The Last Airbender

Yesterday, thanks to the generosity of a friend, we took the family to see The Last Airbender, a movie we have been waiting to see for several years now.

When we got to the counter, the price for the tickets was unimaginable. We could have gotten in to see God for cheaper–there was a $4 premium for 3-D on top of the regular ticket price. (We would have preferred NOT to see 3-D. Among other reasons, the Cherubim won’t wear the glasses. But it was the only option.)  We stood there debating whether to ask for a refund for a long time, but we’d gone with a large group, and the children REALLY wanted to see the movie. Juss looked so heartbroken at the thought of going home again. So we decided to go.

This was a hard decision, though, because everything we had heard about this movie was bad. It got 8% at Rotten Tomatoes. Paying an ungodly amount to see a movie that stinks is really hard to take.

So, we went in.

I sat down, watched the many previews, beheld the beautiful visuals and waited for it to get bad.

Each moment that went by was gorgeous and beautifully in keeping with the story. I waited for it to get bad.

It never got bad. There was a moment when I realized that it reminded me of some of the great films to come out of India years ago. It had that feel…like an excellent foreign film. I wonder if that was what lost some Americans.

In the climactic battle, Juss cried out "This movie is Great! I’d definitely give it a tomato!"

Everyone in our group really enjoyed the movie. We

It had some flaws. Changing the pronounciation of some of the names was foolish. It turned people against it for no reason. Also, Sokka was not funny. You don’t realize how important one character is until you see something like this. Sokka’s humorous take on everything is what sets the mood of the cartoon series. Without it, it felt really different. More cheer from that one character would have made this movie feel much more like the original.

But other characters did very well. I thought that Aang and Katara were very good. Zukko was terrific, as was his uncle. The uncle took a bit of getting used to, because he played the character differently from the original…but the same sense of wisdom and suppressed power was there. Yue the moon princess might have been exactly out of the cartoon. She was perfect in every way. And I was very amused at the last shot of the smiling evil fire princess. ("No, she’s crazy, and she’s got to go down!")

It was like seeing a different take on the same events, a serious version of what had been a light and funny story. Considering that it did in two hours what the series does in 10, it was pretty amazing.

Overall, we loved it…as a family, it was worth what we paid, which is good because we’ll have to forgo at least two meals to cover it. That will be the last movie the kids see until Voyage Of the Dawn Treader, which has always been my favorite Narnia book, in December.

Personally, I think the theaters are making a mistake. They’ve hiked their prices way up, but that does not fill seats. Showings we attend are almost never full. So, wouldn’t it be better to keep prices lower and have six extra seats filled, rather than raise them and have those seats empty?  Raising your prices more than 100% just seems unwise during a time when people are struggling.

Still…we loved it.