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The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender Poster

caption
Theatrical release poster
director
M. Night Shyamalan
producer
M. Night Shyamalan
Frank Marshall
Kathleen Kennedy
Sam Mercer
Scott Aversano.
starring
Noah Ringer
Nicola Peltz
Jackson Rathbone
Dev Patel
Shaun Toub
Aasif Mandvi
Cliff Curtis
studio
Nickelodeon Movies
The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Blinding Edge Pictures
released
June 30, 2010 (New York City premiere)
July 1, 2010  (United States)
runtime
103 minutes
country
USA
language
English
followed by
The Last Airbender 2: "Earth"
(Not Known Yet-TBA)


The Last Airbender is a 2010 American adventure fantasy film released on July 1, 2010. It is a live-action film adaptation based on the first season of the animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender. The film stars Noah Ringer as Aang, a reluctant hero who prefers adventure over his job as the Avatar. Aang and his friends, Katara and Sokka, journey to the North Pole to find a Waterbending master to teach Aang and Katara the secrets of the craft. At the same time, Fire Lord Ozai, the current Fire Lord of the Fire Nation, is waging a seemingly endless war against the Earth Kingdom, the Water Tribes, and the already vanquished Air Nomads. The film also stars Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone, and Dev Patel.

The first of a planned trilogy, The Last Airbender was produced by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. Development for a film began in 2007; it was adapted into a film by M. Night Shyamalan, who also directed and produced. Other producers include Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer and Scott Aversano. The series from which it was adapted was influenced by Asian art, mythology and various martial arts fighting styles and was created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. Filming began in mid-March 2009; the film was released in both traditional two-dimensional projectors, as well as in 3D (using the RealD 3D format).

The Last Airbender was made for $150 million and marketed with a budget of $130 million, making total costs at least $280 million. Other estimates put the cost between $100 million and $110 million, while various news sources reported the whole Last Airbender trilogy would be made for around $250 million. Premiering in New York City on June 30, 2010, it opened in the United States the following day, grossing an estimated $16 million.


Plot

The film begins with fourteen-year-old Katara and her fifteen-year-old warrior brother, Sokka, near a river at the South Pole. They soon followed some tracks of a tiger seal. When they looked beneath their feet, there was something glowing below. An ice sphere appeared with a boy named Aang and a flying bison named Appa trapped inside when Sokka hits the floor with his boomerang. Unknown to them, Aang is the long lost Avatar - a spiritual figure that holds the world in balance. After his disappearance, one of the four nations of the world, the Fire Nation, declared war on the others (the Air Nomads, the Water Tribes and the Earth Kingdom). Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation is on a quest to find the Avatar and bring him as prisoner to his father, the Fire Lord Ozai. Zuko and some Fire Nation soldiers arrive at the Southern Water Tribe. He demands them to bring out their elderly under the impression that the Avatar must be an old person. But Aang has unique Airbender tattoos which make him suspicious to the soldiers, as the disappeared Avatar is the last of the Air Nomads who are Airbenders. Aang surrenders himself to Zuko as long as he agrees to leave the village alone. On the ship Aang is tested by Zuko's Uncle Iroh and they discover that he really is the Avatar. After being informed that he is to be their prisoner for passing the test, Aang escapes using his glider and flies to his flying bison brought by Katara and Sokka. Aang and his new friends visit the Southern Air Temple and he learns that he was in the ice for a whole century and that the Fire Nation wiped out all Air Nomads, including his guardian, Monk Gyatso. In despair, he enters the Avatar state and finds himself in the spirit world where a voice asks him where he has been.

Soon after, they fly to a small Earth Kingdom town controlled by the Fire Nation, Aang's group is arrested because Katara tries to help a young boy from a patrol. They incite a rebellion by reminding the disgruntled Earthbenders that earth was given to them. Katara is given a Waterbending scroll that she uses to perfect her Waterbending and help Aang learn Waterbending as they make their way to the Northern Water Tribe and liberate more Earth Kingdom villages in the process. During a side track to the Northern Air Temple on his own, Aang is betrayed by a peasant and captured by a group of Fire Nation archers, led by Admiral Zhao. However, a masked marauder, the "Blue Spirit", helps Aang escape from his imprisonment. Aware that Zuko is the "Blue Spirit", Zhao arranges to kill the prince. Zuko survives the attempt on his life. With Iroh's help, he sneaks aboard Zhao's lead ship as his fleet departs for the Northern Water Tribe to execute the plan he and Ozai set up with the scrolls from the Library detailing the spirits there.

Upon arriving, Aang's group is welcomed warmly by the citizens of the Northern Water Tribe. Immediately, Sokka befriends the Northern Water Tribe princess, Yue. After a few agreements, a waterbending master, Pakku, teaches Aang waterbending. Soon, the Fire Nation arrives and Zhao begins his attack while Zuko begins his search for the Avatar on his own, capturing Aang as he enters the spirit world to find the dragon spirit to give him the wisdom to defeat the Fire Nation. Returning to his body, Aang battles Zuko before Katara freezes him. As the battle escalates, Iroh watches Zhao slay the moon spirit Tui, causing the Waterbenders to lose all of their powers and abilities to Waterbend. Yue explains to everyone that the moon spirit gave her life, so she is willing to gave it back. Yue dies after giving the moon spirit her life. Zhao is drowned by Waterbenders after Zuko and Iroh leave him to his fate. Aang uses the ocean to drive the armada back. Aang now fully embraces his destiny as the Avatar. Aang, Katara and Sokka prepares to continue their journey to the Earth Kingdom to find an earthbending teacher for Aang. When news of Zhao's death and Iroh's betrayal reaches Fire Lord Ozai, he appoints his daughter Azula to capture both her uncle and Zuko.

Cast

  • Noah Ringer as Aang, who disappeared from public sight a hundred years ago. While chronologically 112 years old, Aang still retains his biological age of 12. He is the latest reincarnation of the Avatar. Though he is capable of bending all four elements, at the beginning of the film he has only learned to airbend. It is also his duty to maintain balance in the world, which conflicts with his easy-going, fun-loving personality.
  • Nicola Peltz as Katara, a 14-year-old girl of the Southern Water Tribe and its last remaining waterbender of the Southern Water Tribe. Since the death of her mother, Kya, she has served as the maternal figure in her family, and is no stranger to responsibility despite her young age. She is Aang's good friend and love interest.
  • "Unknow" as Toph Bei Fong, is a blind Earthbending master. She grew up in a wealthy and highly respected family, but left them behind when she agreed to teach Aang earthbending to help him fulfill his duty as the Avatar.

(Note: This was add by Admins icarlyFan2009 for the tv series but it not in the movie part
as there no information about Toph Bei Fong the blind Earthbending master for the movie)

  • Jackson Rathbone as Sokka, a 15-year-old warrior from the Southern Water Tribe and Katara's older brother. He can be condescending, and has no bending powers. He often takes up leadership roles by virtue of coming up with most of the workable plans and tactics.
  • Dev Patel as Prince Zuko,a 16-year-old Fire Nation prince who travels with his uncle Iroh. The former heir to the throne, he was exiled by his father, Fire Lord Ozai, and ordered to capture the Avatar (who had not been seen in almost a century, making the assignment a wild goose chase) in order to regain his lost honor. He is the secondary protagonist of the film.
  • Seychelle Gabriel as Princess Yue, the princess of the Northern Water Tribe, who turned into the moon.
  • Shaun Toub as Iroh, Zuko's uncle. He is extremely easy-going and friendly, and often acts as a surrogate father to Zuko. Formerly a great general of the Fire Nation, personal tragedies led to his retirement, and the role of heir-presumptive passed to his younger brother Ozai.
  • Aasif Mandvi as Commander Zhao, a hot-tempered Fire Nation Commander in pursuit of the Avatar. He is Zuko's principal rival. Hence, he serves as the primary antagonist of the film to both Aang and Zuko. In the show, he is promoted to Admiral when trying to appoint the Yuu Yan archers to capture Aang. In the film, there is no mention of Zhao's promotion but he dies an admiral in the cartoon.
  • Cliff Curtis as Fire Lord Ozai, the leader of the Fire Nation as well as Prince Zuko's father. He is a secondary antagonist of the film, and the main antagonist of the cartoon series.

Production

Development

On January 8, 2007, Paramount Pictures' MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies announced that they had signed M. Night Shyamalan to write, direct and produce a trilogy of live-action films based on the Avatar: The Last Airbender series; the first of which would encompass the main characters' adventures in Book One.

An announcement, revealing the July 2, 2010 release date was made on April 15, 2008. The film, which was in a dispute with James Cameron's film Avatar regarding title ownership, was also titled The Last Airbender.

According to an interview with the co-creators in SFX magazine, Shyamalan came across Avatar when his daughter wanted to be Katara for Halloween. Intrigued, Shyamalan researched and watched the series with his family. "Watching Avatar has become a family event in my house ... so we are looking forward to how the story develops in season three," said Shyamalan. "Once I saw the amazing world that Mike and Bryan created, I knew it would make a great feature film." He added he was attracted to the spiritual and martial arts influences on the show.

Avatar co-creators Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko voiced their opinion within an interview regarding M. Night Shyamalan writing, directing and producing the film. The two displayed much enthusiasm over Shyamalan's decision for the adaptation, stating that they admire his work and, in turn, he respects their material. Producer Frank Marshall explained that they have high hopes to stick to a PG rating. "I'm not even sure we want to get in the PG-13 realm. Furthermore, Shyamalan said, "I took away a little bit of the slapsticky stuff that was there for the little little kids, the fart jokes and things like that...We grounded Katara's brother...and that really did wonderful things for the whole theme of the movie."

Casting

M. Night Shyamalan originally offered the roles of Aang to Noah Ringer; Sokka to Jackson Rathbone; Katara to Nicola Peltz; and Zuko to Jesse McCartney. In an interview with People, Shyamalan claimed that he did not want to make The Last Airbender without Nicola Peltz, "I said that only once before in my career, and that was when I met Haley in The Sixth Sense auditions. In February 2009, Dev Patel replaced Jesse McCartney, whose tour dates conflicted with a boot camp scheduled for the cast to train in martial arts. Katharine Houghton and Seychelle Gabriel played "Gran Gran", the grandmother of Katara and Sokka, and Princess Yue, another of Sokka's love interests and princess of the Northern Water Tribe, respectively. Isaac Jin Solstein played an earthbending boy. Aasif Mandvi played Commander Zhao, Cliff Curtis played Fire Lord Ozai, and Keong Sim was cast in the role of an Earthbender. Ringer, who had never before worked on a film, began practicing Taekwondo, the martial art and national sport of South Korea, at the age of 10. His skills later garnered accolades, including the title of American Taekwondo Association Texas State Champion. Since Aang was bald in the animated series, the actor who portrayed the character would either need to shave his head, or wear a "bald wig". However, Ringer began shaving his head during his martial arts training to help cool off, therefore causing his fans and instructor, all fans of the series, to call him "Avatar". Feeling the connection with the martial arts sequences from the series, Ringer heard about the film adaptation and, with the help of his instructor, submitted an audition tape. His painted blue arrow on his already shaved head helped secure him the lead role. Having not acted before, Ringer was required to attend acting school a month before filming commenced, calling the film a great experience. Peltz was familiar with the Waterbending character before submitting for the part of Katara, having faithfully watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, the animated series on which the film is based, with her younger twin brothers. She describes her character as being a big role model with young girls and women, "She’s really mentally and physically strong, strong-willed and -minded, but she’s also caring and compassionate... The movie has a lot of values, but it’s also fun. It’s fantasy, but it’s also a really cool battle between good and evil. She explained that she initially didn't know about Rathbone starring in the The Twilight Saga until after she met him and said that working with Shyamalan was an amazing experience. Rathbone, who originally auditioned for the role of Zuko, was approached by Shyamalan to audition for the film. After waiting for six months, he received a call informing him that he was cast as Sokka. Rathbone stated that his favorite scenes were the fight sequences, which he prepared for by stickfighting.

Airbendertoub

Patel and Toub in a scene from the film.

Before Slumdog Millionaire was released, Patel auditioned for the role of Zuko by submitting a tape to the studio. Shyamalan called Patel personally to inform him that he got the part. Training for the film was intense, as he had to learn Wushu and different martial arts. Patel's first fight scene filmed called for him to be in a tub of water on a ship; he was to look at a picture of his family, which would give him the urge to fight. Patel recalls fighting, punching, and throwing and said it was truly amazing. While he was filming Slumdog in India, he would finish a take and turn one of the channels over to the animated series. Even though it is based on a cartoon, he wanted to bring as much of himself as possible to the character he was portraying. Shaun Toub, who was cast as Uncle Iroh, describes his character in the first film as "loose" and "free". He compares Zuko's "obsession" to his childhood memories and how kids are always looking for their parents’ approval, saying that Zuko just wants his father's. "He isn’t necessarily bad, he just has a great deal of built up anger and forgets to consider others. I think people will understand that he’s not bad, he’s just angry and hurting because he really wants his father to love him, but his father is too busy with other things. He says that Patel is an "18 year old with all this energy," and that Patel was able to influence him into appreciating the business of film making more. While comparing the animated series to the film, he says the film is much more serious. He attributed this change to the director trying to relate to every age group, rather than just kids. The casting of White actors in the Asian-influenced Avatar universe triggered negative reactions from some fans marked by accusations of racism, a letter-writing campaign, and various protests. To take this incredibly loved children's series, and really distort not only the ethnicity of the individual characters but the message of acceptance and cultural diversity that the original series advocated, is a huge blow," Michael Le of Racebending.com, a fan site calling for a boycott of the martial-arts fantasy, said. As a result of the casting, the Media Action Network for Asian-Americans urged a film boycott for the first time in the organization’s 18-year history. "This was a great opportunity to create new Asian-American stars...[nonetheless,] I’m disappointed." stated Guy Aoki, president of the organization. After a casting call specifically looking for “Caucasians and other ethnicities,” Shyamalan explained that “Ultimately, this movie, and then the three movies, will be the most culturally diverse tent-pole movies ever released, period.” Furthermore, Paramount provided a statement about the casting choices, "The movie has 23 credited speaking roles — more than half of which feature Asian and Pan Asian actors of Korean, Japanese and Indian decent. The filmmaker’s interpretation reflects the myriad qualities that have made this series a global phenomenon. We believe fans of the original and new audiences alike will respond positively once they see it." The studio also took the initiative to screen the film to boycotters at Racebending.com after the 3D conversion was complete. M. Night Shyamalan commented on the issues regarding fans' perceptive of the casting in an interview with Washington Post columnist Jen Chaney, saying, "Anime is based on ambiguous facial features. It’s meant to be interpretive. It’s meant to be inclusive of all races, and you can see yourself in all these characters...This is a multicultural movie and I’m going to make it even more multicultural in my approach to its casting. There’s African-Americans in the movie...so it’s a source of pride for me. The irony that [protesters] would label this with anything but the greatest pride, that the movie poster has Noah and Dev on it and my name on it. I don’t know what else to do. Rathbone was also one to dismiss the complaints in an interview with MTV, saying, "I think it's one of those things where I pull my hair up, shave the sides, and I definitely need a tan. It's one of those things where, hopefully, the audience will suspend disbelief a little bit. Film critic Roger Ebert was one of the critical voices against the casting. When asked about casting a white cast to portray the characters, he said, "The original series Avatar: The Last Airbender was highly regarded and popular for three seasons on Nickelodeon. Its fans take it for granted that its heroes are Asian. Why would Paramount and Shyamalan go out of their way to offend these fans? There are many young Asian actors capable of playing the parts. Jevon Phillips of the Los Angeles Times noted that despite Shyamalan's attempts to defuse the situation, the issue will "not fade away or be overlooked", and that this film exemplifies the need for a debate within Hollywood about racial diversity in its films.

Filming

Pre-production began in late 2008, while filming began in March 2009 in Greenland. After two weeks, the cast and crew moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, where production designers and special-effects crews worked for several weeks, preparing the local site for the film. A production team scouting the area found the Pagoda on Mount Penn, which served as an ancient temple in the film. Reading, Pennsylvania mayor Tom McMahon explained that crews made road improvements and buried electrical lines surrounding the structure.

Filming also took place in Ontelaunee Township and at the William Penn Memorial Fire Tower in Pennsylvania after the production crew finished at the Pagoda. When asked about shooting the film in Reading, Pennsylvania, Pamela Shupp, vice president of Berks Economic Development said, "They needed buildings to shoot all the interiors, and were looking for a group of buildings with high ceilings and specific column spacing. We showed them a number of buildings, but we couldn't come up with enough to meet their requirements. So the interiors will be shot in Philadelphia."

Visual effects

With a film as technologically advanced as Avatar (2009 film), the expectations of realistically throwing balls of fire and water were pushed to the limit on The Last Airbender. The film presented the opportunity to create and work on a variety of things never seen before, and Pablo Helman, who previously worked on Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, was the visual effects supervisor for the Industrial Light and Magic team on the film. He worked closely with Shyamalan, reviewing each scene and talking about the visual effects needed to tell the story, and ultimately worked with about 300 people to reflect the director's vision, who he said planned it all in a story-board book.

WateranimationLAM

Upper: Water being animated.
Lower: Final version of animated scene.

Industrial Light and Magic was posed with visualizing the elemental tribes of Air, Water, Earth, and Fire; most importantly creating the "bending" styles of these elements. Additionally, they were required to animate inanimate creatures and enhance stunt work with digital doubles. "The work was challenging," shares Helman. "We had to figure out what "bending" is for fire, water, air and earth." The project was started without the desired technology needed to create the effects. Rather than software, computer graphic cards were the basis for "bending" the elements, allowing previews to be viewed more swiftly. This resulted in Shyamalan having to direct more than sixty takes before the effect was finished and lined up with his visions. Due to reality-based expectations, fire and water were the hardest elements to effectively bend, and because of particle work which was unable to be rendered in hardware, earth bending also was difficult to create. With water, the variety in different scales required Helman and his team to create different techniques. The concept for air was derived from the animation of the television series. In order to create the air bending effect, visual effects art director Christian Alzman and digital matte department supervisor Barry Williams explained that seeing dust and snow particles, rather than seeing the air itself, helped shape the real world effect of bending the element. Before the bending effects could be applied though, the actor's movements had to be matched; Shyamalan therefore wanted each character's bending styles to be unique in order to fit with their unique personalities. The challenge for fire didn't come with making it look realistic, but rather making the fire behave in an unrealistic way that would be believable to the audience. The film that inspired The Last Airbender's fire style was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film, which was re-engineered in order to reflect two-dimensional simulations. Helman's team referenced images of flames being pushed through the air by giant fans for certain shots needed throughout the film. The team also considered using a meshed image of real and digital fire, but in the end, went with the richer, deeper texture of computer generated flame. In terms of Matte (filmmaking), this was the biggest show that Helman had ever done. The paintings had to be in 3D because the visual style included long duration shots in which the camera always moved. The climax, which was enacted on a set, had to be incorporated with still of the landscapes shot in Greenland, as well as the low-angle lighting that was captured on location there. The camera was animated to get angles needed for different shots in the film by importing these stills into the computer. Multiple cameras were used to capture the different wire-work and animation that was used to create the creatures and many fight scenes within the film. In creating these creatures, the team referenced nature. In order for them to be believable, they looked for examples of the same size and weight as the animated character and then developed hybrids from different animals to make ech species unique. This was done by observing actual animals to get a take on how they would act. Shyamalan's take on the personality of each creature also influenced the creation stage of the creatures. For example, the lemur Momo has flying mechanics based on a giant fruit bat. Other elements, such as texturing, hair or scale simulation, and light and shadow complimentary to the live action, were added to make the final animation appear as real as possible during the later stages of character development. Paramount Pictures made an announcement in late April 2010, revealing that The Last Airbender would be released in 3-D film. This decision came after an increased amount of films being made or converted to 3D, such as Avatar (2009 film), Alice in Wonderland (2010 film) and Clash of the Titans (2010 film), made a decent profit at the box office. Although Helman stated that Shyamalan's way of shooting without fast edits and the film's visuals could lend itself to the 3D conversion well, James Cameron voiced his disapproval on any film being converted using this process, saying, "You can slap a 3-D label on it and call it 3-D, but there's no possible way that it can be done up to a standard that anybody would consider high enough. Despite this, Shyamalan opted to work with Stereo D LLC, the company who worked on James Cameron's own Avatar The conversion process for the film cost between $5 million and $10 million, adding to the reported $100 million that already went into the film.

Music

The Last Airbender soundtrack

The Last Airbender soundtrack cover.

In December 2008, James Newton Howard was announced as the composer for The Last Airbender. The film would mark the seventh collaboration between Howard and M. Night Shyamalan, after the 2008 film The Happening. Most recently, Howard received acclaim for his work with Hans Zimmer on The Dark Knight. On May 13, 2009, producer Frank Marshall announced that Howard was recording music for the teaser trailer that was later released that summer; it was later confirmed by Frank Marshall that all of the film's trailers featured original music by Howard himself. The soundtrack, released by Lakeshore Records on June 29, 2010, required Howard to hire a 119-member ensemble. Running at approximately 66 minutes, it contains eleven tracks ranging from three to seven minutes long, with a twelfth track, called "Airbender Suite" running at nearly eleven minutes. Reviews for the score were modestly positive. Danuek Schweiger of IF Magazine gave the score an A, saying the loud music is the only thing that saves the film, "[the] thematically trumpeting, mystically muscular score will let your imagination run wild in- even if that place with Shyamalan is once again best experienced in your own head.". Filmtracks' Christian Clemmensen, who spoke highly of Howard's previous credits, gave the score five out of five possible stars and praised Howard's new-found ability to "[use] the four sections of the orchestra to individually represent the four natural elements," while also criticizing the "narrative flow", which was attributed to the "non-chronological presentation" of the album.

Release

The Last Airbender was rumored to be released in the summer of 2010 before it received a formal release date of July 1, 2010. In order to avoid confusion with James Cameron's Avatar, the title was changed from Avatar: The Last Airbender to simply The Last Airbender. On June 16, 2010, it was revealed that the film would be released on July 1, 2010, and after questions about the definition of the release being limited or wide, was later confirmed by the studio to be a full nationwide release. The film premiered in New York City on June 30, 2010, and opened the following day in 3,169 theaters, against The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.

Box office

The Last Airbender opened in the United States with $16 million, ranking fifth overall for Thursday openings. For its opening three-day, Fourth of July weekend, The Last Airbender accumulated a total of $40.3 million. The following Monday, it grossed another $11.5 million, and the following Tuesday it grossed $17.5 million. 54% of its total gross was from 3D presentations at 1,606 screens.

Opening overseas in 923 sites, the film grossed an estimated $9 million, $8 million of which was from 870 sites in Russia, making it the number one film there. The film grossed $9.4 million from its second weekend in overseas markets.

As of October 11, 2010, The Last Airbender had grossed $131,601,062 in the United States box office. It had also grossed $176,551,318 in other countries.

Home media

The Last Airbender was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 16, 2010. At the same time, a Blu-ray 3D version will be made available at Best Buy locations.

DVD Release

The Last Airbender
DVD & Blu-ray
The Last Airbender
The Last Airbender 1-Water(DVD)
The Last Airbender Blu-ray
The Last Airbender 1-Water(Blu-ray)
November 16, 2010 November 16, 2010
200px
The Last Airbender 2-Earth(DVD)
200px
The Last Airbender 2-Earth(Blu-Ray)
N/A-Not Yet Known N/A-Not Yet Known
200px
The Last Airbender 3-Fire(DVD)
200px
The Last Airbender 3-Fire(Blu-Ray)
N/A-Not Yet Known N/A-Not Yet Known



Planned Sequel

While filming The Last Airbender, M. Night Shyamalan wrote a rough draft of the second film in the planned trilogy which would include Azula, portrayed by Summer Bishil, as the main antagonist and the heretofore omitted Kyoshi Warriors.

Though Shyamalan confirmed he intends to continue the series, as of September 3, 2010, he is not actively working on the sequel, focusing instead on his next thriller.

External links

  • Base on the Tv Series of:

Avatar: The Last Airbender


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