Other than The Last Airbender, it's hard to think of another movie that conveys so much urgency in every line of dialogue and yet goes absolutely nowhere. M. Night Shyamalan, fighting to reclaim his commercial viability, wrote, produced and directed this live-action adaptation of the hit Nickelodeon animated series, and while he successfully condensed an entire season into one feature-length film, he did so by packing it with only exposition, leaving no room for characters, story, or anything else. A soul-crushing disaster made worse by unnecessary, counterproductive 3-D, The Last Airbender fails to immediately qualify as the worst film of the summer only by virtue of the year's abundance of other candidates.

Noah Ringer plays Aang, the last airbender of the title, who is rescued from underwater imprisonment by the scruffy brother-sister team of Sokka (Jackson Rathbone) and Katara (Nicola Peltz). When his release is detected by Prince Zuko (Dev Patel), the disgraced son of the King of firebenders, Ozai (Cliff Curtis), he and his uncle Iroh (Shaun Toub) set off to capture him and deliver the boy to Zuko's father. In the meantime, the ambitious commander Zhao (Aasif Mandvi) also takes up pursuit of Aang, and decides that the best way to render the boy's burgeoning powers inert is to kill the spirits from which he – and the world's other benders of water and earth – derives power. Seeking refuge in a city of ice, Aang, Sokka and Katara train to master the power of waterbending in the hopes that they will be able to repel the attacking firebender hordes, and restore Aang's status as an Avatar, the world's all-powerful protector.