M Night Shyamalan’s po-faced fantasy epic disappoints
1/5 (PG12) US. Noah Ringer, Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone If M Night Shyamalan’s po-faced fantasy epic were half as much fun as its ridiculous title suggests, it might have been possible to salvage a smidgen of entertainment from it. Instead, viewers are bored and stupefied by vacuous spectacle and clunking dialogue.
Having been awol for 100 years – during which time the world was thrown out of balance (yawn) and the Fire Nation conquered the peaceful Southern Water Tribe with their fearsome machines – the shaven-headed Aang (Ringer) is released from a sphere of ice by two Water Tribe children. It looks like Aang may be the mythical Avatar, the one who can control all four elements: Earth, Fire, Water and Air. Various interested parties, including the Fire Nation’s vengeful, exiled Prince Zuko (Patel), are determined to harness or suppress his powers. A series of confusing adventures, battles and vaguely spiritual confrontations follows, while giant furry creatures float in the air, talking dragon spirits offer sage advice, and the moon turns red with shame.
Devotees of the animated TV series swear this adaptation is a travesty, but most of them were aged between six and 12 when they first saw it. Either way, steer clear.