Top 10 Worst Changes in The Last Airbender Movie

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Top 10 Worst Changes in The Last Airbender Movie

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada
This was the best they could do with this iconic franchise? For this list, we'll be looking at the worst differences between the certifiably fresh “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series, and its certifiably rotten live-action movie. Our countdown includes Cutting Key Subplots and Characters, Rushing Princess Yue's Tragic Story, Whitewashing Characters, and more!
Transcript
Script Written by Andrew Tejada

Top 10 Worst Changes in The Last Airbender Movie


This was the best they could do? Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 worst changes in “The Last Airbender” movie.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the worst differences between the certifiably fresh “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series, and its certifiably rotten live-action movie. Since we'll be talking about plot points, a spoiler alert is in effect.

#10: Cutting Key Subplots and Characters


M. Night Shyamalan tried to cram twenty episodes of the show into a single film. But he left out crucial plot lines for beloved characters in the process. Katara’s inspiring triumphs over sexism and her rivalry with Zuko are pushed to the background. She interacts with him so little she can barely remember his name. Fan favorites like King of Omashu, Bumi, and Kyoshi Warrior, Suki, aren't even mentioned. Since they were supposed to play crucial roles in the narrative, their absence created plot problems for the planned sequels. We understand that condensing twenty episodes of content is difficult. But if you’re cutting out crucial aspects of your story, maybe you should aim for a less ambitious adaptation.

#9: No Laughing Allowed

While the animated series was marketed towards children, the creators weren't afraid to tackle heavy subjects like war and loss. But they also made sure to break up those dark topics with plenty of visual gags and jokes. Unfortunately, M. Night Shyamalan didn't get the memo when he made the movie. There’s not much to laugh or smile at in the film. Nearly all the characters stand around looking depressed or emotionless. Even the normally hilarious Sokka doesn’t tell many jokes. The lack of humor makes the world feel grim and heavy throughout the entire runtime. Audiences looking for a fun escape were punished with a humorless and cold world.

#8: Showing Ozai's Face Right Away

Around 30 minutes into the film, we see Fire Lord Ozai’s face for the first time. Although actor Cliff Curtis did a decent job, his reveal came far too early. Ozai’s face wasn't shown until the third season of the animated series. Up until then, we learned about the Fire Lord with horrific stories, saw him in silhouette and heard him speak through Mark Hamill's intimidating vocal performance. This helped build up Ozai’s terrifying reputation and made him seem larger-than-life. Every time the movie cuts to the firelord, the character becomes less mysterious and intimidating. If they had kept Cliff Curtis in the shadows, his Ozai could’ve made a better impression.

#7: Rushing Princess Yue’s Tragic Story

The original series spent three episodes with Princess Yue. During that time, we learned she was a compassionate and noble ruler. She also risked an arranged marriage to spend time with Sokka. Their romance was cut short when she gave her life to save the moon spirit. The movie messed up this storyline in every conceivable way. In the film, we barely spend any time with Yue. As a result, her romance with Sokka comes off as rushed and forced. And when the moon spirit is injured, Iroh tells Yue she must give up her life. The animated Yue courageously chose to sacrifice herself. Having the film’s Iroh tell Yue to make the sacrifice robs her character of the little agency she had.

#6: Creating Strange Name Pronunciations


Even the most casual cartoon fan knew the movie was in danger as soon as they heard Katara say Sokka's name. The first vowel in his name was randomly changed from a short o to a long one. Since fans were so used to hearing his name on the show, Sokka's name sounded wrong every time someone said it in the movie. The names Aang, Iroh and the phrase “agni kai” were also pronounced differently. M. Night Shyamalan claims he changed the pronunciations so they would sound more “realistic”. Although there might have been some audience members out there who appreciated his desire for accuracy, most fans would have preferred if he’d just left the names alone.

#5: Imprisoning Earthbenders On Earth

In the series episode “Imprisoned”, the heroes discover fire nation soldiers are forcing earthbenders onto a metal ship. Since these earthbenders can’t bend metal, they feel powerless to fight back. After the heroes give them access to coal, the prisoners use the rocks to rebel. The film initially looked like it would follow the storyline to a T. But Shyamalan inexplicably traps the movies’ earthbenders within their own EARTH VILLAGE. They should’ve been able to overpower their enemies and escape with ease. And while there’s a throwaway line about the soldiers bringing metal machines, we don’t see them used in the village during the film. The absurd change in their prison setting made these earthbenders look like weaklings instead of warriors.

#4: Making the Heroes One-Dimensional


Each of the main heroes in “The Last Airbender” movie seems to be defined by their worst trait. Sokka is a serious soldier with an extreme bloodlust, Katara seemingly cares about everyone she meets and Aang is so consistently racked with guilt that he can barely manage to crack a smile. The original series gave each of the main trio complex personalities. As the show progressed, they grew past their flaws and became well-rounded characters. None of the leads in the movie really grows or shows any depth. We'd rather watch outrageous parody versions of our favorite heroes on the small screen than the flat live-action performances we get in the film.

#3: Adding Painful Dialogue


Most of the characters in the film don't sound or behave like regular humans. Although you could blame that problem on bad direction or awful acting, the dialogue is the real culprit. The characters are constantly forced to make long expositional speeches sound like normal conversation. They also love saying their emotions aloud instead of showing them. And there are lines written so awkwardly that not even Meryl Streep could make them sound convincing. The original series was full of natural and inspiring dialogue. Fans are still quoting Uncle Iroh's wise words today. The combination of great dialogue, voice acting, and direction earned the series a Peabody award, an Emmy and multiple Annie awards . By comparison, the movie won 5 Razzies.

#2: Making Bending Look Bad

There was nothing more thrilling than watching a bending battle in the original series. These fights were fast-paced, gorgeous and full of creative choreography. The bending in the movies is… there. Although the creative team probably tried their best, the visual effects just aren't up to par. We have to awkwardly wait for the effects to catch up to the actor’s movements. The style that suffers the most is firebending. In the show, firebenders can create flame out of nothing. But in the movie, they require a constant source of flame to fight. This gives them a gigantic and obvious weakness. If you want a quality bending battle, pull up the original series, pick a random episode and enjoy.

Appa Looks Terrifying
Way Too Much Exposition and Narration
Aang and Zuko's Relationship Is Severely Underdeveloped
Commander Zhao Is Defeated by Nameless Fighters
An Ugly 3D Conversion

#1: Whitewashing Characters

Although the animated world of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is separated into four nations, each of these groups is full of racially diverse people. But you wouldn't know that if you just watched the movie. In Shyamalan's live-action adaptation, the lead roles of Aang, Katara and Sokka are whitewashed. The water tribe, which was supposed to be based on Inuit culture, is also full of white people. Meanwhile, the Fire Nation consists almost entirely of Asian actors. Casting nearly all your villains as non-white is problematic and insulting in itself. But to do that while also erasing the racial identities of beloved characters is unforgivable. We hope the next live-action adaptation of this series respects diversity a lot more than this movie does.
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Who ever liked this movie?
But fr why can't ANYONE say Aang's name right in this movie Sin total: 271