The Last Airbender
   Director: M. Night Shyamalan, Paramount Pictures, Rated PG, 103 mins

With his last big hit being The Sixth Sense made in 1999, Indian director M.Night Shyamalan’s latest production is a live action adaptation of the popular animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender which is a fascinating adventure fantasy that takes place in a mythical world comprising of four kingdoms, each representative of the elements-air, earth, fire and water.
   The story follows the adventures of a young Aang (played by newcomer Noah Ringer), the long lost Avatar, a spiritual figure that holds the world in balance.
   Aang is called upon by two members of the Water tribe, Katara (Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Jackson Rathbone from the Twilight Trilogy) to stop the Fire realm from enslaving the Water, Earth and Air kingdoms.
   Assisted by his new-found friends, Katara and Sokka, Aang must first learn to control all the elements but finds himself pursued by Prince Zuko (Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire).
   Zuko is on a quest to find the Avatar and bring him as a prisoner to his father, the Fire Lord Ozai (played by NZ actor Cliff Curtis from Crossing Over).
   Even though the script (written for the screen by Shyamalan) appears complex in parts, it is compensated to some extent by the combination of some good action sequences, wonderful settings and special effects that still makes this movie an entertaining experience for both young and old alike.
   Planned as the first in a trilogy series it is hoped that the sequels remove some of the complexity shown in the storyline and offer more insight into each of the major characters, especially the enigmatic character of Avatar, whose portrayal by Ringer was enjoyable to watch.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps

DVD
When in Rome
   Release date: October
   Director: Mark Steven Johnson, Touchstone Pictures, Rated PG, 91 mins

Disney’s just released DVD is a delightful romantic comedy with the theme that is reminiscent of that 1954 movie classic Three Coins in the Fountain.
   When in Rome stars Kristen Bell (Couple’s Retreat) as Beth, a young and ambitious New Yorker who is completely unlucky in love.
   In what is an interesting twist to the usual romantic comedy storyline, Beth is interested in pursuing both a career and a man at the same time.
   On a whirlwind trip to Rome to attend her younger sister’s wedding she meets Nick (Josh Duhamel from Transformers) who she is later disappointed in.
   She then impulsively steals some coins from the famous Fountain of Love and chaos ensues when Beth returns home to find at least four men chasing her for her affections – one of them being the wonderful Danny DeVito.
   Bell is just hilarious as the often awkward Beth, and pulls off the wonderful chemistry between Beth and Nick with ease.
   And of course what would this movie be like without the appearance (though brief) of the legendary Anjelica Huston as Beth’s boss Celeste.
   This Disney DVD which includes such extras as bloopers etc is certainly a ‘chick flick’ that some female viewers may wish to have in their DVD collection.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps

DVD
Beauty and the Beast
   Release date: October
   Director: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, Walt Disney Pictures, Rated G, 91 mins

One of Disney’s greatest classics and most loved movies is finally being released from the Disney Vault as a Special 2 Disc Diamond Edition and in a Blu-ray Value Pack.
   Beauty and the Beast is a Disney masterpiece and tells the story of Belle (voiced by stage actress Paige O’Hara) who lives in a French village and dreams of adventures afar while deflecting the advances of Gaston (voiced by Richard White).
   Not far from the town and through a dark forest lives a young prince in a castle who has been trapped under a spell from an enchantress who transformed him into a Beast (voiced by Bobby Benson) after showing no kindness in his heart.
   The spell has also transformed the entire castle and servants into animated objects forcing the cruel Beast to live in exile.
   In order to remove the curse the Beast must discover a true love who will return his affection before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose.
   Whilst traveling through the forest one day, Belle’s father stumbles upon the castle and is imprisoned by the Beast.
   Worried for her father’s safety, Belle goes to his rescue offering herself up in return for his freedom.
   With a little help from the castle’s enchanted staff, Belle soon sees beneath the Beast’s exterior and soon discovers the heart and soul of a loving prince.
   Both of Disney’s Special 2 Disc Diamond DVD Edition and Blu-ray Value Pack are truly outstanding with exceptional quality of visual presentation and a crisp soundtrack.
   The unforgettable animation and songs blend extremely well with the action, the charming development of each character as well as the beautiful chemistry between ‘Beauty’ and the ‘Beast’.
   Of course, one cannot overlook the extraordinary collection of bonus features that have been added to both formats, making this a definite must to own in any DVD home collection.
VIC'S VERDICT:       5 Rubber Stamps

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