Year-end summary time
The 15 worst films of 2010
Artistically and critically speaking, there was no bigger fiasco this year than The Last Airbender, M. Night Shyamalan’s first foray into big-budget special-effects action-adventure. Clumsily adapting the entire first season of a terrific Nickelodeon animated series into a 103-minute live-action feature, Shyamalan coped with his time crunch by having the characters dully, dutifully explain everything they’re thinking, planning, or feeling. Flat acting and stiff directing don’t help matters, nor does the overcrowded plot; treating his world as something the characters have to constantly define for each other makes his fantasy world feel even more ludicrous and unreal. And then there’s the disastrous 3-D conversion, which make the visuals so dark and muddy that even the special effects couldn’t serve as a sop for the fans. Laughable where it’s supposed to be serious and depressing where it’s supposed to be comedic, The Last Airbender was a punchline for much of 2010—again, artistically and critically speaking. Financially, it made back its money, and Shyamalan has sketched out a sequel that may or may not happen. If it does, at least this time, viewers will go in forewarned, and with a slot ready and waiting for the worst films of 2011 or 2012.