The Last Airbender (2010) (part 5 of 10)
And so, our heroes decide to go to the North Pole to look for a waterbending master to train Ong. Cue the montage! In it, we see them saving a few other towns, plus Katara putting up a poster which I guess is just advertising that the Ah-vatar is back.
This gives us our first look at one more instance of Shyamalan pissing all over the Asian influence of the show. The writing, which was all genuine Chinese in the series, is now complete gibberish squiggles. Because hey, why would a director of Indian heritage ever care about something like that?
Then there’s a short bit where Zuko arrives in one of the towns they’ve rescued, after which we cut right back to our heroes. That was necessary.
More narration from Katara ensues, about how they kept moving north, and Ong kept practicing waterbending, and Soak-a was concerned they were being followed. Which tells us absolutely nothing we couldn’t have already gleaned from the montage, or the shots of Ong practicing waterbending underneath the narration. Way to show your respect for the audience.
Back with the Fire Nation, Zhao returns and meets up with Fire Lord Ozai (Cliff Curtis) himself. This is actually an adaptation change I agreed with, as it fits in well with the new medium. In the show, Ozai’s appearances in the first two seasons were rare, and we didn’t even see his face until season three. But that wouldn’t work in a planned film trilogy like this, so instead he gets a few scenes like this. In theory, that’s a good thing.
However, the problem is that Shyamalan apparently couldn’t think of anything for him to actually do in these scenes, so Ozai spends the whole film just lounging around his house and having information brought to him. In other words, he’s exactly the same character as King Galbatorix. And that’s really not a comparison you want to invite.