The Last Avatar is a mystical adventure film, a story of a young man who leaves Hollywood to find himself.
Written By: Jay Weidner
Directed By: Jay Weidner
At it's heart, Jay Weidner's movie is an environmentalist video expanded to feature film format. Throw in some motivational elements, add some fantasy and buckle up for "The Last Avatar" as if everything depended on it. Just for the record, maybe it does. What we have is a unique and ambitious film that is so different than most indie offerings, it's very hard to chain it to one genre or style. It's clearly a fantasy, but using that term doesn't fit exactly right. "The Last Avatar" attempts to harness the growing concern and discontent with the state of our planet and people, doing so in a fantastic way. The dedication it must have taken to tackle such a massive production, without a studio budget is admirable; the results a mixed bag. Overall, "The Last Avatar" does the trick and entertains for 90 minutes. I just feel it could have been so much more.
It's about as hard writing an objective technical write-up as it is to read them... and this will be no exception. "The Last Avatar" suffers from a slew of indie production issues, but mainly it's the post production elements that really hurt the film. It felt like all the pieces were available, just not used as they should have been. Let's start with the visual effects by writing they were simply all over the place. Some of the visual elements were quite nice to watch. Others... not so much. Effects such as glows and glitters, muzzle flashes, keying lines (Green screen) and unusual background movements all contributed to the big ol' mess. Some of these elements are really simple, making you wonder why they came out as they did. Other visual aspects, such as the effect shown on the poster art came out pretty decent. It's almost as if two different people handled the VFX without consulting each other. We've also got major coloring issues, almost as if the film were not graded or even color corrected. Hyper saturated edits followed by washed out ones, red hues for one cut and blue ones the next. All in the same scene! Color is so important for that final look so why was nobody on top of this? Another jarring aspect of "The Last Avatar" was the production editing itself. For a good chunk of the film it simply didn't work. The biggest offender was the constant use of dissolves, giving the movie a "music video" feel at the best of times. Generally, a dissolve is used to show time passing or time past. It's not meant to be used every scene, sometimes multiple times. We also have an editing technique that just felt "wrong" more than it seemed right. It's very hard to explain so let me put it like this. For a film of this scope, I believe a more experienced film editor should have been budgeted and paid for. Or more to the point, an editor experienced in this style of film. Like all other aspects of the movie, at times the editing flows and pushes the narrative perfectly. Other times... not so much.
The majority of the movie is like this; feeling as if two completely different teams tackled every aspect of the film... without ever speaking. Even the shots themselves seem completely different from one scene to the next. Writing that the style and composition were good and bad is not exactly right... more like they were just so different. These differences, through every technical element of the production are what really hurt the presentation of the movie. So what saved it? Put simply... the concept itself and the majority of the acting. "The Last Avatar" features some damn fine performances from the lead and supporting cast. The way these guys execute such a complex script really brought up the entertainment value of the production. It is through their actions that the story shines through the technical faults, bringing "The Last Avatar" beyond a mediocre film.
So let me write that although suffering a little technically, Jay Weidner and his team end up delivering a solid and entertaining film. Considering the scope and content, that in itself is one hell of a feat. Some films just shouldn't be attempted without a massive studio budget, and end up failing when someone tries. Not in this case though. "The Last Avatar" may not be the perfect film but it doesn't need to be. The message is a great one and it's entertaining enough to leave you with no regrets. If put together properly I really feel this could have been a solid five stars. As it sits right now, there's still enough here to entertain even the most fickle of viewers, or you may simply end up loving it just the way it is. Why not take matters into your own hands and be the judge for yourself.
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