Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

REVIEW The Last Airbender

July 10, 2010

Lost in translation. What better phrase to sum up M. Night Shyamalan’s efforts to bring the beloved Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series to the silver screen? It has been three and a half years since Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies announced the hiring of  Oscar nominated director M. Night Shyamalan to produce the live action adaptation, much to the trepidation of Avatar fans worldwide. While Night’s early Hollywood career met with substantial box office success and critical acclaim, his two most recent films (and a third to be released in 2008) were received far less favorably. Many were beginning to justifiably doubt his directing talents, and still more wondered if he had the skills necessary to do justice to the Peabody award winning modern classic. We’ve been following this film since production finally began to ramp up in the fall of 2008; covering every news item, every photo snapped, every interview given, every trailer screened, and we were even lucky enough to have a chance to interview Night himself back in March earlier this year. The cast and crew said the right things, the costumes and sets looked fantastic, the special fx wowed us, and Night had a lot of enthusiasm for the show & seemed to get what made Avatar great. Aside from the much publicized casting issues, things seemed to have been progressing most auspiciously. I was lucky enough to have been invited to the film’s premiere at the Lincoln Center in New York City on June 30th. Having given myself a few days deliberation, I believe I’m ready to submit a critique of the film that will hopefully keep gut-reaction hyperbole to a minimum. (more…)

REVIEW Spin Masters 3 3/4″ Aang & Deluxe Appa

June 13, 2010

As some may have noticed over the last week, the full Last Airbender toy line has begun to make its way into retail stores across the country, most notably Toys R Us. Produced by toymaker Spin Master, the line features five 3 3/4″ scale figures, deluxe Appa & Aang figures, and Aang’s Battle Staff  & Ultimate Airmaster roleplay toys.

Having managed to obtain a 3 3/4″ Aang and the deluxe Appa figure (retailing for $7.99 and $17.99 respectively), I must say Spin Master’s efforts are lackluster, if not wholly disappointing. (more…)

REVIEW The Last Airbender Prequel: Zuko’s Story

May 20, 2010

Prince Zuko. The name alone conjures a flood of wildly varying thoughts and emotions from fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender: disgraced, enemy, friend, nephew, son, brother, betrayer, teacher….Zutara.  What most fans can agree on is that the scarred prince is one of the deepest and most compelling characters to be found in the acclaimed Nickelodeon television series, and that fact has not been lost on the creative minds behind the forthcoming live action adaptation. Speculation has run wild since Del Rey Manga, a division of publisher Random House, announced a Last Airbender tie-in manga at Comic Con 2009. That tie-in was eventually revealed to be a prequel featuring everyone’s favorite “hot man.” Officially released May 18, we’ve now had our chance to sit down and absorb every panel of Zuko’s Story. Does it reveal any titillating new insight into Aang’s complex enemy? Read on, but beware spoilers!

(more…)