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(2010), PG [Lite 13-PG*] (1hr 34min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
June 11, 2011
June 12, 2011

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2010), PG [Lite 13-PG*] ... neither the use nor the user of the "magic" makes it unholy or holy.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, Blinding Edge Picture, The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Distribution (US): Paramount Home Entertainment
Director(s): M. Night Shyamalan
Producer(s): M. Night Shyamalan, Sam Mercer, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Scott Aversano, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Novel: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
Cinematography/Camera: Andrew Lesnie
Music: James Newton Howard
Film Editing: Conrad Buff
Casting: Douglas Aibel
Production Design: Philip Messina
Viewed on Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment DVD

The Last Airbender is full of acts and deeds of unholy control of the elements: air; water; earth; fire for both offensive and defensive purposes. But neither the use nor the user of the "magic" makes it holy or unholy. The source of the "magic" does. Not in one case was anything said about the powers portrayed being from God. And if the powers are not from God ... I am going to take a moment to "sermonize" on that.

If Jesus had thrown Himself off the pinnacle at Satan's tease would the angels in Matt. 4:5-6, who would have lifted Him up from being dashed on the rocks, have sinned with their "magic?" Did Jesus sin as He used His "magic" to cast out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead, make the blind see and the lame walk? There is a great deal of difference between the "magic" of witchcraft and sorcery and "magic" from God. Angels and angel-possessed people use holy power from God. Witches, wizards, sorcerers. etc. use power from Satan which makes it unholy, even if it is called "white magic." [Isa. 5:20] Even if unholy magic is used for good, it is still serving evil. Again, the source of the power determines the holiness or unholiness of it, not the user or the use. And to practice, experiment with, dabble in or even embrace unholy magic (or "magik" to some) is sinful. [Deut. 18:10 - 11, Rev. 21:8]

While the film content earned perfect 100 out of 100 area score in the Sexual Immorality (S) and Drugs/Alcohol (D) investigation areas, a G-equivalent area score in Murder/Suicide (M) and a PG-equivalent area score in Impudence/Hate (I), the content in Wanton Violence/Crime (W) and Offense to God (O) each earned hard R-equivalent area scores. As usual, the R-equivalent area scores are not because of particularly invasive examples of assault on morality and decency but because of the sheer number of examples. For more information in this technique of loading the content of a film with tons of "lesser" examples of assault on morality and decency to get the same "feel" of a film with more extreme examples of assault, visit our CAP Rule of 1000 publication.

I am not going to try to address the controversies of overtones of racism in this film. I did not view it to seek these properties and cannot address them. I can say that I didn't notice anything that appears to be racist.

In this fantasy world, four tribes exist, one for each of the four elements: air, water, earth and fire. Each tribe has shamans who can manipulate or "bend" the tribe's element; specifically an airbender, a waterbender, an earthbender and a firebender. Only one individual in the "world" can "bend" all four elements - the Avatar.

The last Avatar has been missing for over 100 years ... until the opening of the show when young Aang (Noah Ringer) resurfaces from an icy grave. Sokka (Jackson Rathbone) and Katara (Nicola Peltz) find Aang and take him to their village of the water tribe.

Before the water world people can return Aang to his people, fire tribe rebel prince Zuko (Dev Patel) leads an attack on the water tribe. Zuko has been ousted as prince by his father, the fire lord (Cliff Curtis) and cannot resume being prince until Zuko captures the Avatar and brings the Avatar to his father. Zuko senses that Aang is the next Avatar and kidnaps him to return with him to his father. But Aang has powers. Aang is captive but not for long. The story continues built around Zuko continuing to try to capture Aang and taking Aang to his father so Zuko can be reinstated as the prince. But fire commander Zhao (Aasif Mandyl) is competition for Zuko in his quest to recapture the Avatar.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 8 out of 100
Several sequences of action violence of varying intensities such as battles with deaths freckled the program. Aang was held hostage with a sword to his head. He was also kidnapped in another section of the film.

Again I feel led to share with you that God warns violence is "catching." [Prov. 16:29] By now this verse is probably beginning to sound like a broken record but the wisdom in it is not cheapened by my frequent reference to it. God reveals that violence can lead "into the way that is not good." And man has decided to chime in on God's Wisdom by revealing that "viewing violence may lead to real life violence."

Impudence/Hate (I) - 75 out of 100
Several lies were somewhat expensive to the Impudence/Hate area score but so was the tale of a father (the fire lord) intentionally burning the face of his son (Zuko). Aang used being upset as an excuse to run away.

About the lying, God is adamant about lying. He warns of the [unforgiven] liar not being allowed into Heaven. And He makes no distinction between bald-faced lies and little white lies. [Rev. 21:8, Rev. 22:15, Prov. 19:5] He even lumps the liar in with the abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers and idolaters. Sounds quite as though He is not happy with lying. Not happy at all.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 100 out of 100
There is absolutely nothing to even approach any immoral sexual behavior or display in the entire 94 minutes of programming.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 100 out of 100
Neither is there a single example of consumption or possession of illegal drugs, any tobacco use or abuse of prescriptions drugs anywhere in the whole show.

Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
But this section found a ton of unholy use of "magic" plus communicating with "sprits" [Deut. 18:9 - 12], portrayal of control by the spirit world, unnatural physical abilities and more.

No matter how "sanitized" the spiritism might be in this film, having anything to do with the spirit world (the dead) is not something to toy with.

Murder/Suicide (M) - 93 out of 100
One young girl committed suicide as a sacrifice to restore a spirit. Oh, how noble. And how influential such a noble act might be. Let us pray your young daughter does not encounter some condition (or manufacture one from a like-sounding situation) to lead her to emulate the suicide demonstrated in this film. It happens, folks. Romeo and Juliet has caused suicides. Modern songs have likewise caused suicides. [Ex. 20:13]


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Matt. 4:5 - 6 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
  • Isa. 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers [all forms of evil/magic to force or do harm], and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Rev. 22:15 Outside [of Heaven] are the dogs [animals], those [unforgiven] who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
  • Prov. 19:5 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.
  • Deut. 18:9 - 12 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
      - abominations [to`ebah {to-ay-baw'}: a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable; wickedness]
      - divination [qecem {keh'-sem}: witchcraft, false prophets]
      - observer of times [anan {aw-nan'}: soothsayer, sorceress, enchanter (one who practices divination), to make appear, control weather, conjurer, spiritism, unholy magic]
      - witch [kashaph {kaw-shaf'}: sorcerer, soceress, one who practices unholy magic]
      - charmer [chabar {khaw-bar'}: to unite, join, bind together with charms (voodoo)]
      - consulter with familiar spirits [owb {obe}: necromancer, one who evokes/communicates with the dead; ghost, spirit of a dead one; one who has a familiar spirit]
      - wizard [yidd@`oniy {yid-deh-o-nee'}: one who has a familiar spirit; a familiar spirit; soothsayer; necromancer] [God sounds so serious about embracing evil that it seems He would include embracing evil even in and as entertainment since it has been proven in so many ways that entertainment can and does influence deeply and contaminate values. Even God agrees with that. (see 1 Cor. 15:33).]
  • Ex. 20:13 Thou shalt not kill. (NIV) You shall not murder. ["Kill" is ratsach {raw-tsakh'}: murder, slay, premeditated, to assassinate. Deut. 5:17 repeats this Commandment. By the way, suicide is murder of the self.]
  • Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment [krisis: accusation, trial]: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [senseless, empty headed: a term of reproach among Jews at the time of Christ], shall be in danger of the council [any session or assembly or people deliberating or adjudicating]: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool [moros: impious, godless], shall be in danger of hell fire.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    The Last Airbender (2010) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 8 out of 100
  • ice breaking peril
  • unnatural shore crashing up through ice projecting light beam upward with human inside it
  • fantasy beasts, repeatedly
  • child abduction
  • field of skeletons
  • martial arts violence, repeatedly
  • planning offensive assault
  • young boy in chains
  • three deaths to rescue boy
  • action violence, repeatedly, of varying intensities
  • sword to young boy's head
  • attempted murder by explosion
  • defensive killing by drowning

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 75 out of 100
  • massive tattoos
  • using being upset to excuse running away
  • lying, repeatedly
  • burning of son by father (burning unseen)
  • selling out on young boy for money

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
  • into scenes of controlling elements by unholy "magic"
  • communicating with spirits and/or the spirit world, repeatedly
  • unholy control of air, earth, fire and water, frequent
  • boy alive from inside ice sphere
  • portrayal of control of the spirit world
  • unnatural physical abilities
  • glowing eyes and tattoo tracks, repeatedly
  • portrayal of reincarnation, repeatedly
  • "Fools" [Matt. 5:22]
  • practice of spiritism throughout

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 93 out of 100
  • suicide, as a sacrifice

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
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    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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