The Last Airbender

First slide

Strained 3-D fantasy adventure, set in an alternate world where some human beings have the power to "bend," that is, control, one of the basic elements of fire, earth, air and water, and where a brother and sister (Jackson Rathbone and Nicola Peltz) assist a child (Noah Ringer) who is the latest incarnation of a global peace-giver in his quest to restore order to society by ending the oppressive rule of a warlike, imperialist nation (led by Cliff Curtis and Aasif Mandvi). Though free of objectionable language or behavior, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan's live-action adaptation of an animated TV series - which also features Dev Patel as a disgraced prince out to prove his mettle by capturing the boy wonder - fails to gain dramatic traction, bogging down in stilted dialogue and endless explanations of its back story, some aspects of which suggest pantheism or nonscriptural beliefs.

Watch out for: Potentially confusing religious themes and much nongraphic martial arts and combat violence.

Rated: A-II; MPAA: PG

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2010