Australian Council on Children and the Media

Last Airbender, The

movie image

Short takes

Not recommended under 10, PG to 12 (Violence; Scary scenes)

Age
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Last Airbender, The
  • a review of Last Airbender, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 September 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 10-12 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children over the age of 12 OK for this age group, but may lack interest for older teens.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Last Airbender, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy violence
Length 103 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Last Airbender opens with narration telling how the land was divided into four nations, each representing a natural element - Fire, Earth, Water and Air. Within each nation were people referred to as “benders” who had the innate ability to manipulate the element that represented their nation. Once in every generation a special child was born into the air nation. This was the Avatar, who was able to manipulate all four elements and maintain a state of peace and harmony within the world. One day the Avatar disappeared and in his absence the fire nation became technological advanced and declared war on the other nations. The firebenders exterminated all airbenders in hope of preventing the Avatar’s return.

One hundred years later, Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her brother Sokka (Jackson Rathbone) are out on the ice hunting. Katara is practicing her waterbending skills when they find Aang (Noah Ringer) who has been trapped under the ice for 100 years. It becomes apparent that Aang is the missing Avatar and Katara and Sokka must now help him to defeat the evil forces, including firebender Prince Zuko and his rival Commander Zhao, and restore balance to the world.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The supernatural; revenge

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The Last Airbender contains stylised martial arts violence. While the film contains minimal depiction of blood and gore it does depict death resulting from acts of violence. Examples include:

  • Sokka prods a giant creature that appears to be unconscious with his spear. The creature stirs and its giant beaver-like tail lands on top of Sokka, pinning him to the ground.
  • A group of soldiers carrying swords and axes forcefully herd together a group of elderly people in Katara’s village.
  • Aang uses his airbending powers to hurl a group of soldiers across a room.
  • Prince Zuko fights with four soldiers. He uses martial arts kicks and punches, breaking the arm of one of the soldiers. We hear the sound of bones breaking.
  • A group of villagers (earthbenders) rise up against a small group of soldiers (firebenders). The soldiers hurl fire at the villagers who conjure up a wall of earth for protection. An earthbender use his powers to hurl a rock at a soldier, knocking the soldier to the ground. Aang uses airbending powers to knock a number of soldiers to the ground. Sokka uses a boomerang like weapon to hit a soldier across the head knocking him to the ground.
  • In a flashback, Prince Zuko walks into a ring to fight his father. Zuko refuses and we hear how his father burned his face for the refusal. We hear the sounds of Zuko screaming but do not see him being burnt. However, we see scars on Zuko’s face when he is older. 
  • An old man holds Aang at bay with a knife as a large group of soldiers surround Aang and take him prisoner, leading him away in chains.
  • A soldier discovers two soldiers hanging by their necks from the ceiling. While he is looking at them, he is knocked unconscious by a masked man. 
  • Aang is imprisoned and suspended from the ceiling by chains. A masked man wielding a sword cuts Aang’s chains freeing Aang. Aang and the masked man fight off numerous soldiers wielding swords and poleaxes with Aang using his airbending powers to knock the soldiers to the ground. Fire is hurled at Aang and we see Aang kick a soldier in the head. To make their escape the masked man holds a sword at Aang’s throat threatening to kill Aang if they are not allowed to leave. They are allowed to leave, but an arrow is fired at the masked man, hitting him in the head; the man is saved by his mask which is cracked and we see a small amount of blood on his lips.
  • A fleet of dozens of battleships with hundreds of large cannons sail in to attack the fortress of the Water Nation people. 
  • Prince Zuko hurls fire at Katara, who hurls water at the fire. Katara is thrown hard against a wall of rocks and is knocked unconscious.
  • Battleships hurl spouts of fire against a giant wall of ice protecting the city the fire punching a hole through the wall of ice. Giant lizards ridden by men climb the wall of ice with the riders hurling fire at people. Waterbenders attack the lizards and their riders with the waterbenders hurling water and ice at their attackers, who are tossed about by the force of the water. We see hand to hand fighting between the two groups but no blood and gore are depicted. 
  • During a fight between Aang and Prince Zuko, Zuko grabs Aang by the throat, twists his arm and throws him against a wall. The pair wrestle, Aang hurls air at Zuko and Zuko hurls fire at Aang. Katara hurls water at Zuko which freezes, completely encasing Zuko in ice which is melted by Aang to allow him to breathe.
  • Commander Zhao catches a large goldfish, the Moon Spirit, in a bag. Zhao then uses a sword to stab the fish through the bag. We do not actually see the fish stabbed, but a short time later we see the dead fish floating in the water.
  • Commander Zhao hurls fire at Prince Zuko and another man with the man deflecting Zhao’s fire. Four Waterbenders encase Zhao in a spear of water that drowns him, his dead body falling to the ground.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:

  • The force of a giant spear crashing through the ice propels Katara and Sokka through the air to land on their backs on the ice.
  • There are some scary giant flying creatures, including the one ridden by Aang
  • When Aang wields large amounts of power his eyes and the tattoos on his head and face glow white hot with bright white light flaring out. 
  • While visiting a temple, Aang comes across a field littered with the skeletal remains.of many monks. Aang accidentally steps on some of these and we hear the sound of bones braking. Katara tells Aang that the monks were all killed by firebenders in an effort to stop the Avatar’s return. We learn that the dead monks were Aang teachers and friends one hundred years earlier. Aang removes a necklace from the chest cavity of one of the skeletons. He is upset at the discovery and screams out, using his powers to create a cyclone and to rise up in the air
  • Aang is spreadeagled and chained at the wrists and ankles while suspended from a ceiling.  
  • An assassin-like warrior wears a scary looking mask.
  • Prince Zuko is trapped beneath the ice and pounds on the ice with his hands trying to break through - we see bloody fingers.
  • Numerous giant lizards are ridden by men.
  • Aang becomes distressed about not being able to have a family as a result of his responsibilities as an Avatar.
  • Princess Yue tells Aang that she is willing to give up her life in order to give the Moon Spirit (dead goldfish) it life force back. She lowers herself into a pool of water and see her life energy as a coloured mist transfers from her body to the body of the dead fish, bringing the dead fish back to life. With the exchange of life force the princess’s hair changes colour from white to black. The dead princess is lifted out of the water and Sokka cradles her body in his arms. 

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

OK for this age group

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • We see Zuko’s uncle having his feet massaged by an attractive young woman.
  • Some mild flirting between Princess Yue and Sokka.
  • Sokka and Princess Yue kiss and hug in one scene.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

The Last Airbender, based on an animated television series, is an action adventure targeting younger children, but with scenes and images that may disturb children under ten years of age.

The main message from this movie is that there is no love without sacrifice.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Selflessness: Many characters in the film including young children make great sacrifices for the benefit of others.
  • Responsibility: At great personal sacrifice, Aang realises what his responsibilities are meets them.
  • The heroes in this film are young teens or children. Parents may wish to discuss with their children whether it is right to place such hardship and responsibility on children and how they may be affected as a result.

Movie Review Search

Title:

Tip: Leave out the first A, An or The

Alphabetical:

Age suitability:

Selecting an age will provide a list of movies with content suitable for this age group. Children may also enjoy movies selected via a lower age.

Classifications:

classification img classification img classification img classification img

Date added:

About our colour guide

Content is age appropriate for children this age

Some content may not be appropriate for children this age. Parental guidance recommended

Content is not age appropriate for children this age