So, originally when it first came out in 2010, I watched it and I didn't get it and I thought the series was just like this because I understood that it was an adaptation to the series, and as I've said in a separate review of the series itself, I didn't get to watch the series to it's fullest. And unfortunately, I went into this movie with only a few episodes at hand, and even with that, I couldn't follow this movie, granted, I was suggested that I watch the series fully and I did, and it dawned on me now, why so many hated this movie that there was actually a cult to hating this movie.
And I hated it too. What Shamalyn failed to do was choose the proper episodes to use in his movie, and yes, I say this because there is a freaking possibility that there may be a second one coming out, but hopefully that's just rumors otherwise, I think we will have a scene barring from the Purge where instead of one night every year it's just one whole day, to find Shamalyn and kill him, if he doesn't change anything.
Watching it a third time to try to understand why he defends it and still coming up short, I actually understand what he said when he says "I was doing it from a 10 year old's perspective" and while not the exact statement this is the problem. Instead of treating it as an adult like the creators did, it was treated the way a kid who clearly watched only a handful of episodes of the first season would do.
Now my suggestion to maybe, possibly, for the lack of term, by some miracle, change this God awful movie, is by choosing the episodes you want to focus on. It's clear to me that Shamalyn got a focus group and asked them which episodes to focus on and while some were right to focus on some were wrong to focus on. Like the scene with the test, it doesn't pan out in the series but it's an interesting addition nonetheless. And I actually thought that there was a little; the operating word being little, chemistry between the uncle and Zuko and that's fitting seeing how the series delves into how the Iroh treats Zuko like the son he lost. And so what are the top episodes I'd choose from season one?
Well, there's so many good ones that it's hard to choose the best, because you're always going to get complaints from the fandom, if you miss their favorite episodes, but here's the thing if you hand select the episodes, by watching the whole season at least, then you can tell that there are certain important episodes to focus on. The first and last episode of the first season are definitely the ones to put in the movie, because the first episode introduces our main character, which I thought they could've done quite easily without having the freaking narration nor the Star Wars rip off title screen that doesn't make this movie dated at all already, and the last episode because it's the turning point and an accomplishment of our hero; Aang who does manage to pick up at least some water bending, and I think, the movie definitely could have been so much better if it focused on the characters and the actions then the actual story, because, what the characters and the action sequences are supposed to do is show you how certain scenes are being taken and it's like a journey you want to go through and enjoy the ride together with them, but with this, it feels like a road trip with that annoying friend who won't shut up about his life stories and an occasional uninteresting story.
Okay that's at least the first act and the third act. So what's the second act?
Well, this is where it gets trickier, and you have to be more careful around it, you can decide to choose the episode where Zuko is the Blue Spirit and saves Aang but you also need the episode where Aang actually manages to give us a heartening story, in parallel to Zuko's story, enhancing the storyline, making the characters seem like they aren't too different after all, in essence, doing what the Dark Knight did when the Joker said,"you complete me", essentially showing us that you care about these characters. Or you could choose to focus on the family essential part with Katara, Sokka and Aang, enhancing the cammaraderie effect and the impact that it will have on Aang, and this is a little harder because that's most of the episodes throughout the season, but perhaps it could be a little montage of the characters going through it and enjoying the time they had together before reaching the Northern Water Tribe.
And it's clear to see that Shamalyn is basically relying on a kid to retell such an epic because it's so clearly why he's defending it, and that's just something so blatant because, what's so interesting about this series was it's characters and how we could identify with them. Because they have such depth to them. And while that's true, that's never the case in this movie, and throughout it all I only saw one or two scenes that peaked my interest which was the Dragon Spirit scene which they spent a good amount of time exploiting that which so obviously was supposed to be Roku but at least that was something jarringly close to what it was going for, what it did get at least something right, even though not 100% right.
And I found Aang's airbending to be fairly alright, but yeah, the action scenes are really dragged out and I think the editors just wanted to fuck Shamalyn over because you can clearly see that the actors are told to give their all, and all it is after special effect, green screening, it's just one pussy stream, or small flame, or a pebble.
But the main problem is; besides the character's who obviously have no soul nor passion for this project, or probably have never watched the show, give a shitty performance, not even trying to be silly, because remember the show was pretty silly sometimes and light hearted. But no, everything here is dark and serious, and yeah I understand that it's a war, and maybe Shamalyn doesn't want it to be too whimsical, but that doesn't mean you can suck out all the character from the characters. And it literally looks like someone's school movie project like, the teacher asked a guy to make a movie based on a source material and he totally forgot about it and went, oh fuck balls, I forgot about this shit, put on a few episodes, and directed this, and drew out some of the scenes.
The sad thing about it is we want to give it a chance because it's our favorite show, we want to see it do good, we want to see it grow and achieve it's ultimate form, but what it became, was a protozoa, going back to square one undoing, and sullying what was so great about this show, and by God, we're lucky to still have the series forever immortalized with us, because otherwise this movie would have destroyed it, and I admit it almost did, but I'm so glad Shamalyn didn't manage to.
So, just keep it short and focus on the important things. Don't focus on the plot and the story line, let the characters, and the actions, and the scenes and the backgrounds and the paid effects do it for you. Focus on giving your characters humanity, make them relatable, support it with the action scenes have it be sharp have it be smart, and the dialogue, it could be there, some quips from Sokka, a little motherliness from Katara, some silliness from Aang, that anger from Zuko, and of course the insurmountable wisdom of Iroh. Let the visuals and your character do the work, let the dialogue simply support and maybe, just maybe reiterate once in awhile what you want to reiterate but make sure it's important enough to reiterate. It's so sad to see this movie because, we knew it could have been more, and heck, if even the creators of Avatar:The Last Airbender didn't enjoy this movie, what makes Shamalyn think the other general consensus would? In the end Shamalayn fell into a deep hole and may be just maybe begging for his career to be buried alive if he does a sequel and it's the same as the first movie because by God the second season, is only harder to emulate. By already losing your two trump cards, Azula and the Firelord;Ozai, it's hard to say, there probably will never be a sequel even though Shamalyn is confident about it. I mean c'mon I think even Paramount and Nickelodeon was embarrassed and therefore, Nick was afraid to even give the creators another show based on the same idea just because of that movie.
And hopefully, no movie studio will fund his madness for the sequel at least, and it will all disappear into oblivion like the other failed adaptations.