There are some movies that when I watch the preview for, I know right off the bat that it's going to be horrible. Generally I avoid those movies because usually my money is wasted.
I didn't avoid it this time.
I was convinced to see this movie on Student Day at the theater, which meant it was cheaper, but I still paid too much. Not to mention that we saw it in 3D, which always makes it more expensive. And again, I don't really understand the whole "let's put everything in 3D" notion that has been plaguing Hollywood lately. Personally, I like 2D. But whatever.
So anyway, this film is based on the cartoon series named "Avatar", but surprise, surprise, they couldn't name the movie that because of frickin' James Cameron. It focuses on the story of Aang, who emerges from an ice bubble with these tattoos all over his head, signaling that he's an Airbender. Don't know what that means? Well, apparently the earth is divided into four nations: the water nation, the fire nation, the earth nation, and the air nation. These nations were kept peaceful by the Avatar, who communicated with the Spirit world, and was very wise and what not. Well, 100 years previously, the Avatar disappeared and the fire nation went on a power trip, conquering all of the other nations, and exterminating the entire Air nation because the next Avatar was supposed to be one.
So that's why Aang's airbending tattoos are such a big deal.
Now, Aang befriends two people from a Water tribe (Jackson Rathbone of "Twilight" fame, and Nicola Peltz), who swear that they're going to look after him. Easier said than done when the Fire nation's King's son, Prince Zuko (Dev Patel) want to capture him to reclaim his honor.
It's all way more complicated than it should be. And apparently, this movie is just one of four that can be made, which kind of makes me want to weep. Because here's the thing: while the special effects were pretty awesome (but there's really no need to see it in 3D), the dialogue and acting are atrocious. And no, I'm not being harsh. I'm pretty sure M. Night Shamalan was like, "Okay, here's the dialogue. There's no need to act." It's amazing to me how he gets funding for his films anymore, considering that they've all gone down the crapper recently.
The only person who does a decent job is Dev Patel, but his acting is so over the top (which, according to my friend, is how the character acts in the cartoon) that it seems ridiculous. He took it to an extreme while the others didn't take it anywhere.
So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 4.5. It only gets that high because of the effects, because let's face it: it's short on acting and on humor. Apparently the cartoon is quite funny, but it seems M. Night decided to suck the fun out of the film version. Shame on you, dude. Shame. On. You.