The Last Airbender was my most anticipated movie this year. It also turned out to be the most disappointing movie I've seen this year so far.
There's so much wrong and so little right, I really don't even know where to begin. How about how there's absolutely no character in the movie at all. Zuko is the only character who gets any development at all, leaving everybody else to remain the lifeless cardboard cut-outs that they are. Aang isn't childish and goofy, Katara isn't motherly, Sokka isn't funny. Hell, Momo never even gets named, he just randomly flies across the screen a few times. Nope, none of these characters ever receives any development, and in the end we learn absolutely nothing about any of them.
Also, this movie sure does a whole lot of telling, but actually shows us very little. Considering the medium this is, that's just unacceptable. I did have some doubts when I learned that the movie wasn't even two hours long, I must admit. This movie should have never been under three hours, there was no way they could have ever fit in all that was necessary to make a decent movie out of this story in such a short amount of time. What we get is a rushed, jumbled mess, and the only thing that moves the story forward is some of the most forced, awkward conversations between characters.
There is one thing that managed to stand out in this movie, however. There's a number of really long action scenes shot in a single shot which are pretty impressive. In an age where action movies are filled with shaky cameras and quick cuts, it really was nice to actually be able to see all of the action happening in these scenes.
Also, about the whole racism controversy, after watching this movie I can whole heartedly say that it holds absolutely no ground whatsoever. There are maybe three white people in this movie. The cast is filled with so many characters of so many different races, how anyone can dare call this movie racist is an absurdity of epic proportions.
Anyways, in the end, to be fair, the first arc in this series probably is the hardest to adapt into a movie form, though he still fails miserably at it. My expectations for the sequels are at an all time low, though there is some hope that they could be better than this mess. (Not that that would be much of an accomplishment...)