Movie review – Castles in the air

2010-09-10 14:09

Only the faint wraith of his grand celluloid moment keeps M Night Shyamalan from total obscurity.

Film: The Last Airbender (UIP)
Director: M Night Shyamalan
Featuring: Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone, Noah Ringer, Dev Patel and Cliff Curtis
Rating: 4/10

His first film, The Sixth Sense, seemed to be the beginning of great things.

He followed it up with Unbreakable, the otherworldly Signs, the creepy The Village and the whimsical Lady in the Water.

His last film, The Happening, was ridiculous and his latest film, an adaptation of a hugely popular Japanese TV series, is just as silly.

Even though the series has aired on our satellite channels, it is not as popular in South Africa as it is overseas, so the film is unlikely to draw great crowds.

Sometimes taking a small-screen success to the big screen results in something being lost in translation. The Last Airbender is a case in point.

The story is about a loss of ­balance in an elemental world.

There are four nations: water, air, earth and fire.

When the being that oversees the elemental world disappears, the fire nation lays waste to the planet.

One day, a pair of water folk finds a little boy in an iceberg and sets in motion a series of events that will set the world to rights.

The cast of young actors is led by Dev Patel, star of the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.

He’s the banished prince of the fire ­nation doomed to try to win his father’s approval.

The story echoes with worthy ecological metaphors and morals, and the young actors try mighty hard not to seem too daft ­delivering uninspiring lines.

However, The Last Airbender offers ­little to viewers older than 10 and even those younger than that will need some background about the TV series to stay up to speed.

Shyamalan seems to have taken on the project because of his daughters’ love of the TV series – a professional mistake.

Full of martial arts and mystical hocus pocus, this story works on TV but fails to make the leap to the big screen.

Slapping on ­another dimension doesn’t help ­either.

The inadequacies are more in your face because it’s in 3D.

Zombie smackdown!

Former model Milla Jovovich, who has made a movie career out of carrying big guns and shooting zombies, returns as Alice with the latest in the Resident Evil franchise.

Who would have thought one could get so much mileage out of a computer game in which you move up a level if you kill enough zombies?

This time, not only is the whole thing in 3D, but Jovovich is joined by a trio of good-looking TV stars – Ali Larter from Heroes, Prison Break’s Wentworth
Miller and Boris Kodjoe from Soul Food.

This fourth film, which is the first film based on a video game to be made in 3D, has been well received by Alice’s fans.

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