While "The Last Airbender" did well at the box office, taking in almost $70 million over the July 4 weekend, it failed to impress the critics, managing an aggregate rating of just 20 at Meta Critic. That poor score is the fourth lowest of the year and ranks as the worst of all movies in current release.
M. Night Shyamalan pulled triple duty on this Paramount picture with credits for writing, directing and producing this live-action big-screen version of the animated TV series "Avatar: The Last Airbender."
While several leading critics including Scott Bowles (USA Today) and Owen Gleiberman (Entertainment Weekly) gave "The Last Airbender" a passing grade, 27 of the 32 reviewers judged it a failure. And six of those -- including Lou Lumenick (New York Post) and Joe Morgenstern (Wall Street Journal) -- rated it an absolute zero.
Those rascals over at the Razzies have been forecasting the awards potential of "The Last Airbender" for months. The forum post devoted to this misfire is at four pages and counting with many posters touting it for worst picture and director while others extol the work of supporting player Dev Patel, who starred in the 2008 best picture champ, "Slumdog Millionaire."
Back in 1999, Shyamalan reaped Oscar bids for writing and directing best picture nominee "The Sixth Sense." However, his more recent efforts have been lambasted by the critics and lampooned by the Razzies. The 2006 fable "Lady in the Water" won Shyamalan two of its four bids -- worst director and worst supporting actor -- although "Basic Instinct 2" bested it for worst picture and screenplay. Two years ago Shyamalan returned to the thriller genre with "The Happening," which couldn't even win over the Razzies, losing its three of its four races to "The Love Guru" (worst picture, actor, screenplay), while notorious schlockmeister Uwe Boll took the worst director award.
Photo: "The Last Airbender" poster. Credit: Paramount.