Never has there been a more reviled cartoon adaptation than the live-action version of Avatar: the Last Airbender. The film takes a great Nickeloden cartoon, drags it through the mud, then stomps on Aang's head for good measure. There are many, many reasons the movie is bad, but the focus here is on how specific elements of the Avatar show were mishandled in the movie.
Overall, there are about a million ways The Last Airbender movie screwed up Avatar, and now many of them are compiled in one handy list. Obviously, the film became a big example of Hollywood's tendency to whitewash casting, since the good guys are turned into Caucasians.This list isn't about that, though. This is about all the other things that annoyed Avatar fans throughout the film. So check out this list to relive the worst things about The Last Airbender movie, and learn what exactly M. Night Shyamalan and his team of filmmakers got wrong about the classic cartoon. Short Answer? Everything.
They Put an Earthbender Prison on a Bunch of Earth
It's clear that the point of this movie is to show that the world has lost all hope and only the Avatar can restore it. There's nothing wrong with that, except for some truly boneheaded story choices. Like when Team Avatar stumbles across an earthbending prison right in the heart of earth kingdom village. That's right, earthbenders are being held captive, while surrounded by the one thing that makes them all-powerful. For some reason, it takes one small kid standing up and saying, "Hey, guys, maybe you should stand up for yourselves," for them to do anything.In the cartoon, the prison is on a big metal boat in the middle of the ocean, which makes 100% more sense.
If you're a casual moviegoer, you would be forgiven if you forgot that Sokka was a character in The Last Airbender movie. A plank of wood could have played his part and everything would have unfolded the exact same way. This especially hurts knowing that Sokka is arguably the best character in the cartoon. He is always funny, but his character gets one of the better arcs, transforming from a cocky, inept buffoon to a brilliant, hilarious buffoon. The movie barely gives him any lines or anything to do, and worst of all, he tells maybe two unfunny jokes throughout the entire movie.
Earthbenders Apparently Don't Know How to Earthbend
Six guys. That's how many earthbenders it takes to slowly raise a small rock and move it a few feet forward. Three guys could have done more damage picking it up by hand and bashing a Fire Nation soldier in the face. In the cartoon, fans are blessed with awesome earthbenders like Bumi and Toph. In the movie, they're stuck with these guys. If this was the kind of opposition they were up against, maybe it isn't so surprising that the inept Fire Nation soldiers took over the world in the first place.
Everybody Mispronounces Everything
In M. Night Shyamalan's defense, his idea to honor the original Asian pronunciation of character names probably seemed like a good idea at the time. The cartoon was always deeply spiritual and took elements from a lot of different Asian cultures, so he probably thought people would respond well to a more authentic version of the cartoon. He was wrong. Almost every character has their name said slightly differently: Aang is Oong, Sokka is Soh-ka, Iroh is Ear-oh, etc. Even the word Avatar is pronounced Ah-vatar!The problem with that is, no one cared! No one watched the cartoon and thought to themselves, "Hey, I love this show, but it would be so much better if the names were slightly more authentic." Audiences fell in love with the cartoon, so those different pronunciations in the film were just teeny-tiny daggers to the eye every time they happened.