A new Last Airbender trailer has surfaced on the Web featuring a few new scenes, including a battle between Zuko and Katara, an awesome shot of Aang‘s staff swooshing open, and *gasp* Aang speaking at the very end.
Watch it here, then read our thoughts:
The Good: Katara’s Waterbending
As a huge fan of the original animated series, there’s one thing that director M. Night Shyamalan has definitely gotten right: The Water/Fire/Airbending effects (I’m guessing there won’t be Earthbending in this film). Part of what makes the original animated series so incredibly fun to watch are the fight scenes, which were always an awesome blend of martial arts and elemental “bending.”
For a cartoon, those fight scenes really made me want to try Waterbending more water pressure into my shower, or Airbending an Air Scooter to ride on. And considering that almost every episode of the animated series featured at least one unique fight scene, the fact that the writers/animators kept finding new ways to make the characters battle each other was freaking impressive. Shyamalan has faithfully reproduced the individual martial arts styles that accompany each form of bending. In the case of Katara, Waterbending should look fluidic and graceful–and it does.
The Not So Good: The (Voice) acting
There’s a bit more dialogue from all the main characters in this trailer. We hear a few more tortured lines form Katara and Sokka, and most importantly, we hear Aang say “I don’t deserve their praise” at the very end. While I won’t prematurely dismiss the film based on just a few brief scenes, I will say that what I’ve seen so far makes me wary, and the sound of newcomer Noah Ringer’s dour voice makes me especially nervous.
For the animated series, the voice acting obviously helped make those animated characters both believable and lovable. Aang’s talented voice actor Zach Tyler brought the perfect blend of child-like curiosity, mischievousness, and excitement to the role, while also conveying the gravity, fear, and sadness that one imagines a child would experience when tasked with saving the world. It’s a tricky mix to balance, and one that Zach Tyler nailed. Noah Ringer’s one-liner at the end fails to inspire largely because fans of the original series know what Aang should sound like.
While newcomers to Airbender won’t be burdened by that comparison, let’s hope that Ringer can bring the complexity of Aang’s character–and more importantly, the pure FUN of Aang’s character–to the screen even if his voice falls a bit flat.