Posted Fri, July 16, 2010 7:43pm EST

Bonnie Says: 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' & 'The Last Airbender' Are Your Kids Must-See Movies!

Guess what — movie critics don’t get kids at all.

If a kids film isn’t packed with adult jokes to amuse THEM, they give it a major thumbs down.

If the movie is just magical, or about magic and fantasy and especially if it’s live action, they pull a scrooge and deprive it from multiple stars and good reviews!

That’s exactly what has happened to this weeks The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, starring Nicholas Cage, and to The Last Airbender, which opened a couple weeks ago.

So you dumb, old movie critics — I’ve seen both movies and more importantly, I took several kids to see both, and I can tell you — they LOVED them!

No, neither is a GREAT film, but for the youngster set, they are both entertaining and imagination-sparkling.

My nine-year-old and his pal, both of whom had vaguely heard of the great Merlin the magician, were totally roped in by the film’s tale of a master sorcerer, Balthazar (Cage), desperate to protect New York City from his evil arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath, played by Alfred Molina.

Balthazar recruits a nerdy physics goofball, Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), to help; telling him that unbelievably, Dave is actually “the prime Merlinian” — in other words, is a man who is destined to be a major magician.

Nicholas Cage is in fine form — fit, majorly muscled and sporting some mighty fine long hair — not that kids notice that. But they do like the mayhem and the magic that ensues.

As for The Last Airbender — the fancy film critics, were even more cruely, sneering at the acting, the dialogue, and the directing by M. Night Shyamalan’s adaption from the Nickelodeon cartoon series.

Well, my kids and their friends watch the cartoon series all the time — I’ve never seen it — and we ALL completely enjoyed this sweet, fantastical film.

It was a classic kid pleaser — you kids and teens — one of them who posses air, water, fire and earth “bending” skills — must save the good people of the world, from an evil adult Fire King.

The visual magic is fabulous, the scenery is gorgeous, the kids and teens are adorable, there’s a bad guy (Fire King’s son) who may not be exactly what he seems — what’s not to LIKE?

My kids couldn’t stop chattering with questions and observations, when the last scene finished. They can’t wait for the sequel!

So take that critics who seem to have it out for poor M. Night for some reason and take your kids to The Last Airbender AND The Sorcerer’s Apprentice!

–Bonnie Fuller

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The Last Airbender

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Posted at 7:43 PM on July 18, 2010  

I believe the kids who watched the TV series have a more sophisticated understanding of the differences of the movie and the series that you’d know. This one was good visually, but the storyline did not do the TV series justice. Here’s hoping that MKS will not do either the 2nd or the 3rd parts of the trilogy.

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N. Le

Posted at 12:52 AM on July 18, 2010  

Maybe you and your kids have horrible taste in movies. You ever thought about that?

Kids’ films do NOT need to be dumbed down or made simple, or sugar coated. Kids these days are smart, they know what good storytelling is, and most of them HATED The Last Airbender. Maybe next time you called other critics “dumb” you should really look at yourself instead.

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Posted at 5:40 PM on July 17, 2010  

The fact that kids — or adults, for that matter — can enjoy films with fundamental storytelling flaws doesn’t mean the flaws aren’t there. Mediocre pablum is mediocre pablum, regardless of who likes it. I like McDonald’s fries. Doesn’t make them fine cuisine.

– mattmchugh

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Posted at 3:10 PM on July 17, 2010  

You are so wrong about the Last Airbender.

Aang is a fun and naive character who loves life, not a blank slate.
Katara is a voice of reason and a girl just coming into adolescence.
Sokka needed to be funny and smart.

All this character stuff was removed from the movie because the actors were so bad and the fight scenes were so slow.

And this doesn’t even get into the casting, where all the major East Asian characters were turned into white characters, in typical Hollywood fashion. There’s yet another thing I want to show my kids: Asian people are only good enough for cartoons, but not for the movie version of a story covered in Chinese calligraphy, East Asian palaces, and East and Southeast Asian names.

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Posted at 10:22 AM on July 17, 2010  

i agree with your article a am a fan of the show that the last airbender is based on and i really liked the movie. Shyamalan didn’t destroy anything; the critics and the cartoon purists were the ones who helped destroy the franchise. It was obvious that the critics were out to get him; the movie was very entertaining. Many of the TV fans have been ridiculously critical. They curse and insult the new movie fans, and they complain about everything. the movie wasnt made for fans of the show it was made for everyone.
so what if they changed some things the movie is not suppose to be an exact copy of the show its an adaptation. and so what if they cut cut sokka’s comedy. the entire season 1 was 10 hours long and the movie was less than 2 hours so of course things were going to get cut out so that they could put things in the movie that has to do with the plot. comedy dosent have anything to do with the plot. season one was about aang going to the north pole and learning waterbending and that happened. so how did the movie not follow the story.

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Posted at 2:02 PM on July 18, 2010  

if that’s all you think the first season was about, you completely missed the point of the story. nobody expected the movie to be an exact copy of the show, of course some plot points had to be cut for time. but shyamalan cut out multiple MAJOR plot points that are going to make it difficult – if not impossible – for him to finish the story (if he gets the greenlight for a sequel).

a movie that is made for everyone still needs to have engaging dialogue. these actors universally sounded like they were reading their lines off of cue cards and teleprompters. there needs to be characterization, of which there was none. what do we know about the movie version of katara? she’s a waterbender. that’s about it. sokka’s humor was not only a necessary relief from dramatic tension, it was a vital part of his identity, it was part of his character. sokka without his meat & sarcasm is just a guy with a boomerang looking perpetually confused and/or constipated. the earthbending prison took a scene from the series that was a moment of inspiration from katara and not only gave it to aang, but made it ridiculous by moving the prison’s location from a metal ship to plain old earth. the problems with this movie are not just its inaccuracy – the acting is wooden, the dialogue is painful, the visuals are bland and the bending is neutered and boring. the whole thing is overloaded with exposition and the plot has been so badly chopped up it no longer makes sense. i have seen countless reviews from non-fans who could not comprehend what was going on in the movie, who they were supposed to be rooting for and why.

i can only conclude that the people who DO like this movie – bonnie and her kids included – are the sort who go into a theater and literally turn off their brains, and walk out liking what they saw regardless.

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Posted at 3:28 AM on July 17, 2010  

What makes meaningful childhood entertainment so great is that it can appeal to a mature audience as well — not by carefully hidden “adult” puns, but with a meaningful story, character development, and artistic integrity.

The origonal Last Airbender cartoon series had all of these qualities. The movie was striped of nearly all of them. The story was butchered, the acting was horrible, and the dialog was aweful. Even worse, the film clearly had a budget but none of that money was spent on hiring quality actors. Or even a half-way decent screen writer.

Hollywood has been taking several childhood classics and making quality movies from them. We hoped this would be one of them, especially since the origonal series was so great. But sadly, it was not.

Take you children to see it, yes. They will enjoy it. But don’t praise it. The fanbase for The Last Airbender extended beyond young children, and the rest of us were sorely disapointed. M. Knight Shyamalan should have delivered something of higher quality.

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Posted at 2:58 AM on July 17, 2010  

Younger kids may not go to see movies like the Last Airbender for the acting and directing but teenagers do. To make a movie that isn’t diverse with the audience isn’t fair either especially when it has such a huge fan base. I not an adult nor am I a film critic and I hated the movie. The cartoon itself is geared toward young adults and preteens so why not the movie be the same? Why do we have to suffer because a director decides he wants to make a movie just for little kids because they are too naive to understand a good movie?

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Posted at 11:20 PM on July 16, 2010  

I strongly agreed with your article.

Critics often take away the ART of movies; with their pathetic comments.

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