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The Last Airbender
Presented by Paramount Pictures
Nickelodeon Movies
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Release Date(s) July 1, 2010 (USA)

Nov 16, 2010 (BR/DVD)

MPAA rating 20px-RATED_PG.svg.png
Duration 103 minutes
Budget $150 million (production)

$130 million (marketing)[1]
$280 million (total)[nb 1]

Gross Revenue $131,772,187 (domestic)

$187,350,834 (foreign) $319,123,021 (total)[3]

The Last Airbender is a film adaptation of the first season of the Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender written, produced and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Other producers include Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer with executive producers Kathleen Kennedy, Scott Aversano, Michael Dante DiMartino, and Bryan Konietzko, and co-producer Jose L. Rodriguez. It is the first part of a planned film trilogy adapting the three seasons of the original animated series. It has been marketed and released in a joint effort by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.[4] The filming began in mid-March 2009, and was released on July 1, 2010 in both 2D and 3D screens. Several novelizations of the movie were released on May 22, 2010. It is currently commercially solid with a $319,123,021 intake worldwide. The movie was announced [5] and released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 16th, 2010.[6] Its possible sequel is The Last Airbender 2.

Main Billing

Presented by
Paramount Pictures
Nickelodeon Movies
Directed by
M. Night Shyamalan
Screenplay by
M. Night Shyamalan
Based on
Avatar: The Last Airbender
  Book 1: Water
Created by
Michael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Produced by
M. Night Shyamalan
Sam Mercer
Frank Marshall
Executive produced by
Kathleen Kennedy
Scott Aversano
Michael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Co-produced by
Jose L. Rodriguez
Director of Photography
Andrew Lesnie, ACS, ASC
Edited by
Conrad Buff, A.C.E.
Costume Designer
Judianna Makovsky
Music by
James Newton Howard
Casting by
Douglas Aibel
Starring
Noah Ringer
Dev Patel
Nicola Peltz
Jackson Rathbone
Shaun Toub
Aasif Mandvi
Cliff Curtis
Seychelle Gabriel
Francis Guinan
Randall Duk Kim
Production of
Blinding Edge Pictures
The Kennedy/Marshall Company
 
 
 

Synopsis

Main article: Synopsis of Book One: Water

The film told the story of Aang, a 13-year-old[nb 2] airbender who ran away from his destiny as the Avatar. After a hundred years in suspended animation, Aang traveled to the Northern Water Tribe on the other side of the world with his newfound friends, Katara and Sokka, to find a master to teach him waterbending. In his absence, the Fire Nation, now ruled by Fire Lord Ozai, had been waging a seemingly endless war against the Earth Kingdom and the Water Tribe, having already destroyed the Air Nomads. As the Avatar, he was hunted by Zuko, a banished prince of the Fire Nation seeking to redeem his honor, and the Fire Nation itself, led by Commander Zhao.

Cast

  • Noah Ringer as Aang: The thirteen-year-old[nb 2] Avatar and the last surviving airbender. Ringer is a Texas taekwondo champion, who won the part in an open audition. He was cast after submitting a homemade DVD of himself practicing taekwondo and was 12 years old during the shooting of this film. This was his debut.
  • Nicola Peltz as Katara: A 15-year-old[nb 2] waterbender, the last one from her Southern Water Tribe. Peltz was highly praised at her audition by Shyamalan and was fourteen years old during the shooting of this film. Shyamalan said that he did not want to do the movie without her.
  • Jackson Rathbone as Sokka: A seventeen-year-old[nb 2] warrior from the Southern Water Tribe, and brother to Katara. Rathbone is primarily known for his portrayal of the vampire Jasper Hale in the Twilight films.
  • Dev Patel as Zuko: An eighteen-year-old[nb 2] firebending prince of the Fire Nation, banished by his father. Patel replaced Jesse McCartney for the role of Prince Zuko as the latter was unable to take part due to conflicting scheduling.[7] Shyamalan was impressed by Patel's acting performance in Slumdog Millionaire and so cast him in the role. Young Zuko was played by Rohan Shah.
  • Aasif Mandvi as Zhao: A high-ranking general of the Fire Nation who led the Siege of the North. Mandvi is an Indian-born, British-raised actor and comedian. He is regular correspondent on The Daily Show.
  • Shaun Toub as Iroh: A former general of the Fire Nation, brother to Ozai, and uncle to Zuko and Azula. Toub is an Iranian-born television and film actor of Persian Jewish background with previous roles in films such as Bad Boys, Iron Man and Crash.
  • Cliff Curtis as Ozai: The Fire Lord, the monarch of the Fire Nation. Curtis is a New Zealander with Maori heritage. He previously had starring roles in New Zealand films such as Whale Rider.
  • Seychelle Gabriel as Yue: The Princess who led the Northern Water Tribe.
  • Katharine Houghton as Katara's Grandma: The paternal grandmother to Sokka and Katara.
  • Francis Guinan as Master Pakku: A master and the leader of waterbenders for the Northern Water Tribe.
  • Damon Gupton as Gyatso: A senior airbending monk from the Southern Air Temple, and a guardian and father figure to Aang.
  • Summer Bishil as Azula: A firebending prodigy, daughter to Ozai, and sister to Zuko. Bishil is an American-born 22 year old actress Her mother is White American, and her father is a Saudi citizen of Indian ancestry. She rose to fame by starring in the movie Towelhead.
  • John Noble as the Dragon Spirit: A spiritual guide for Aang in the Spirit World.
  • Dee Bradley Baker as Momo[8]: A winged lemur thought to be extinct, and an animal companion to Aang.
  • Dee Bradley Baker as Appa[8]: A six-legged flying bison, possibly the last surviving one, and an animal companion to Aang.
  • Keong Sim as earthbending father: An unnamed minor character who served a similar role to Tyro from the episode Imprisoned.
  • Isaac Jin Solstein as earthbending boy: An unnamed minor character who served a similar role to Haru from the episode "Imprisoned".
  • Randall Duk Kim as the Old man in temple: An earth villager who often visited the Northern Air Temple.

Novelization

Main article: The Last Airbender Movie Novelization
The Last Airbender Movie Novelization

Cover for The Last Airbender Movie Novelization

The novelization was released on May 25, 2010[9], before the film was released in July 1, 2010[10]. Curiously, there were differences in the novelized story from the movie itself, including scenes not included in the movie (e.g. the Kyoshi Warriors), newly added scenes in the movie (e.g. the Azula epilogue), and alternate outcome of the story (e.g. some Fire Nation ships were crushed by the wave). Very likely, the novelization was for the movie before it was announced to be revised for 3D purposes[11] after the printing and distribution of the novelization was underway. Indeed, test screening reviews from AICN[12][13] contained elements covered in the novelization but not in the final cut such as Zhao punching the fish to death instead of stabbing it with a dagger. The theatrical version of the movie is estimated to be 20-30 minutes shorter than the novelized version, which may be what Shyamalan alluded to when he said "I'm dying to make a two-hour movie, I just haven't earned it yet"[14], and has been suggested to accommodate the limited availability of 3D screens.[15]

Adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender

M10:17

M. Night Shyamalan Interview by Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino

After M. Night Shyamalan was attached to the film trilogy, he was "interviewed" by Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino

Main article: Adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender

In the video "interview" of M. Night Shyamalan conducted by Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino, the film trilogy was planned to be 6+ hours long, which gave 2+ hours for the first movie (though the final running time is 103 minutes). Due to the short allotted running time, the film does not cover the entire first season of the original animated series, even though the film was titled "Book One: Water". With such rich and complex story elements, rather than a "comprehensive adaptation" like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, the essential elements were selected and rewoven into its own story and direction, similar to a "selective adaptation" approach with a long series like Spider-man and X-Men.

Development

Main article: Development of The Last Airbender

On January 8, 2007, Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies announced that they had signed M. Night Shyamalan to write, direct and produce a trilogy of live-action films based on the series; the first of these films was to be a faithful adaptation of the main characters' adventures in Book One. The film was in a dispute with James Cameron's film Avatar regarding title ownership, which resulted in the film being titled The Last Airbender.

Reception

Main article: Reception to The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender has received a nearly universal negative response from critics, on the tomatometer receiving 7% from Top Critics and 6% from All Critics[16]. As for the awards, the film was nominated for eight Golden Raspberry Awards, which is a parody of the Oscars by doling out accolades to the worst films of the year, and won five[17]: Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor (for Jackson Rathbone), and Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3-D. The Worst Sequel, Remake, or Adaptation and Worst Screen Couple/Ensemble were lost to Sex and the City 2, while Worst Supporting Actress went to Jessica Alba. It was nominated with several other awards including Choice Summer Movie for the 2010 Teen Choice Awards[18], International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA)[19], the 32nd Young Artist Award[20], the 2011 MTV Movie Awards,[21], and the 3rd Annual Coming of Age Movie Awards[22] of which, Noah Ringer won for the Best Actor[23]. Many fans of the original series have demanded for a remake or reboot of the film, which is discussed in Readapting Avatar: The Last Airbender. Fans of the film itself, however, have banded together in support of the movie at various sites, many of them asked to release an extended cut of the movie[24][25].

DVD/Blu-ray

Main article: The Last Airbender DVD/Blu-ray

The DVD and Blu-ray for the movie was released by Paramount Home Entertainment on November 16, 2010.[26] It boasts over two hours of in-depth, behind-the-scenes special features including a nine-part documentary on the making of the film, a featurette entitled "Origins of the Avatar", which documents the creative transformation of the hit animated series to the big screen, picture-in-picture insights from the cast and crew that deconstruct some of the amazing action and visual effects sequences, deleted scenes, outtakes and more. A Blu-ray 3D version was also released on the same day, but as a Best Buy exclusive release.[27] The Last Airbender grossed $12,757,094 and sold a total of 750,859 units in its first week on DVD.[28]

Screenplay

Main article: Screenplay for The Last Airbender

Notes

  1. Frank Marshall had dismissed this $280 million combined figure as a rumor[2].
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 According to the movie novelization, Aang was biologically 13 years old, Katara was 15, Sokka was 17, and Zuko was 18. In contrast with the original series, Aang was biologically 12 years old, Katara was 14, Sokka was 15, and Zuko was 16.

References

  1. Claudia Eller. The Last airbender carries Shyamalan into new territory. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on June 25, 2010.
  2. LeDoctor. LeDoctor on Twitter. Twitter.com. Retrieved on September 1, 2010.
  3. The Last Airbender (2010). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on June 25, 2010.
  4. Pamela McClintock P; Tatiana Siegel, Nickelodeon, Par team for Airbender; duo to release Shyamalan's live-action film. Variety. 15 April 2008
  5. Paramount Home Entertainment. "Live-Action Epic Based on Nickelodeon's Popular Series Delivers Inspiring Adventure the Whole Family Can Enjoy: The Last Airbender". PR Newswire. September 14, 2010
  6. The Last Airbender (2010). Amazon.com
  7. Micheal Fleming. Shyamalan cast floats on 'air'; 'Slumdog' star Dev Patel joins Paramount film.. Variety. Retrieved on February 1, 2009.
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Last Airbender - Cast and Crew. The Kennedy/Marshall Company. Retrieved on August 1, 2011.
  9. The Last Airbender movie novelization.. amazon.com.
  10. The Last Airbender id.. Box Office Mojo.
  11. Wsj blogs. blogs.wsj.com. Retrieved on April 22, 2010.
  12. Ain't it cool.com. aintitcool.com. Retrieved on February 4, 2010.
  13. Ain't it cool.com. aintitcool.com. Retrieved on March 2, 2010.
  14. M Night Shyamalan on The Last Airbender.. nymag.com.
  15. The Last Airbender fans. lastairbenderfans.com.
  16. The Last Airbender (2010). Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on June 25, 2010.
  17. The Razzie Awards: "The Last Airbender" is the best winner, er, loser. LA Times. Retrieved on February 26, 2011.
  18. Gil Kaufman. 'Twilight Saga: Eclipse' Leads New Teen Choice 2010 Nominees. MTV News. Retrieved on July 12, 2010.
  19. IFMCA announces its 2010 nominees for scoring excellence. IFMCA Press Release. Retrieved on February 11, 2011.
  20. 32nd Annual Young Artist Awards - Nominations/ Special Awards. Retrieved on March 1, 2011.
  21. 2011 MTV Movie Awards. MTV. Retrieved on April 29, 2011.
  22. 3rd Annual Coming of Age Movie Awards. TheSkyKid.Com (2011-04-08). Retrieved on May 5, 2011.
  23. 3rd Annual Coming of Age Movie Awards Recipients Named. TheSkyKid.Com (2011-05-03). Retrieved on May 5, 2011.
  24. Leanne Larson. Release an extended cut of The Last Airbender. Petitionspot. Retrieved on July 11, 2010.
  25. FilmExecutives. The Last Airbender (Great Movie) SPECIAL EDITION. YouTube. Retrieved on February 22, 2011.
  26. Live-Action Epic Based on Nickelodeon's Popular Series Delivers Inspiring Adventure the Whole Family Can Enjoy: The Last Airbender. PR Newswire (2010-09-14). Retrieved on September 17, 2010. See original press release document.
  27. News flash on Blu-ray 3D release
  28. The-numbers.com

See Also

External Links

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