The Last Airbender review round-up

M Night Shyamalan’s big screen take on Avatar: The Last Airbender arrives. And the critics are not being kind…

This weekend, opening days after Twilight: Eclipse in the US, M Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender is arriving in cinemas (we don’t get it in the UK until Friday 13th August). And that means that the first reviews of the film – which is based on the show Avatar: The Last Airbender – have been coming through.

Sadly, the news has not been good. With few exceptions, the knives have been out for the film, which looks like it stands a very real chance of becoming the latest box office underperformer of the summer. The 3D element of the film has come in for particularly scathing criticism too.

There are some bright lights amongst the reviews, but here’s a cross section of what people have been saying. Unfortunately, it’s not pretty…

The Los Angeles Times

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“By specifically critical and broadly adult standards, this film is undoubtedly a disappointment, but it is disappointing in a way that its intended audience may not notice.”


“A soul-crushing disaster made worse by unnecessary, counterproductive 3-D, The Last Airbender fails to immediately qualify as the worst film of the summer only by virtue of the year’s abundance of other candidates.”

The New York Times

“An astute industry analyst of my acquaintance, who is 9 and an admirer of the Nickelodeon animated series on which the movie is based, offered a two-word diagnosis of its commercial prospects on the way out of the theater: “They’re screwed.””


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“M. Night Shyamalan’s THE LAST AIRBENDER is a hate crime against film lovers. No one should ever have to endure what I was unexpectedly put through yesterday afternoon watching this murky 3-D shitstorm of a movie that appears to have been shot through unflushed toilet bowl water, which, upon reflection, seems 100 percent appropriate.”

USA Today

“But for a kids’ movie, Airbender delivers on multiple levels. And if the series does continue, Shyamalan may find action a lot less frightening than the reaction to his horror of late.”

Entertainment Weekly

“Your eyes are sometimes dazzled, but you’re shut out of the spectacle because there’s no one of any force or charm or stature to identify with.”

Film School Rejects

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“As it turns out, the final result is shockingly bad. Not just because it doesn’t meet expectations, but because it wouldn’t meet even the lowest expectations. Nothing that was promised – whether it’s by the source material, the marketing or the pedigree of its director – is delivered in the final product”


It might just be a tough weekend at the box office for The Last Airbender. And where all this will leave a man who was once one of the most promising movie directors on the planet, M Night Shyamalan, remains to be seen…