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The Last Airbender (Music from the Motion Picture)

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Editors’ Notes

Contemporary horror-fantasy director M. Night Shyamalan’s big-budget adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon animated series generated some of the most pointed criticism of his career. But the film’s bold, heroic orchestral score by seven-time Shyamalan musical collaborator James Newton Howard stands up quite well on its own. Largely eschewing the impressionistic chimera of The Sixth Sense and his Academy Award-nominated score for The Village, the composer takes a more forceful, thematic approach that effectively forges the European orchestral classicism of John Williams with the contemporary synth-fusion bombast of Hans Zimmer. Yet despite some obvious genuflection to action film conventions, Newton Howard still manages to suffuse the soundtrack with his own distinctive textural intrigues and masterful sense of ethereal introspection.

Customer Reviews

From a JNH expert

As an avid listener of James' music for many years now, this work stands alone as being among his finest- a statement not to be taken lightly. This is an emotional and fluid score that is captivating and hauntingly beautiful.

James is one of the very few composers that continues to consistently raise the bar and reinvent himself. His symbiotic relationship with his musical language and the motion picture is sublime.

The score to The Last Airbender is stunning.

My My, Very Impressive

James Newton Howard, in my opinion, definitely knows how music can effect you. Whether it be in fearful music of Signs, the wonderous magical Neverland from Peter Pan, or the intense Batman Begins and Dark Knight, He KNOWS how to give his listeners indescribley pleasant goosebumps.

And The Last Airbender is no exception.

Although, speaking as a fan of the show, I was a little bit dissappointed that the Avatar Theme originally performed by The Track Team was not to be heard throught James Newton Howard's adaptation, I still loved the new theme that captures the war-time feel the show, and I'm sure the movie will have.

I was very satisfied.

But none the less, I love his work and I love the soundtrack.

A definate buy for James Newton Howard fans and appreciators.


I have been eagerly anticipating this score for almost a year now. When I saw it on itunes, i litterally jumped in my seat and I couldn't stop smiling for 20 minutes. My favorite TV show meets my favorite composer? WOO HOO!
Howard's approach to the series is very harmonic. He perfectly captures the percussion element of The Last Airbender. The score has no instantly recgognizable themes, which is one of Howard's strong points. He is very unlike Williams or Zimmer. I am happy that he was able to pull this off. He could have scewed this up so badly- I was beginning to doubt him. But fear not! JNH does it again! This is his second best score (Lady in the Water still has to win, no matter how much I love TLA) GET IT! If you like film music at all, this is a must have. If you like The Last Airbender AND film music, you should already have it!


Born: June 9, 1951 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Pianist, producer, and composer James Newton-Howard scored over 60 films beginning in the mid-'80s, including The Fugitive, The Prince of Tides, Pretty Woman, Glengarry Glen Ross, Batman Begins, Michael Clayton, and the Hunger Games series. Newton-Howard began taking classical piano lessons at the age of four, playing on a piano owned by his grandmother, who was the Pittsburgh Symphony's concertmaster and violinist during the 1930s and '40s. He went on to study at the USC School of Music and at the...
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