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-Dolphin Tale

by Dr. D ~

*Now Available on DVD

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Review by Dana Chaffin

Dolphin Tale is now available on DVD at most movie retail stores (such as Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart) and at www.dolphintalemovie.com.

This film is based on the inspiring true story of Winter the dolphin and her amazing human rescuers from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA). Winter is an incredible little dolphin that never gave up even after losing her family and eventually her tail. She is an inspiration to those with disabilities and encourages everyone she meets. The entire family will love this movie for the amazing story, the outstanding cast, and the adorable animals.

Dolphin Tale is a very entertaining movie for the whole family to enjoy. It follows the true story of Winter, played by Winter, at the time of her rescue she was a 2 to 3 month old dolphin, that was rescued from being entangled in a crab trap. A fisherman spotted the dolphin and with the help of a boy, Sawyer played by Nathan Gamble (Marley & Me, The Dark Knight), passing by who calls for help. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) rescue team lead by Dr. Haskett played by Harry Connick, Jr. (Hope Floats, Will and Grace) takes the injured dolphin and cares for her at their Clearwater, Florida facility. Her tail had been wrapped so tight in the ropes and the damage was too severe that her tail would eventually be amputated. But that did not stop her, once strong enough she taught herself a different way to swim. The connection between Winter and Sawyer was special and both of them needed each other. Dr. Haskett’s young daughter, Hazel played by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, was quite a help to the CMA team and the recovery of Winter. She and Sawyer became good friends while going through the ups and downs of Winter’s ordeal. Sawyer’s mother, played by Ashley Judd (Simon Birch, A time to kill), saw the difference in him and finally approved of him skipping out of summer school to help with the dolphin. The team discovers that Winter’s new way of swimming is causing life threatening damage to her spine and they must find a way to correct it or she will die. That is when Sawyer finds a prosthetics Dr. from a nearby VA hospital, played by Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, The Bucket List), to manufacture a prosthetic tail, which had never been done before. After several failed attempts would they have to give up? While this bunch of heroes are fighting to keep Winter alive the CMA is in dire financial stress and will be closing and the property sold if something does not happen fast. So can they save Winter and the CMA in time? You will have to watch the movie to find out, but I can tell you it will have you crying, laughing, and cheering for the team and Winter, the little dolphin that could!

In the movie Winter is the celebrity, but there are many other amazing stars at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA). Right now the facility is home to sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, otters and more. The CMA’s mission is to restore and preserve marine environment through education, research, and the rescue, rehabilitations and release of marine life. All of the animals at the facility got there because of an injury or illness. It is their goal to help each animal recover and release it back into the wild, but unfortunately not all of the animals are able to return so they become permanent residents and help with educating visitors. There is a 24 hour emergency stranding phone hotline and when a call is received, no matter what time, a dedicated team of staff and volunteers respond. Educational programs and summer camps are available for visitors at the Clearwater, Florida site, but there is also CMA L.I.V.E. a virtual educational program to reach classrooms all around the world. Part of the research program is a sea turtle nesting program to help sea turtle hatchlings make it safely to the water and ensure their survival. Since 2005 over 60,000 hatchlings have been released into the Gulf of Mexico. All of these programs are provided by CMA staff and their caring volunteers. To find out how YOU can help CMA &/or get involved visit their website www.seewinter.com or contact kmartin@cmaquarium.org for details.

Dolphin Tale is an inspirational and entertaining movie for any age. The entire family can get together for an awesome family night movie, but even the adults and teens will enjoy. It will leave viewers with a positive message of hope that anything is possible. Winter’s story is not over and she will continue to touch many more lives around the world.

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-Cutback

by Dr. D ~

*DVD Now Available: from Skipstone Pictures; Directed by: Lance Bachelder & Johnny Remo; Cast: Justin Schwan (Luke Harris), Angel Cruz (Casey), Kelsey Sanders (Emily), Danny Smith (Youth Pastor- Shane), Andy Shephard (Matt), Raquel Gardner (Mom), Greg Carlson (Dad), Jessie Nickson, Matt Beacham, Christopher Michael, Ed Morgan.

**Awards: Peoples Choice Award: Best Feature Film – 2010 San Diego Christian Film Festival

This movie took me by surprise. A powerful Christian message wrapped naturally into a story that includes true friendship, tragedy, and the pain of growing up and seeking one’s identity and place in life. Plus it starts off with some incredible surfing cinematography and a soundtrack that gets you into it right from the very start.

In the first couple of minutes you learn that Luke has a passion for surfing and would like to become a pro. His friend Casey on the other hand is quite different and won’t even go into the water but they are the closest of buddies anyway.

Then there are Luke’s parents who don’t seem to listen to each other or Luke for that matter. From there we find out that Luke’s father is not exactly thrilled with His son’s surfing and wants him to dedicate himself to getting a college education. Luke on the other hand is keyed in on the upcoming local surfing contest that could get him a place on a sponsored team –a start towards achieving his dream.

Next day at school a new girl (Emily) catches Luke’s eye but he learns that she is some kind of serious Christian. Then there’s a new guy (Matt) on campus who brags about being the sure-fired winner of the upcoming surfing contest and ends up challenging Luke to a private surfing duel.

Along the way Luke gets grounded but comes to an understanding with his parents about his future. As part of the agreement he is required to attend the youth group at church. His friend Casey goes along with him and loves it.

Tragedy strikes and Luke has a hard time dealing with the aftermath. His friend Emily tries to talk to him about it but her answers seem like trite platitudes until he finds out the truth about her past and ends up searching for his own answers in the process.

The story is true to life with several twists and turns plus an inspired ending. This is a great story for teenagers and parents alike and even grandparents like myself.

The acting is top notch, the screen play is exceptional, and it is pulled together with an excellent soundtrack along with several scenes of surfing cinematography to die for. An awesome experience on many different levels with a natural Christian message to boot. Yes I really did like this film.

This movie would be great for youth groups. It raises all sorts of questions about life, relationships, parents, identity, goals, and the importance of bringing God aboard in the midst of it all.

<<Here’s a link to the movie website>>            *Top

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-The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (PG)

by Dr. D ~

Theater release: December 10, 2010 by 20th Century Fox; Directed by: Michael Apted; Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes; Cast: Georgie Henley (Lucy Pevensie), Skandar Keynes (Edmund Pevensie), Ben Barnes (King Caspian), Will Poulter (Eustace Scrubb), Simon Pegg (voice of Reepicheep), Gary Sweet (Drinian), Liam Neeson (voice of Aslan)

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The Third installment in the Chronicles of Narnia series. A splendid adventure that worked far better than the last- Prince Caspian.

The new Narnia adventure begins with a picture in a room that literally captivates the two youngest Pevensie children- Edmund and Lucy along with their bratty cousin Eustace. Soon they find themselves in the Narnia sea being pulled aboard a ship called the Dawn Treader which is lead by King Caspian (Formerly prince). Then the non-stop adventure begins.

Every island stopped at and explored presents a new set of problems plus new characters and lessons to be observed and learned.

Edmund is tired of always being second fiddle, Lucy is obsessed with being pretty like her sister Susan, and Eustace would just like to go home and continues to be a mouthy brat that doesn’t take orders well but the feisty fighting mouse -Reepicheep dogs his every step and eventually shows him the error of his ways.

Evil represented by a green mist in the movie preys upon the weaknesses and obsessions of the 3 children in particular. Eustace ends up being turned into a dragon and everyone aboard the Dawn Treader ends up battling a sea serpent.

Oh yes, along the way they finally meet up with Aslan who puts their whole adventure and lessons to be learn into a useful spiritual perspective.

A great movie for the whole family.

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-Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (PG-13)

by Dr. D ~

Theater release: November 19, 2010 by Warner Bros. Pictures; Directed by: David Yates; Runtime: 2 hours 26 minutes; Cast: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange)

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A very dark movie. Parents should really take the PG-13 seriously. At the showing I went to there were far too many young children.

It is all out war now between those who support Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. Harry along with his friends Hermione and most of the time Ron are on the run for their very lives.

It is one confrontation after another and even the close friendship of the three begins to wear very thin as family and their circle of friends are all challenged and some are even killed in the process.

The writers are very successful in this episode creating and sustaining tension and desperation throughout with only fleeting moments of rest. Actually the film is way too long and emotionally exhausting.

Very few redeeming moments and themes in this movie and the evil side seems to be dominating. However, Harry and friends meet every test and are still standing at the end.

As the name indicates it is really only Part 1 and one truly hopes that it will be worth it all after Part 2 is viewed. We leave our heroes in the throes of desperation and seek resolution in part 2 this coming Summer.

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-Rust (PG)

by Dr. D ~

*Note: I already reviewed the film below and included the trailer. However this review by Dana Chaffin includes the incredible back story behind the film. The background of the film’s development is a whole separate story that is just as inspirational as the film itself. Enjoy Dana’s review:

RUST: A Mystery of faith

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Review by Dana Chaffin

The new inspiring movie Rust is available October 5, 2010 on DVD. This film has all the elements of a great mystery with a helping of faith. The story keeps viewers on the edge of their seat just waiting to see how it all turns out. The story behind the movie, the choice of location, and the cast could in itself be an award winning movie. The excitement of both the movie and the story behind the movie will leave you with a sense of hope.

The Movie

Rust was written by actor Corbin Bernsen, (LA Law, Major League). It is the story of a middle aged pastor that leaves his calling and returns to his hometown to ponder his life and his faith in God’s plan for his life. It was not quite the return he had hoped for; his father was not too welcoming, his sister was struggling in her marriage, and his childhood friend was being blamed for a mysterious fire. This man must now decide to follow his gut feeling that his friend is innocent and fight to clear him or just worry about his own problems. Not wanting to give too much away, by the choice he makes and how it all unfolds is outstanding.

The Story behind the movie

The story of the film developed as Corbin Bernsen examined his own faith after the passing of his father. In an interview with CBN Corbin says “We don’t know what the plan is (speaking of God’s plan). We just have to have faith in the plan.” Bernsen has been acting for many years and has even started a movie production company called Team Cherokee Productions, but writing and/or producing Faith films was not something he ever really planned.

It all started because of a red paper clip. That is right and I will show you! In 2005, Kyle MacDonald began bartering his way from a single red paper clip to eventually a house. You can see all the trade information and the story of Kyle MacDonald at www.oneredpaperclip.blogspot.com, which has had over 9 million visitors since July 2005. He made several trades that included a snowmobile, a van, a recording contract, an afternoon with Alice Cooper, and more.

Bernsen heard about all the media attention this was getting and decided to offer a role in a Hollywood movie. At the time Bernsen did not have any movie plans, but he worked fast and came up with a movie called Donna on Demand. MacDonald secured a trade with the small Canadian town of Kipling for the movie role and they would trade a city owned two-story house. He had done it, in less than one year MacDonald had traded from a red paper clip to a house. The city of Kipling was excited because they made a trade that one of their citizens would get a role in a Hollywood movie produced by Corbin Bernsen.

Bernsen thought this person would get a line or two to satisfy the agreement, but he never imagined the talent he would find. Nolan Hubbard eventually won the role. Kipling held auditions and 150 people from the 1,000 population showed up to audition. Bernsen was so impressed with Hubbard that he was cast as a lead in Corbin’s third film Rust. The town of Kipling wanted to do another movie with Bernsen so much that the town raised over $230,000 to fund the movie. Not only was Rust shot in Kipling, but most of the actors were from there or surrounding communities. See, it really did all start with one red paper clip!

Rust may not have started out as a faith based film, but once God got involved it sure turned out that way. It is amazing to see how all this came together. The story is one of hope and restoration, but the story behind the movie is an example of faith. Learn more about the movie at www.rustmovie.com. Also on the website is a great study guide.

Dana Chaffin is a Christian freelance writer who has published many articles on sites like: faithwriters.com, christianmediaalliance.com, and extantmagazine.com. Passionate about Christian film, her desire is to get the word out about Christian movies to as many people as possible. Email signgal@faithwriters.net

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-Rust (PG)

by Dr. D ~

DVD Now Available: From Provident Films & Sony Home Entertainment; Directed by: Corbin Bernsen; Run Time: 95 minutes; Cast: Corbin Bernsen (James Moore), Lloyd Allen Warner (Travis), Lorne Cardinal (Duane), Frank Gall (Glen Moore), Audrey Tennant (Mary), Kirsten Collins (Amanda), Rev. John G. Hutchinson (Pastor Barrow), Judith Davies (Mrs. Wexler), Nolan Hubbard (Drew), Ryder Debreceni (Ian).

Rust movie trailer

Touching story set in the small farming community of Kipling, Saskatchewan (pop: 1,100).

Corbin Bernsen plays James (Jimmy) Moore a long time minister who has a midlife crisis of faith and goes back home to Kipling to find his way once more. The town looks just like he remembered it but the people there are all going through a crisis of their own.

In the last harvest or so the crops in the area were devastated by rust and symbolically most of the relationships also seem to be suffering some way or another.

Jimmy’s father does not seem to be happy to see him. His sister is coping with the breakup of her marriage and the younger generation all seems to be bothered about something especially one young teenage girl.

Fortunately the town minister-Pastor Barrow hasn’t changed and still provides a solid foundation and example plus he gives Jimmy some very useful words of wisdom and encouragement.

Meanwhile the whole town is recovering from a recent fire that killed an entire family. One of Jimmy’s old friends, Travis a town reject, confessed to the crime. However something just doesn’t add up and the Travis that Jimmy knew just wouldn’t be capable of such a deed.

Jimmy ruffles a whole lot of feathers, including one of his old friends, Duane the town sheriff, as he is looks into the facts of the case. Along the way Jimmy finds purpose and his faith once more and the whole town is better for it.

Corbin Bernsen also wrote and directed the film plus quite a few local people have key roles in the movie lending it authenticity. The backdrop of winter in Kipling with snow everywhere you look is awesome.

An inspirational film and one that I highly recommend.

Here’s a link: <<to the movie website and where it can be purchased>>

*Note: We received a DVD free for review: <<Read our Disclosure Statement>>

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-The Way Home

by Dr. D ~

DVD: Available on October 26, 2010  by Red Five Entertainment; Directed by:  Lance W. Dreesen; Run time: 91 minutes; Cast: Dean Cain (Randy Simpkins), Lori Beth Edgeman (Christal Simpkins),  Sonny Shroyer (Volunteer Ed Walker), Tom Nowicki (Sheriff Tony Reeves), Brett Rice (Fire Chief Gary Thomas)

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A movie based upon an inspirational true story.

Randy Simpkins and his wife Christal are loading up their van and preparing to go on vacation. Their 2 year-old son Joe is riding his trike in the driveway. 

Christal tells her husband to put Joe in his car seat while she goes back inside to finish up. Randy lets Joe keep playing while he goes in to check on his email at work before they leave. He comes back out a couple of minutes later and Joe is nowhere in site.

Then the search for the little boy begins. At first the parents are convinced that he is probably hiding from them and playing some kind of game. A half an hour later after searching everywhere in the house and on their property plus all of the nearby neighbors the parents are fit to be tied and now know that their son is gone, lost, or has been taken.

It is every parent’s worst nightmare.

Randy calls the Sheriff who immediately calls in the Fire Department’s search and rescue experts and then the search begins in earnest.

Meanwhile the Grandmother who lives nearby calls their minister at church who starts a prayer chain and calls in dozens of church members to help in the search and to help the family cope. In a very short time 100’s from the church and the community show up to volunteer.

After searching everywhere for 4 hours, the experts are beginning to fear the worst. It is a rural area full of all sorts of potential dangers for a 2 year-old. In every direction there are woods, ponds, dry wells, old buildings, and swamps that could swallow up the boy and time is getting short.

After a couple more hours, the Fire Chief begins to regrettably call in all of the crews  for the night with only a half an hour of daylight left. It is an emotional time for all.

In the midst of it all Randy Simpkins realizes what is really important in his life and promises God to make changes accordingly. Up to that point his life had been consumed by his job but after this he planned on putting his faith and his family first.

An inspirational story with a powerful ending. <<View the trailer and more info at the movie website>>

<<The DVD is currently available @ Thomas Nelson>> or at the following stores after October 26:

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*Note: We received a DVD free for review: <<Read our Disclosure Statement>>

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-Upside

by Dr. D ~

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DVD Now Available: Released Oct.5, 2010 by Spyplane Films; Directed by: Ken Horstmann; Cast:  Randall Bentley (Solomon White), Leah Sims (Wren Woods), Taylor St. Clair (Mrs. Buck), Blair Jasin (Cody), Jeremy Harrison (Craig Parker), Kay Copeland (Cindee).

Upside Trailer

Great story, good acting, with a wonderful soundtrack.

Story of a high school senior with everything and everything going for him at least so it seems.  Solomon White is a rich kid, an accomplished Jock that is being heavily recruited by Ivy league schools, and has a pretty girl friend that won’t leave him alone.

At the beginning I thought this would be just another teen love story with little substance where the hero doesn’t get along with his parents and snows his teachers, but I was wrong.

Solomon is a bright kid that is trying to cruise his way into an Ivy league athletic scholarship for lacrosse by doing the bare minimum in school work.  Meanwhile behind the scenes his mother is pulling strings and making contributions to her former alma mater to get him in and his girl friend Cindee who he broke up with is pressuring him to take their relationship to the next level.

In the midst of it all Mrs. Buck a Christian teacher takes an interest in Solomon and sees lots of potential but forces him into a writing project to make up for a copied paper that he had turned in as his own. With his scholarship on the line Solomon has to respond whether he likes it or not.

During a big game of lacrosse against a major rival Solomon is hit hard and suffers a major concussion. He wakes up in the hospital and finds that his world has literally been turned upside down. He suffers from a rare condition where his eye sight is now turned around and upside down.

In the process of learning to cope with his new situation Solomon meets a new love interest Wren Woods who is blind but helps Solomon view his life in a new way and begin to make decisions for himself. Wren is a Christian girl who does not pressure him in any way but does take him to church which ends up being a turning point for Solomon. Wren along with Mrs. Buck helps Solomon to find God and really find himself in the process.

A marvelous story with all sorts of lessons for living. Great for the whole family and also a great movie for the youth group at church.

<<Here’s a link to where the DVD may be purchased>>

*Received DVD free for review: <<Read Disclosure Statement>>            *Top

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-Bringing Up Bobby

by Dr. D ~

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DVD Now Available: Released Oct.5,2010 by Glowing Nose Productions; Directed by: Chris Staron; Runtime: 93 minutes; Cast: Marc Thompson (James), Alexander Hinsky (Bobby), Brian Morvant (Dennis), Liz Bucher (Liz), Jhey Castles (Terry), Adam Misenko (Eric), Reagan Kendrick (Andrea), Jay Smith (Walter).

Good Christian comedy. Great for the family and a film that could be used and shown by youth groups at church. Deals with the question of identity and how Jesus Christ factors in our lifestyle and decision making.

James is the ‘big brother’ raising Bobby who is turning 16. Their parents have been dead for 12 years and ‘big brother’ James put his own life on hold to raise his siblings particularly Bobby who was only 4 when their parents passed on.

The will has never been read nor has the estate been settled but the time has now come and Bobby’s much older brother Dennis and sister Andrea have come back to make sure that they get their share. James is hoping to get the family home and enough of the money to keep a roof over their heads and eventually send Bobby to college.

In the middle of it all, Andrea hires a lady lawyer to handle her interests. The lawyer  turns out to be a Christian and becomes a love interest for James who hasn’t dated for years.

Meanwhile Bobby is going through an identity crisis brought on by his becoming infatuated with a new girl at school- Liz. All of his current friends are ‘gothic’ in style and dress so also is Bobby. Meanwhile the new girl Liz, a Christian, is not impressed. This starts Bobby on a rather superficial quest to find out what she does like. Also at the same time at home James is challenging Bobby to read the Bible and look into Jesus and make a commitment to God.

Then throw in, Bobby’s closest friend Eric who is also going through a serious crisis with his mother an out-of-control alcoholic.

It sounds rather serious but it is a comedy after all that provides plenty of laughter and enjoyment on the way and even the occasional slapstick which actually works most of the time.

As in many comedies some of the characters are over-the-top, outrageous, and rather one-dimensional foils for fun. Dennis the druggie/anarchist wanderer brother, Andrea the selfish money grabbing possession-loving sister, Walter her rather meek husband/slave, and Bobby’s gothic ‘friends’ at school. Don’t expect any sort of logical or redeeming action/reaction from any of these folks.

There were two scenes in the movie that did not work for me and seemed rather unrealistic even for an outrageous comedy. First of all, Bobby buys a car for Liz. Nobody explains how a 16 year old is able to do that nor is there any update on what happens to the auto after Liz rejects the gift.  Then when Bobby finally gets a shot at dating Liz he turns her down saying that he needs to pursue and concentrate on his new life in Jesus. In real life a teen would probably choose to do both since the girl is a Christian also.

It is a serious Christian film after all and the message of the gospel comes through naturally most of the time. An ideal film for family discussion and for youth groups.

-Go to this site: To purchase the DVD or arrange for a church showing.

*Received DVD free for review: <<Read Disclosure Statement>>            *Top

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-The Last Airbender (PG)

by Dr. D ~

Theater release: July 01, 2010 by Paramount; Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan; Runtime: 1 hour 35 minutes, Cast: Noah Ringer (Aang), Dev Patel (Prince Zuko), Nicola Peltz (Katara), Jackson Rathbone (Sokka), Shaun Toub (Iroh), Aasif Mandvi (Commander Zhao)

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Review

This film was a major disappointment. My grandson and I looked forward to seeing this for months. I was looking forward to see another M. Night Shyamalan masterpiece and this wasn’t while my grandson is a fan of the TV series the movie is based upon. Both of us were completely disappointed.

First of all- the title of the movie should have been ‘The Avatar’ like the TV series but we all know why that just wasn’t possible. It was like an omen of bad things to come.

I don’t think that Shyamalan really ever understood the story and the characters from the TV series. Somehow he must have gotten bogged down in the sets and special effects which by the way weren’t even that good considering that this could have been an epic similar to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series or ‘Star Wars’.

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The biggest problem were the characters. They were never really developed and never got to the place where I even cared that much for any of them.

Aang ‘the Avatar’ was too dark and confused to be a ‘hero’ and the special effects didn’t really do justice to the powers he was touted to command. Prince Zuko was somewhat sympathetically portrayed but my grandson said Katara was a ‘whiny baby’ in the movie where she is tough and courageous in the TV series.

It was way too serious and comedy relief was totally lacking. Humor served the ‘Ring’ series well and also the Star Wars movies along with the Avatar TV series but not in this movie for some reason. In the end the characters were not even really that likeable.  

Religion

Going in we knew that the story would be steeped in Eastern religions and pantheism. Each of the major people groups had their own champion ‘gods’ or spiritual forces. The ‘fire people’ leader could care less about religion and was in to power and domination. The Avatar ‘Airbender’ was supposed to be the one which would bring peace and so-called balance between the different forces and gods—a ‘messiah’ of sorts.

The explanations of this were rather lacking and murky in the film.

Conclusion

The film ended with a victory that was left uncelebrated. The ‘water people’ bowed down to the Avatar and that was it- and who really cares for that matter. Nothing like the celebration at the end of the first Star Wars movie (now they call it the 4th). 

At the end, both of us wondered if we would even bother to see the sequel if it ever happens. Probably not. My advice—don’t waste your time and money on this turkey.           *Top  

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