Bad Movies II

film 5 of 5

The Last Airbender

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 17, 2015

You know what they say? Well they’re right—this really stinks! I know that they’re all saying this too, but it’s kind of hard not to. What happened to this guy?

No need to detail all that. Let’s hope that Mr. Shyamalan finds his feet again. Here’s this interesting thing.

There are some promising things here, lurking about. Fans of Nickelodeon’s Avatar: … series can tell you about them. I can too, a bit. Those monks are dressed like Tibetan Buddhists, and we catch the Dalai Lama parallels when we learn that this kid picked the last airbender’s four favourite toys. As for the four elements, which are obviously brought together in this saviour kid—Neo, Neo everywhere—who will then bring them all together cosmically, they could well be the great traditions. All incomplete, all essential—it’s a lovely idea, and a very important one.

Lovely in concept that is, or generally speaking, or as contemplated outside of this almost entirely regrettable concoction. But just because a movie stumbles, doesn’t mean that we should let the standard fall to the ground. These fantasy sequences are all or mostly just outward manifestations of a much deeper thing, which predates and will outlast all such scurryings.

We’re talking about our hope, and the belief systems that we fashion in order to nurture and cultivate it, in order to live. You know what? On the subject of being humble and reverent about the great religions, at the same time that you look for your own? Someone should really do something with G.E. Lessing’s ring parable, from Nathan the Wise.  Like read it, for instance.

It starts like this: “In days of yore, there dwelt in east a man
Who from a valued hand received a ring
Of endless worth …”

It’s in Act III. It’s right here: