Was it that bad? It was.
I'll make an attempt at giving you the plot: Based on a very successful Nickelodeon animated TV series, M.Night Shyamalan and team have produced this extravagantly staged live action film as a massive sci-fi venture.
Seems there are four nations on a planet - Air, Water, Earth, Fire - with the Fire baddies at war with the other three. There is supposed to be an all governing Avatar who might have died, but, ah, no, he's there all right, in the guise of a cute little Asian-type kid, Aang (Noah Ringer), who gets into the fray, teaming up with a Waterbender & her brother to use all his power to manipulate all four elements and restore peace.
The Airbender? He's in there somewhere, but don't ask. I didn't stay through the entire 93-minutes to find out where. Oh, let other critics tell the rest:
- The picture is crammed with big-budget DGI - it seems determined to command our interest through sheer technological will.
- It gets old really fast.
- Ša plodding, aimless film that more than anything else I've seen this year all but screams for a 'do-over.'
- If you thought it was bad when M.Night Shyamalan was channeling Rod Serling, wait till you see him try to be George Lucas.
- The special effects never coalesce into a seamless whole, and the result is neither fish nor f owl, tactile nor virtual.
- There's no other way to say this: M.Night Shyamalan has completely lost it. The Last Airbender coud be his last movie. Yep, it's that bad.
- To be honest, the critic at the Minneapolis Star Tribune thought it was "Šone of the most visually luscious & exhilarating entertainments I have seen this year, full of giddy fireworks & kinetic pleasure."
If you feel you still must see it (as I sadly did), be sure to avoid it in muddied 3D; I'm told it's even worse that way. (Grade: D)