“The power to control the elements is bestowed upon a chosen few.” Well, they clearly don’t mean the Weather Girls.
They mean the Avatar, the one person in the world who does indeed have mastery over all four elements. Reincarnated every generation, this new one, Aang, needs to combat the evil Fire Nation to restore peace and balance to the world. Good luck, Aang.
Based on the epic cartoon fantasy series, Hollywood has again mangled the source material into something spectacular, but ultimately soul free. Oh, and plot free, emotion free and character free!
M Night Shyamalan, for once stepping out of his auteur role, brings little of that mystical weirdness that characterized his best and earliest work. He’s a long way from the compelling tension of the Sixth Sense or Signs.
Dev Patel, cast as the exiled leader of the Fire People, Prince Zuko, is also a long way from Slumdog Millionaire. He’s a recognizable face but too wooden a character to get us caring about the fate of the combatants as they battle for peace on earth.
There are a few big visual moments. But this will go down as another disappointment from a talented director and another Hollywood failure to adapt successfully across genres.