seeing the promos, I really expected to see some mind-blowing special effects, and for me, they were just okay. I think I saw some similar effects in Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief, and I wasn’t too impressed with those, either. The fight choreography also left something to be desired. I’m a huge fan of martial arts films, so a fight scene really has to pop off the screen to impress me. I was not impressed by the fight scenes in this movie, and the camera angles during the scenes made it kind of hard to enjoy them; almost like they were trying to hide the fact that the scenes weren’t that great.
Altogether, it was a film that interested me; at least enough to make me want to pay more attention to the anime series on which it’s based. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, either. And most importantly, my son enjoyed it and thought it was cool, so there you go.