Will ‘The Last Airbender’ Be the Next ‘Transformers 2’?

Published 5 years ago by , Updated July 2nd, 2010 at 4:25 pm,

last airbender transformers 2 Will The Last Airbender Be the Next Transformers 2?

Note: This is a speculative article, written BEFORE opening weekend box office numbers came in.

M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of The Last Airbender hits theaters this week and upon closer examination, I dare say that there’s a lot at stake in regards to how this film performs at the box office – and not just in regard to Shyamalan’s career as a filmmaker.

Early critical reaction is that The Last Airbender is THE big movie fiasco of 2010; however, if the film manages to connect with audiences this weekend, it would seem that we’ll have another Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on our hands, and that would be a development that could steer Hollywood further down a path that many avid movie fans do not want to follow.

If you haven’t read our official Screen Rant review of The Last Airbender, let me sum up our official standpoint on the movie: it’s terrible. If you’re thinking to yourself “Well Screen Rant, that’s just your opinion,” then I hate to be the bearer of bad news by pointing out that the collective critical opinion (pretty much across the board) is that this film is terrible. Just pop on over to Rotten Tomatoes and have a look for yourself, or check out our review HERE to learn about everything that went so terribly wrong with this movie.

So, by all critical accounts The Last Airbender is a failure that just might be the final nail in the coffin that M. Night Shymalan’s career is waiting to be buried in. The film should also be a sign to Hollywood that cheap (or non-existent) storytelling, flashy effects, and ticket price-hiking gimmicks like post-production 3D conversion are not enough to fool the masses and mask a glaring failure in movie making.

Noah Ringer in The Last Airbender Will The Last Airbender Be the Next Transformers 2?

However, we’ve been here before, haven’t we? Just a year ago around this time Revenge of the Fallen was widely blasted by critics for being the reeking pile of cinematic failure that it was. The critics who tore it apart then kicked back, content that they had done their job exposing a lame duck, and waited for the public to send a message to Michael Bay and Hollywood: “We expect better!

And then a strange (and terrible) thing happened: Transformers 2 made crazy amounts of money.

Revenge of the Fallen cost about $200 million to make (thank the HD IMAX sequences), and in a sane universe would’ve never been able to recoup that budget. However, the final tally of the film’s receipts counted out to about $400 million domestic and another $400 million overseas, culminating in $800+ million total.

Not only did the returns shock every critic (or critical movie goer) who thought Revenge of the Fallen was crap, those figures actually spawned a new faction of movie fans who were animate in their belief that a blockbuster need not have a deep story, big brains, character development or anything else beyond flashy effects, big action, hot eye-candy and the most juvenile sort of humor – so long as it was “entertaining,” of course. 😉

transformers 2 the twins mudflap skids Will The Last Airbender Be the Next Transformers 2?

Two guys who loved Revenge of the Fallen

This new fan-faction was quick to make its opinions heard, telling critics they had fallen out of touch with “average” movie fans, and even going so far as to suggest that if a movie like The Dark Knight (which was critically acclaimed) made $1 billion and Transformers 2 could still make $800 million, that there was little difference between a “smart” and “brainless” blockbuster. That debate is still raging in comment sections on our site a full year later.

If The Last Airbender blows away the box office competition over the July 4th weekend and somehow manages to generate a sizeable profit for itself, not only will advocates of the “big brainless fun blockbuster” have a new stock of ammo for their guns, Hollywood execs will have all the justification they need to keep peddling crap movies as if they’re gold – complete with shoddy gimmicks like 3D conversion and inflated ticket prices.

And don’t expect Inception to reverse that perception; if Last Airbender does well and Inception does well, that’s just further evidence that there’s little difference between smart and dumb blockbusters, right? (At least that’s what “brainless blockbuster” types will say.) But if Last Airbender does well and Inception’s brainy ideas fail to lure a mass audience… well… I don’t even want to think about that scenario.  frownie Will The Last Airbender Be the Next Transformers 2?

Inception production still 16 Will The Last Airbender Be the Next Transformers 2?

If Airbender does well the stakes for Inception will be sky-high

To all you movie fans (of every kind) out there: You need to pay attention to what happens at the box office this weekend. You may think I’m being dramatic (and drama IS my middle name), but mark my words: we’re currently standing at a fork in the path, and where movies go from here will be (in part) determined by what happens with The Last Airbender.

I know Shyamalan is probably in a bunker sweating bullets right about now, and Paramount (the studio behind both The Last Airbender and Transformers 2) is hoping and praying that lightning strikes twice. Should be interesting come next Tuesday, when the holiday box office receipts get tallied.

What do you think – will The Last Airbender be the 2010 Transformers 2, or is there no way the movie will be able overcome its glaring faults to claim box office glory? And how do you think Last Airbender and Inception will affect the debate over smart vs. brainless blockbusters started by Revenge of the Fallen and The Dark Knight?  Let us know how you feel in the comments.

The Last Airbender is currently in theaters.

Inception will be in theaters on July 16th.

Turn on a cable premium channel and you can waste 2.5 hours watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at your leisure.

Sources: Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Mojo

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  1. and the answer is…….. (drum roll…)

    Uh NO! TLAB (The Last Air Bender) just may be tagged The last Film MKS is allowed to Direct. I wanted so badly to love this film and after seing it I feel cheated as I did with the VILLAGE and The HAPPENING and so now its time for M Knight to do one last “The” act and that is the RETIREMENT walk.

    If he doesn’t leave soon he’ll make everyone so ticked they’ll quit forgiving him of his sins when they watch The Sixth Sense or Unbreakable.

    So M, if you’re reading this, please stop. Just say NO to directing. And please, get help.

  2. I think even though Transformers 2 was criticized heavily I reckon lots of peolple, like myself liked the first they had made pretty much made up their mind up about watchin the next at the cinema well before release.

    I think more and more people are flocking to the cinema, for great looking movies rather than for the content and meaning a movie might portray. 3D movies are not exactly helping the situation.

  3. This movie isn’t making 4x the money opening weekend. The Last Airbender is going to break even, making double over several months. Somehow that makes it as bad as Transformers 2? wow…

    • I don’t understand why people can’t get over the fact that movie reviews ARE just opinions. And it’s funny that the rule of commenting is “No profanity or personal attacks” because isn’t calling certain movies brainless calling every person that enjoyed seeing that movie brainless also. Think about that

    • I have no idea why all the bad review. I went into thsi movie thinking it was going to be bad. NOT AT ALL! It was a great movie and well done. For ref. my favorite movies are Star Wars movies, Avatar, etc and while not that good it was 85% as good as those IMO.

      • I agree that the movie was pretty good. But after watching the cartoons, I saw a lot of things that could have been better.

  4. I’m actually offender comparing a movie as great as The Last Airbender to a steaming pile of doo-doo that is Transformers 2. The Last Airbender is only 90 minutes long. All you haters try to do better, I dare you.

  5. Why does everybody hate Transformers 2? I personally thought that the only bad part about it was Megen Fox’s horrible acting. Not even her mediocre looks (I don’t think she’s that hot) could make her believable in that movie. This just my opinion. I just don’t understand why everyone hates it.

  6. Its seems like everyone wants shyamadouche to stop making movies. I love the series, but I have not made up my mind about the film. Yes the CGI was awesome, yes there potential to the story he told. Yes the acting was terrible, but come on! You can only act so well. If the material you have sucks it sucks. Maybe shyamashit should have not written it. Its seems like he wants to do it all. I thought the biggest problem in the film was the dialogue. I think that if he is lucky enough to make the second or third films, he should not write them. To say its the worst movie ever made is a bit much (Xanadu or Xanadon’t). Being a fan of the series I really want to see Ba Sing Se and the Western Air Temple… To me bashing Shyamalan is like that south park episode where they bash Britney Spears. Yes I watch South Park…


  7. Rotten Tomatoes is far from being a standard for accurate critique. In fact, I don’t even go there and don’t personally know of anyone who does.

    In spite of the negative reviews here and elsewhere I actually liked Fallen as did many others evident in the fact that it’s made over 4 times it’s production budget and the backlash against Vic for his scathing review of the film. (Love ya man!)
    Yes I wanted Fox to get killed, yes I hated John ‘Jar Jar’ Turturro, etc.

    Last Airbender looks just-plain-stupid. Based on that and not Rotten Tomatoes I’m going to pass.

  8. Well, I’m ready to see ‘The Last Airbender’ this week. I want to like it, but judging from what people are saying, I may just want to join the crowd. I’m hoping to give it at least a 3 star review. I hate to be a hater. My fingers are crossed.

  9. The Last Airbender is nice movie. I enjoyed it. I see so much of negative hate reviews from critics about movie, even I saw in my local news paper(some stupid local column writer, didn’t even seen movie and had hate review one day before movie release).

  10. Allen take a few minutes about what you said.

    Saying a movie is brainless is just that. Your saying the movie doesn’t require any thought. The movie it’s self is brainless not the people who watch it. Your logic makes no sense by your definition saying “I dint like this film” is saying you don’t like people who like the film. Just because you are a movie critic doesn’t make you a people critic. Transformers 2 was a brainless crude and crappy movie. That doesn’t mean the people who liked it are any of those things they just don’t have a problem with those things.

  11. I have to say, I can’t believe so many people are actually sticking up for this movie. The Last Airbender is easily the worst movie I have seen in years. I honestly did not feel like there were any redeemable qualities with the movie. I seriously doubt (or…hope) that it will recoup its budget. And I hope they let the trilogy die here. I love the show, and would absolutely love to see it on the big screen — but not like this.

    As for comparing it to Transformers 2 — I think that’s being unfair to Transformers 2. I disliked Transformers 2 just as much as the next person, but it was a properly made movie. The story sucked, the script sucked, the acting sucked, but it made sense and was easy to follow, and I wasn’t bored watching it. I didn’t love it…I didn’t even like it, but I wasn’t bored. And the shots were composed well…it actually felt like a finished film. And the special effects were fantastic.

    The Last Airbender was a straight up mess and looked like it was made by someone who’s never made a movie before. I wasn’t even impressed with the special effects, which seems to be the only thing anyone likes. Honestly, I could write an entire novel on everything the movie does wrong. The structure was bad, dialogue bad, acting bad, choice of shots and shooting style were bad, there was literally absolutely nothing good about this film. It cannot possibly do well at the box office.

    • “I honestly did not feel like there were any redeemable qualities with the movie. ”

      Momo. 😀 I thought Momo was done very well…..

    • Rebutal: While not the best movie I ahve seen in 5 years it was in my top 5. Love the cartoon and the movie. I will be spending the $50 for my family of 4 to go see Airbender #2 if its made…

  12. You know what the generalization of an opinion is called? A fascist strategy. A movie can be many things, but it can’t be bad. That’s just something we project onto it.

  13. Actually, Transformers 2 was pretty terrible, but I actually hold it in pretty high regard because it had a few redeeming aspects…

    1. Megatron
    2. Megatron
    3. Megatron
    4. Megatron
    5. Megatron
    6. Giant transforming robot battles
    7. Jetfire

  14. Now, insulting moviegoers is the mistake film critics make. If the critic did not like it, but everyone else does, then they go into the corner of the playground and call the other kids mean names, just because they feel left-out. CRITICS GET OVER YOURSELVES!

    People enjoy films, and at the end of the day, it’s the ticket buyer who is the most important critic. His/Her money is spent on what they ENJOY.

    So, people, SPEND MONEY ON WHAT YOU ENJOY, and don’t let those sour kids in the corner (critics) ruin ALL OUR FUN!

  15. Uhh Oly Everyone else did not enjoy this. It’s very clear that it was a very select few amount of people that liked it. The film is going to just barely make it’s budget and that’s only because it had a decent opening. Which meant there was a lot of interest in it, but it’s clear from the massive second week drop that the film was not well liked. You can visit plenty of web sites where regular movie going non critics rate the film as awful. So lets end the childish anti critic rants and be honest this is a bad film or at least most people consider it to be and only a select few actually loved it.

  16. Well, with the benefit of hindsight it doesn’t look like this movie will be able to duplicate Revenge of the Fallen’s box office accomplishments, but it was somewhat predictable. Unlike Fallen, this movie was not only disliked or hated by critics across the board but significant parts of what should have constituted its hardcore fanbase disliked or hated it as well. It also lacked most, if not all, of the redeeming values to fans that made Fallen such a box office success.

    Unlike Fallen it had the benefit of a holiday weekend release for its opening weekend. It also had the benefit of reaping the patronage of many many moviegoers that wanted to see Twilight instead but could not get tickets but still wanted to see a “blockbuster” movie over the long weekend. There is also the fact that ticket prices were raised in many of the theater’s since the time when Fallen was released. Even with these advantages, Airbender still failed to gross more than 70.5 million dollars on its first 5 days, which pales in comparison to Fallen’s 200 million dollars 5 day opening performance.

    Ticket sales already plummeted to less than 17 million last week and with the opening of the infinitely superior Inception this weekend and the mid week release of Sorcerer’s Apprentice you can expect ticket sales to plummet even more. It’s quite possible that this movie may never recoup the over 280 million dollars that Paramount invested in it even after international distribution runs are complete and DVD’s are released.

  17. Well. I liked the last airbender, I hated Transformers 2, and I found Inception wasn’t the masterpiece they said. Sorry for don’t follow this law you are telling us about Last Airbender/Transformers and brainless blockbusters. I loved the Dark knight, but people say it is not so good. I don’t judge them like a new kind of people on earth making the end of cinema coming. Sorry but judging like you do sucks a little bit.

    • @Lced

      Come on. Is this some kind of Forums equivelant of Punk’d? You do realize no one belies you. We all having varying tastes in films and while some are more brash towards others about havig a different take on some film your above comment looks like osmething from “oppisite world” or something like that.

      Is this really Ashton Kucher????

  18. smart vs. brainless blockbusters star????? who can decide that?? its very harsh comments>>>> although acting and execution wise not so detailed compared to inception but the overall its entertaining. i like the simplicity of the storyline contrary to complexity for inception. story wise it is a movie that can be enjoyed by everyone. i think m shamayalan want everyone from kids to adults to enjoyed the movie. That the spirit of the movie that its trying to conveyed. i support this movie and definitely will watch the installments…

    • You should watch and support the cartoon, it’s appeal to a wide ranged audience is far superior to this movie. The cartoon shows you more about the human experiene and has intellectual dialogue. In fact the characters from the cartoon seem more real than any charater from the movie. The cartoon has so much respect for its source material that fueled it’s mythology and respect for other cultures. M Night’s movie on the other hand is a total disrespect to its source material that gave it life and attemps to “respect culture” by putting ethnic people in the background of the main “good guys” that are caucasian. Shyamalan changes characters names from the cartoon which shows that he doesn’t respect the work of others. The creators of the show worked for six years with the animation and just because M Night wanted, he changed names and tried to justify it by saying that they were more Asian(the entire continent) sounding. He never specifies which part of Asia he got the name pronunciations from but, the creators of the show happily tell everyone that the show is heavily based on eastern Asian culture.

      Please watch the show and do a little reasearch on Night, he’s a arrogant fool who won’t listen to constructive critism. He is so full of himself like the Fire Nation in the show, that even when he is wrong he thinks he is right. The man had no respect for what Mike and Bryan created plus worked so hard to make amazing ! This is the truth and you know it.

  19. Numbers don’t lie but just because a movie makes good money doesn’t mean that it’s good. Transformer 2 was really bad but, at least you got great visuals. The Last Airbender effects on the other hand are mediocre and don’t grab your attention at all. The film doesn’t apeal to anyone not even kids it’s just a bunch of randomness and nothing happens. Also it’s not performing well, it’s barely making it’s production cost back and 85 to 90 percent of the viewers hate it. What we need to realize is that Avatar The Last Airbender was a cartoon with so much dept and human emotion. Transformers even the cartoon was for selling more toys and doesn’t have much dept. The movie was based off such rich material and all of it was stripped and is why this movie will not be as successful as Revenge of the Fallen.