One of the failtastic things about The Last Failbender that really pisses me off is the visual shittiness.
Let us consider as our first example, the art of bending. In the cartoon, it looks like this (there’s about 20 minutes of video here; if you only watch one, watch the Earthbending video, which is first):
Note that the elemental reactions match up with the movements. The elements are extensions of the benders’ bodies, moving with them.
Now let us take a look at the bending in the film:
What the fuck is this, seriously? Fighting through interpretive dance? A few seconds of cavorting followed by a mostly-unrelated elemental event is not bending. Worse, the amount of time spent dancing around like a moron has no relation to how much of your chosen element you actually move. Six dudes dancing around to move one rock? Later we see one dude lift a WALL of rock out of the ground with less time spent dancing. WTF.
Nevermind the whole “Firebenders can’t generate their own fire” thing, which is some serious horseshit and would leave the Fire Nation seriously vulnerable if the other nations weren’t too profoundly stupid to put out the Firebenders fires (seriously, watch the fight in the Earthbenders prison. Not only do the Earth Benders have to be reminded that they are standing on a bunch of dirt, they never actually put out the Fire Nation bonfires).
This ties in with the racefail I’ve already talked about, too, since in the series each bending style is based on a carefully-chosen martial art. But, yanno, who cares about that Asian crap, let’s replace it with numbers from “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Plus, take a look at what’s happening in the background in that gif up there: lots of dancing done by a few people while everyone else stands around. I guess Twistalan thought if everyone were fighting it’d be too … I dunno. Interesting? Fun to watch? Something.
Plus, the cinematography is a snoozefest.I have seen student films that were more visually interesting. There’s a great comic about that issue here.
Now, some of the special effects are pretty decent, but the CGI animals are straight out of the uncanny valley. Momo (Aang’s bat-lemur companion, who’s basically a flying monkey in the cartoon) is not only incredibly creepy in the movie, but nobody actually looks at him. I guess Twistalan figured having a tennisball or something to indicate where Momo was in a given shot would be too much effort.
Then again, given what Movie!Momo looks like, who would want to look at him? Movie!Appa has the same problem — he’s creepy looking instead of endearing.
I know Twistalan wanted to make his film grittier than the series (since, yanno, genocide, torture, and struggling to avert a world-ending apocalypse is apparently not gritty) but I don’t think turning cute, funny, beloved animal companions into Lovecraftian abominations is the same thing as “being gritty.”
Wow, only one rant left! And that one is about the greatest sin of all: the fact that The Last Failbender is boring and makes no sense. I can put up with a lot in a film if it’s entertaining, but this just… isn’t. Stay tuned for my rant about why!