Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • The Last Airbender is a 2010 American fantasy adventure film written, produced, and directed

  • by M. Night Shyamalan. It is based on the first season of the Nickelodeon animated series

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender. The film stars Noah Ringer as Aang, with Dev Patel as Prince

  • Zuko, Nicola Peltz as Katara, and Jackson Rathbone as Sokka.

  • Development for the film began in 2007. It was produced by Nickelodeon Movies and distributed

  • by Paramount Pictures. The Last Airbender was made for $150 million. Premiering in New

  • York City on June 30, 2010, it opened in the United States the following day, grossing

  • an estimated $16 million. It received extremely negative reviews by

  • critics, who cited many flaws on the movie, such as inconsistencies both over the plot

  • and source material, acting, writing and cast choices, which most of the actors have different

  • racial traits from the characters of the original series, creating several controversial responses,

  • both by fans of the original series and even viewers of the film who were unfamiliar with

  • the series. The movie swept the Golden Raspberry Awards in 2010, with five wins including Worst

  • Picture and has been considered to be one of the worst films of all time.

  • Despite negative reviews, The Last Airbender opened in second place at the box office behind

  • The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and eventually grossed $131 million domestically and $319

  • million worldwide.

  • Plot Fourteen-year-old Katara and her fifteen-year-old

  • brother, Sokka, are near a river at the Southern Water Tribe, a small village in the South

  • Pole. While hunting, they discover an iceberg that shoots a beam of light into the sky.

  • Inside of the iceberg is a twelve-year-old boy named Aang and a giant flying bison named

  • Appa. Unknown to them, Aang is the long-lost, mighty Avatarthe only person on the planet

  • able to "bend" all four elements. One hundred years have passed since the Fire Nation has

  • declared war on the other three nations of Water, Earth, and Air in their attempt to

  • conquer the world. Zuko, is an exiled prince of the Fire Nation

  • on a quest to find the Avatar and bring him as prisoner to his father, Fire Lord Ozai,

  • so he can return home. Seeing the light that appeared from Aang's release, Zuko and some

  • Fire Nation soldiers arrive at the Southern Water Tribe to demand the villagers hand over

  • the Avatar. Aang reveals himself as he surrenders himself to Zuko on the condition that he agrees

  • to leave the village alone. On the ship, Aang is tested by Zuko's paternal uncle Iroh to

  • confirm him to be 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 where they meet a

  • winged lemur, who Aang later names Momo. Aang also learns that he was in the ice for a whole

  • century and that the Fire Nation wiped out all of the Air Nomads, including his guardian,

  • Monk Gyatso. In despair, he enters the Avatar State and finds himself in the Spirit World

  • where he encounters a Dragon Spirit that tells him that he only knows Airbending, and that

  • he also needs to learn Waterbending, Earthbending and Firebending in order to become a fully

  • realized Avatar. The Dragon Spirit tells him that he should learn Waterbending first, and

  • that the best teachers are in the Northern Water Tribe as there are no more experienced,

  • master waterbenders in the Southern Water Tribe.

  • To seek shelter, Aang's group arrives at a little Earth Kingdom village controlled by

  • the Fire Nation, and they are arrested because Katara tries to help a young boy escape from

  • Fire Nation patrol soldiers. 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 greatly

  • strengthen and hone her Waterbending and to help Aang learn as they make their way to

  • the Northern Water Tribe and liberate and secure more Earth Kingdom villages in the

  • process, weakening the Fire Nation's food and water supplies.

  • 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 Commander Zhao, a Fire Nation Commander

  • appointed by the Fire Lord. However, a masked marauder, the "Blue Spirit", helps Aang escape

  • from his imprisonment. Zuko is the masked vigilante, and Zhao realizes this. He arranges

  • to kill the prince. Zuko survives the assassination attempt on his life with Iroh's help. He sneaks

  • aboard Zhao's lead ship as his fleet departs for the Northern Water Tribe, which is a heavy

  • fortress, to capture the Avatar. Upon arriving, Aang's group is welcomed warmly by the citizens

  • of the Northern Water Tribe. Immediately, Sokka quickly befriends the Northern Water

  • Tribe princess, Yue. After a few agreements, a Waterbending master, Pakku, teaches Aang

  • waterbending. Katara also becomes a much stronger and more powerful waterbender due her training

  • with Master Pakku. Soon, the Fire Nation arrives and Zhao begins

  • his attack while Zuko begins his search for the Avatar on his own. After defeating Katara

  • in a battle, Zuko captures Aang as he enters the Spirit World to find the Dragon Spirit

  • to give him the wisdom to defeat the Fire Nation who tells him to let his emotions flow

  • like water. Returning to his body, Aang battles Zuko before Katara freezes him. Before leaving

  • to join the battle, Aang lowers the ice so that Zuko can breathe. As the battle escalates,

  • Iroh watches Zhao capture the Moon Spirit, with which its Ocean Spirit counterpart had

  • assumed the form of a fish. Despite Iroh's pleas, Zhao kills the Moon Spirit to strip

  • all of the Waterbenders of their powers and abilities to Waterbend. Yue explains to everyone

  • that the Moon Spirit gave her life, willing to give it back as she dies in the process.

  • With the tables turned, Zhao finds out Zuko survived. They almost fight before Iroh appears

  • and tells Zuko it's not worth it. Zhao is drowned by Waterbenders after Zuko and Iroh

  • leave him to his fate. Aang remembers his life before being trapped in the ice, including

  • when he left his home, seeing his master's face. With his Waterbending powers and his

  • emotions "flowing like water", Aang enters the Avatar State and raises the ocean into

  • a gigantic wall in order to drive the armada back. Aang now fully embraces his destiny

  • as the Avatar as he, Katara and Sokka prepare to continue their journey to the Earth Kingdom

  • to find an Earthbending teacher for Aang. The Fire Lord learns of the defeat, and angry

  • about the betrayal of his brother Iroh and the failure of his eldest son Zuko, he tasks

  • his youngest daughter Azula to stop the Avatar from mastering Earth and Fire before the arrival

  • of Sozin's Comet, which she accepts, giving a sinister smile.

  • Cast

  • Noah Ringer as Aang He is an Airbender who disappeared from public sight a hundred years

  • ago. While chronologically one hundred and twelve years old, Aang still retains his biological

  • age of twelve. He is the latest incarnation of the Avatar Spirit. 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 Dev Patel as Prince Zuko a sixteen-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 in order to

  • regain his lost honor. Nicola Peltz as Katara a fourteen-year-old

  • girl of the Southern Water Tribe and its last remaining waterbender. Since the death of

  • her mother, Kya, she has served as the maternal, motherly figure in her family, and is no stranger

  • to responsibility despite her young age. Jackson Rathbone as Sokka a fifteen-year-old

  • warrior from the Southern Water Tribe and Katara's older brother. He can be condescending,

  • and has no waterbending abilities. He often takes up leadership roles by virtue of coming

  • up with most of the workable plans and tactics. Shaun Toub as Uncle Iroh Zuko's paternal 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. He has an obsession with libraries.

  • Seychelle Gabriel as Princess Yue The princess of the Northern Water Tribe,

  • who was Sokka's first girlfriend, and romantic love interest. In a tragic turn of events,

  • she sacrificed herself to save the water tribe and the balance of the earth, by turning into

  • the moon. Cliff Curtis as Fire Lord Ozai

  • The leader of the Fire Nation as well as Prince Zuko's father.

  • Summer Bishil as Princess Azula She appears once at the battle where Zuko

  • refuses to fight and again at the end where she accepts the role as hunter of her older

  • brother and uncle, and destroying the Avatar. Francis Guinan as Master Pakku

  • He is a water bending master of the Northern Water Tribe; he taught Aang to water bend.

  • Randall Duk Kim as Old man in temple He is an Earth Kingdom villager, who often

  • visits the remains of the Northern Air Temple. Isaac Jin Solstein as Earth bending boy

  • He is based on Haru of the cartoon series. He started the prison uprising by earth bending

  • a pebble to the back of the lead Fire Nation soldier's head.

  • Keong Sim as earthbending father He is based on Tyro of the cartoon series.

  • He and other Earth benders in his occupied village agreed to be imprisoned in exchange

  • for the non-benders to live in peace. He reneged the terms of surrender by bending an earth-barrier

  • to protect his son from the lead soldier's retaliatory Fire bending attack.

  • John Noble as Dragon Spirit He is a new composite character taking over

  • the roles of Avatar Roku, Fang, Koh and Guru Pathik from the cartoon series.

  • Production Development

  • 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: The Last Airbender co-creators Michael

  • Dante 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, "A lot of the inspiration for the direction we took

  • comes from a friend of mine. A Nathan Blackmer helped shape this Idea into the film it became.

  • 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." Paramount's president Brad Grey

  • said that despite the director's career being inconsistent, he "believed in [Shyamalan's]

  • vision and that he could execute it," adding that "It's a bold step because he had to create

  • a potential new family franchise." The studio was willing to spend $250 million in a trilogy

  • of films, one for each season. The Last Airbender's budget wound up being $150 million, with later

  • over $130 million being spent on marketing costs, making it Shyamalan's most expensive

  • film. 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 played "Gran Gran", the grandmother of Katara and Sokka, and Seychelle Gabriel

  • portrayed Princess Yue, another of Sokka's love interests and princess of the Northern

  • Water Tribe. Isaac Jin Solstein played an earthbending boy. Comedian Aasif Mandvi played

  • Commander Zhao, Cliff Curtis played Fire Lord Ozai, and Keong Sim was cast in the role of

  • an Earthbender. Ringer 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. He began

  • shaving his head during his martial arts training to help cool off, which gave him the nickname

  • "Avatar" due to his resemblance to Aang from the animated series. When he heard about the

  • film adaptation, he made an audition tape with his instructor and sent it to the filmmakers.

  • He hadn't worked on a film before, but his resemblance to Aangenhanced by painting

  • a blue arrow on his already shaved head, swung him the role. Having not acted before, Ringer

  • was required to attend acting school a month before filming commenced. Peltz was familiar

  • with the 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 Twilight films 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.

  • 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 recalls fighting, punching, and throwing and said the experience 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 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 filmmaking 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. 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 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, 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, the expectations of realistically throwing balls of fire and water were pushed

  • to the limit on The Last Airbender. 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.

  • 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.