As with any other movie with Asian origins, The Last Airbender stirred some controversy when it chose Caucasians as the lead characters. Let me address this in two parts. First, while I wasn't one of the people protesting, I do understand the outrage it caused. I didn't really mind that the actor portraying Aang was not Asian, but at the same time I understood the sentiments of the other viewers. For starters, you don't see any Asian American actors riding horses in a Mid-West cowboy kind of movie. As always pointed out, the opportunities Asian American actors have are far more limited compared to Caucasian actors. So I guess since this already had an Asian origin, it must have been proper to cast Asian Americans to make the film as authentic as possible and also to give them a chance to star in a movie.
On the other side however, the producers might have thought, and I am just assuming things here, Asian Americans are not exactly known for carrying a movie. Or maybe it's just as simple as Noah Ringer outshining the other actors who tried out for the role. We'll never know. Let me also take this opportunity to say that I did not go to the internet and find out what the director, or the producers had to say about the matter. I'm just recalling the outrage that happened when the casting was announced before.
Honestly, I'm not one to care about the race of the actors I'm watching. As long as they're great actors and do the job properly it can be an Antartican/person from Antartica, if there ever was one for all I care. It's 2012, race should not be an issue anymore. But again, I understood the sentiments of the different parties. But let's now focus on the movie itself.
It wasn't the ethnicity of the stars that made the movie, should I say not work. The actors in the movie were ok, but the rest of the movie was not as good. The actors did well for what they were given. Noah Ringer was convincing enough as Aang, and was actually pretty good, I thought. Actually, I thought the cast was one of the better things about the movie. Dev Patel and Nicola Peltz were also good at portraying their roles. One of the bigger problems for me was the effects. This movie's marketability, I thought, was the use of the special effects, especially on bending. However, some of the editing of the effects were just horrendous. Some effects were spectacular, but some were really disappointing. There was one point in the movie when the people in the movie house just laughed, and not because they were pleased with that particular scene. I'd rather not mention the scene, but even I was surprised when people started laughing at it because it was just bad, and I'm using the word "bad" to downplay their reaction a bit.
The development of the story was also not as strong as it could have been. It felt a little chaotic at times at the wrong moments. I think if the rough edges of the movie were straightened out, this movie could have been a lot better, and the minor changes could have had greater impacts. I'm not claiming that it was a bad movie, cause to be honest, I did enjoy the movie a little bit. However, this movie had so much potential and it wasn't maximized. It's a little wasteful since it could have been a great movie.
Overall, the movie was ok for me. I did not hate it, but I also can't say I absolutely liked it. Let's just say that if there really would be a sequel, I'd still go and check it out, but I'd be wishing that it would be 10 times better than the first movie. The funny thing was I wasn't even a big Avatar fan to begin with, and I was still disappointed. I could only imagine the reactions of those who were really into the anime. Actually I had an idea cause I went with some friends who were really huge fans of the series, and they weren't as pleased as I'm sure the people behind the movie hoped for.