"The Last Airbender," based on the popular anime series, hit theaters this weekend, and the reviews haven't been pretty. Roger Ebert gave it half a star (for context, he gave "Transformers 2" a full star) and opened his review with the following:
"'The Last Airbender' is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented. The laws of chance suggest that something should have gone right. Not here."
Not only has it filled the critics with hatred, but there's something else the critics agree on: that this likely marks the end of M. Night Shyamalan's career. Shyamalan made his name with "The Sixth Sense," and his career's been on a downward trend ever since. His fourth major release, "The Village," was the first that raised some serious concerns with those who followed his career, "Lady In The Water" continued on that path, and "The Happening" left critics aghast with what they'd just seen. The path to redemption is looking a lot less clear after this one.
"A dull, boring, poorly acted, limply written and thoroughly unappealing fantasy, featuring bland characters locked in a struggle of no interest." - Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"This colossal folly, the fiasco of the summer of 2010 — gives us all a ringside seat at the sight of Mr. 'I See Dead People’s' career gurgling down the drain." - Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
Of course, that's not to say that people didn't go see the movie. In fact, it opened up at a strong number two, outperforming expectations and coming in second only to the "Twilight" juggernaut – it's projected to reach $70.5 million by the end of Monday. Shyamalan's name may no longer be associated with quality, but it could be associated with opening a picture to strong box office, which should keep him working for the foreseeable future.
Here's a video with fans of all ages giving their thoughts on "The Last Airbender" after being the first in line. (Hint: They weren't huge fans.)
(Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)