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The Last Airbender (2010)



Average Rating: 2.8/10
Reviews Counted: 175
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 164

The Last Airbender squanders its popular source material with incomprehensible plotting, horrible acting, and detached joyless direction.


Average Rating: 2.9/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 35

The Last Airbender squanders its popular source material with incomprehensible plotting, horrible acting, and detached joyless direction.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.7/5
User Ratings: 318,949

My Rating

Movie Info

Suspense auteur M. Night Shyamalan takes a break from crafting original screenplays to tell this tale of a 12-year-old boy (Noah Ringer) who provides the last hope for restoring harmony to a land consumed by chaos. In a world balanced on the four nations of Water, Earth, Fire, and Air, people known as the Waterbenders, Earthbenders, Firebenders, and Airbenders have mastered their native elements. Though the masters can each manipulate their native elements, the only one with the power to

Nov 16, 2010


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All Critics (175) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (164) | DVD (5)

One is bored and stupefied by what seems like an eternity of vacuous spectacle, cod-Buddhist tosh and clunking dialogue.

August 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[T]he film works so hard to explain its plot developments that it scarcely has any time left over to dramatize them. Exposition has not merely vanquished mimesis, it has burned its homes to the ground and sown salt in its fields.

July 2, 2010 Full Review Source: The Atlantic | Comments (8)
The Atlantic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Stilted dialogue, wooden acting, glacial pacing, cheesy special effects, tacky-looking sets, ugly costumes, poorly staged and edited action sequences, all shown in murky, cut-rate 3-D.

July 2, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Post | Comments (32)
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A dull, boring, poorly acted, limply written and thoroughly unappealing fantasy, featuring bland characters locked in a struggle of no interest.

July 1, 2010 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Comments (6)
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

M. Night Shyamalan's big-screen live-action version of the popular Nickelodeon animated TV series constitutes a form of Chinese water torture in which tin-ear line-readings take the place of drips.

July 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Please, Hollywood, if there's to be another Airbender movie, hand the job to some efficient hack, and not to a once mesmerizing artist who's lost his way.

July 1, 2010 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comments (73)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Shyamalan] works so much better with stories that are slower in development, where the atmosphere and tone drive the film, and where you're never quite sure what's going on (though not in the sense where you're completely confused, like this film).

September 25, 2012 Full Review Source:

This is a kid's movie that doesn't seem to realize that it's a kid's movie.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

Bad acting, overstuffed exposition and running time far too brief for the amount of plot shoved into it reduce The Last Airbender into parody of a big summer film as Shyamalan manages to hit every single fantasy film pothole.

March 29, 2011 Full Review Source:

The Last Airbender is swollen with portentous mumbo jumbo and realized in the most simplistic and mundane ways imaginable.

March 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

The Last Airbender is a horrific mish-mash of genres that follows a depressingly large number of dead ends in adapting its source material.

February 1, 2011 Full Review Source: What Culture | Comments (3)
What Culture

Kiddie-strength action scenes drag the film down, but the kiss of death is Shyamalan's gratuitous use of earth tones and the general dull, drab look of the film. ... drastically reduces the intensity of the 3-D effects

January 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Las Vegas CityLife | Comment (1)

An amateurish mess.

January 18, 2011 Full Review Source:

Is it a masterpiece? Oh god no, but... I'm intrigued to see where the next film goes...

January 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed | Comments (25)
Cinema Crazed

The constant references to 'benders' can't help but elicit sniggers from British audiences ... the plotting is stodgy, the dialogue stinks and the acting is wooden.

January 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Talk | Comment (1)
Movie Talk

As far as children's entertainment goes (and it is children's entertainment), it could be a lot worse.

December 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies | Comments (2)
Window to the Movies

The film is an unmitigated disaster, a putrid patchwork of the original series stitched together by wretched performances, bad creative decisions and a story that's all exposition, no depth.

December 4, 2010 Full Review Source: IGN DVD | Comment (1)

Mere words can barely describe the sheer inanity on display.

November 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat
Aisle Seat

It's a nice movie to look at, as long as you ignore the characters, plot, and action.

November 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Comments (2)
Movie Metropolis

It seems as if a good film could be made out of The Last Airbender's tale. But this is not that film.

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Quickflix | Comments (4)

The characters are completely uninvolving, the narrative incomprehensible for the most part, and the performances seem to reflect the bewilderment of the plot.

September 23, 2010 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia) | Comments (10)
At the Movies (Australia)

Why do the water tribe have so much difficulty defeating their fire opponents when the battle takes place on the ocean?

September 22, 2010 Full Review Source: | Comments (10)

Unspeakably bad dialogue delivered by excruciatingly bad actors in a plot so illogical and stupid it kills unicorns.

September 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Channel 10 Australia | Comments (8)

Shyamalan tells the story like a syndicated news journalist, reporting events with detached direction and lifeless, plot-driven screenwriting.

September 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Moviedex | Comment (1)

The worst part is undoubtedly the script, which clunks and groans all the way under the weight of it's own exposition - tragically and unforgivably, it fails to tell a good story.

September 19, 2010 Full Review Source: The Standard | Comments (3)

The mythology of the series doesn't translate well to the demands of concise big screen storytelling.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National | Comment (1)
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

Audience Reviews for The Last Airbender

Decent visuals do little to save this heavily butchered live-action rendition of the first season of Nickelodeon's "Avatar: The Last Airbender". Failing to capture the delightful humor and lovely character interactions of the show, M. Night Shyamalan's first tackle at a fantasy epic is hilariously amateurish at best (If you thought he was bad trying to be Rod Serling, then watch him attempt to be George Lucas). Not only is the plot incomprehensible to anybody who hasn't watched the show, but this piece of cinematic trash is filled to the brim with wooden acting (Dev Patel, Shaun Toub, and Aasif Mandvi are the only actors that emerge with any credibility), awkwardly stilted exposition-filled dialogue, thin characterization, and ineptly choreographed action sequences. The plot will have newcomers confused and the strange alterations from it's wonderful source material will anger established fans. My advice: stick to the TV show and forget about this heap of uninspired tripe.
December 15, 2013
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

Even as someone who is not familiar with the anime of the same name, you can tell that this has probably little to do with it. The set-up, world-building and idea behind this mythology is great and interesting. There are also a couple of genuinely fun action scenes, especially when the bender work with their elements. The main problem are the characters. Why do the main characters from the ice look Caucasian but everyone around them Inuit? Those two aren't much of actors anyway. Then there is this somewhat flat but often bratty main character. All that makes it hard to care for everything that's going on. The film is still entertaining and offers some nice special effects, gorgeous landscapes and cities. So the result is not as catastrophic as fans of the original may want to make you believe. It's not that great a movie on its own either, though. And the sequel the ending dares to hint at very strongly will probably never happen.
November 21, 2012

Super Reviewer

There are few films that I advocate destroying, but sadly this is one of them. Why you ask? Well...I fear that aliens might one day accidentally pick up the film's signal while some poor soul is streaming it into their home. Wielding a rare power to create water out of thin air, a power much needed by earth as it's rising population has made water a precious resource, they would end up seeing The Last Airbender and assume that it is representative of the Earth as a whole. Rather than being afraid of Earth's inhabitants, I fear they would be bored to tears by the story and in the end come to the decision that Earth is not worth saving.
So yeah...I have pretty good reason to want this film obliterated from the face of the planet.
October 3, 2012
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

    1. Uncle Iroh: Be careful what you wish for, Admiral. History is not always kind to its subjects.
    – Submitted by Rafael M (18 months ago)
    1. Azula: Trust is for fools! Fear is the only reliable way.
    – Submitted by Natasha B (18 months ago)
    1. The Dragon Spirit: Aang, use the ocean. Show them the power of Water.
    – Submitted by Dan Y (20 months ago)
    1. Fire Lord Ozai: You think, my son, is the soldier, these people are calling, The Blue Spirit?
    2. Fire Nation Soldier: Yes.
    – Submitted by Zach S (20 months ago)
    1. Princess Yue: It gave me life. Maybe I can give it back.
    – Submitted by Christian F (20 months ago)
    1. Uncle Iroh: [to Zhao] You stand alone. That has always been your greatest weakness.
    – Submitted by Jed G (21 months ago)
View all quotes (17)

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A Crowdsourced Film School Scholarship for M. Night Shyamalan
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Foreign Titles

  • Die Legende von Aang (DE)
  • The Last Airbender (UK)
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