Tags: Aasif Mandvi, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Bonus View, Cliff Curtis, Damon Gupton, Dev Patel, Digital Copy, Jackson Rathbone, M. Night Shyamalan, Nickelodeon, Nicola Peltz, Noah Ringer, Paramount, Picture-In-Picture, Seychelle Gabriel, Shaun Toub, Summer Bishil
has an average rating of 4.5 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
are ALL in Hi-Def
– 103 minutes
This uses 25.8GB for the movie out of 42.2GB total.
Overall Verdict – Horrid Film Yet Great Disc
— Review written by: Danielle Byington —
The Movie Itself was Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, who also wrote the screenplay. The film is an adaptation of the first season of the television series “Avatar: The Last Airbender“.
Within this fantasy world, we are first introduced to Katara (Nicola Peltz), and her older brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), who are part of the Southern Water Nation. As the teenage siblings roam their arctic home while on the hunt for food, they stumble across a curious glow beaming from deep beneath the ice under their feet. As this glow suddenly rises upward to the surface, the two back away quickly, staring in bewilderment at what has just happened. While the glow continues, Katara procedures to puncture the chunk of ice that has risen out of nothing, shattering the encasement which holds within a young boy and unusual animal. The boy, Aang (Noah Ringer), is adorned in clothing and tattoos that they have never seen within their surrounding Water Nation people, but despite his differences, the siblings takes him back to their camp to help him remember how he got there.
Having not been back at camp very long at all, an unwelcome arrival from the patrolling Fire Nation invades. What Katara and Sokka did not realize, is that the glowing beam of light they saw protruding from the ice previously actually caught the attention of the patrolling Fire Nation; especially that of Prince Zuko (Dev Patel). Once within the Water Nation camp, Prince Zuko discovers Aang, whom he takes as his prisoner under the suspicion of the boy’s appearance. Prince Zuko suspects Aang may be the Avatar; the being who has mastery of bending all four elements, and the ability to communicate the spirit world, thus helping to keep order and balance. The Fire Nation seeks to possess all of the power, and to prevent an even balance between the nations, they desperately seek to hold and control the Avatar so that he is not capable of promoting harmony.
After some simple tests, it is revealed that the young boy is indeed the Avatar, however, Aang manages to escape, and returns to Katara and Sokka who are eager to help him. With time, Aang remembers more about who he his and how he ended up under the ice; it turns out that he had been frozen in time for about one hundred years. While he was buried in the arctic, all of his tribe’s people were murdered, as the Fire Nation knew that the Avatar would be born into the Air Nation; this of course makes him the last Air Bender. However, one of the the most significant things Aang remembers is that due becoming trapper under the ice at his age, he never received his training in bending the other elements. The quest to help Aang accomplish bending the element after air, water, to help prevail over the Fire Nation, becomes the sole quest of the film.
You are most likely aware of the scorn this film has received, and chances are you share that same bridge of disappointment in the film as many others. To avoid totally jumping the gun and declaring “The Last Airbender” a horrific piece of cinema, I will be somewhat fair and offer a smidgen of defensive opinion. Basically, you had three genres of audience-expectation with the release of this movie, leaving it three opportunities to make at least one group happy.
The largest portion of movie-goers who sadly paid money for a ticket to see this movie were the fans of the story’s original television series. It is safe to say that this group was going to be the most challenging to please, as any movie adaptation of another form of media is always carrying with it that particular breed of “Comic Book Guy” people. This genre had their own expectations of getting to see the characters they know by heart from the series, and experiencing an action-packed cinematic adaptation of the unique story. No one ever really expects all of the small details from their beloved book/television series/etc. to make the cut of a movie adaptation, mostly due to time constraints. However, while this film was not even two hours long, I feel that even a three hour runtime could not have saved it. Many characters are missing from the plot, and many events from the first season never occur. I’ve personally only seen about three-fourths of the series’ first season (the season that this film is based upon), and the lack of these critical elements is hard to not notice. Even if you try to look at the film in an unbiased approach, having a familiarity with the series makes it hard to swallow.
The next genre of movie-goers would be those who have not the slightest knowledge of the series, but went to see it with friends, family, or just because the trailer looked cool. One may think, “Okay, this is the group that will like it as a stand-alone action film, as they have no influence from the series“. I would have to disagree with that idea. While I feel that the series itself is great, I am not a hardcore fan, and so I looked at the film equally from both sides. Even if you are only counting on the story’s information based on what the film gives you, there are instances that seem like giant gaps. A number of times, it feels as though the succeeding scene comes along without making closure for the previous one, and often, actions seem to suddenly occur without adequate explanation or motive; the flow of story sequence is just very choppy. Because of the vast plot-holes in the movie, if you had to walk down a street that had been constructed in the same fashion as this film’s story, be prepared to break-out the crutches.
The remaining party of movie-goers that possibly wanted to see this film would be fans of Director M. Night Shyamalan. For someone entering the theater in those shoes, you can see how they were likely let down like others, but for different reasons. This film is nothing like Shyamalan‘s previous works; to broadly look at an outline of how his films typically play-out, this film is like an adopted child from overseas. Primarily, his artistic staples were quarantined from this film; no dramatic mystery storyline, and no mind-bending twist at the end. Actually, if this movie did not have the touch of harmony-promoting message to it, you may think Michael Bay laid his hands on this one; except there is no way Megan Fox could ever wear as much clothing as Water Benders do.
Ultimately, the movie did not work out for Shyamalan likely for these three reasons: much of the critical content and characters were eliminated, which infuriated fans of the series; because of the compacted runtime, the events within the story often bare an absence of motive, causing those not even familiar with the series to have difficulty taking in the film; the story itself was already an entity that stood on its own, and Shyamalan could not fit in one of his legendary “twist” endings. You are clinically blind if you do not see that the only reason this production even materialized was for mere financial gain; producers and others involved can always bet on earning a disgustingly fat loaf of bread on the table when they bank off of media in other forms that has a massive fan base. Having said that, this movie lands on a “1.5 Star Rating“, only retaining a small amount of worth for decently entertaining action.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. While you may or not be impressed by the film itself taking action on-screen, one can not deny that it does bare an incredible picture quality. With the variety of settings that relay the plot’s main attributes, air nation, water nation, earth nation, and fire nation, you are provided a wide array of color palettes and beautiful visuals. A very warm palette takes over scenes depicting settings relevant to the fire nation, making the sometimes ethnic skin tones of the actors much darker, and it is equally matched by an inky black level that helps provide a nice vibrancy from the orange and red hues within the set design and wardrobe. A very cool and nearly stark palette defines scenes that depict the settings of the water nation, with the arctic setting conveying bright blue-whites, and leaving fleshtones in an ashy, yet accurate hue. While visiting the air and earth nations, your screen will become loaded with vivid eye-candy of the spectacular mountain/forest shots, full of loud greens and yellows from the foliage. While these particular scenes translate a more neutral palette, they do actually lean more towards the warm side, with golden-hued fleshtones.
The video quality here also possesses a nice level of sharpness that is not too overdone, and provides a heightened amount of detail. There are many close-ups of the cast, all of which lend a very impressive amount of definition, with fine details of hairs, skin textures, and so forth, openly detectable to the eye. Also, the textures of wardrobe are easily noticeable, which is always a nice enhancement to the viewing experience of a fantasy or period oriented film. Visual effects look great for the most part, with only a couple of green-screen backgrounds behind actors seeming just a tad too video-esque. The film was shot on 35MM using multiple Arricam Cameras, and the film grain is retained in a mild fashion. Overall, the video quality for this release is well worth a “4.5 Star Rating” for quite the impressive presentation.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. The lossless audio track provided for this release is amazing, and serves the story’s fantasy content well. There is excellent surround presence during the runtime, with numerous occasions of panning, most often accompanying the “Bender” techniques of the characters. Depending of the skill of the character, whether it is air, water, earth, or fire, there is a nice dynamic range offered by all. In the event of Water Benders turning their controlled water into ice, a moderate shrill accompanies the shattering. Most often, you will experience moderate bass presence within these scenarios of the Benders flexing their skills; however, these are certainly not the only instances that bring the subwoofer to life. There is an abundance of action scenes, all of which are rich and robust with undistorted rumble from the bass, as well as fulfilling audible action from the front and rear channels. Dialogue is conveyed from primarily the center front channel, and suffers from no flaws even during the more bold sequences of audio. Overall, the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track on this release proves itself to be well deserving of a “5 Star Rating“.
Bonus Materials are presented in High Definition, using Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (unless noted otherwise).
- “Discovering The Last Airbender“
- “Inspirations” (5:49)
- “Spirituality” (4:46)
- “Heroes” (5:54)
- “Greenland” (8:06)
- “World” (5:33)
- “Action” (7:01)
- “Effects” (9:53)
- “Music” (5:34)
- “Finale” (5:41)
- “Avatar Annotations” uses Picture-in-Picture to provide you with discussion of the film from cast and crew during particular scenes. This does appear to be using Bonus View which requires the user to be on a “Profile 1.1” capable Blu-ray Disc Player.
- DVD Copy of the feature film, & Digital Copy
Overall, the bonus materials offer about 2 hours of Hi-Def content, which, even if you did not care for the film, are worth the watch if you enjoy technical “behind the scenes” footage. The Picture-in-Picture track is also a nice plus, along with the Digital Copy, as well as the DVD.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Apologies for the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.