First up, no sniggering about lines such as, “I knew you were a Bender.” OK, basic premise: there are Air, Fire, Earth and Water races in the world, and in each group are people who can manipulate those elements. Only one person can manipulate all four: the Avatar, who keeps the world in balance. Trouble is, he got himself frozen in ice 100 years ago as a kid, having learnt how to ‘bend’ only air, and the world has gone to poo in the meantime, with the Fire Nation toasting all the others. Finally defrosted, the Avatar must up his skillset and… well, you know the rest.
This is your basic quest movie, done quite badly. M. Night Shyamalan wrote, produced and directed it, so let’s blame him. Monsieur Night: in a film called The Last Airbender, the guy with the title role should be the protagonist, OK? And an active one, while you’re at it. And if you’re going to do voice-overs, don’t have the narrator describing exactly what’s happening on screen. Structural flaws, bland performances and on-the-nose dialogue top off this great lesson in how not to do Star Wars. Ostensibly the first in a trilogy, this could indeed be the last Airbender film. 4/10