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Unbreakable II/The M Night General Thread

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Well... Couldn't find a general M. Night thread... Just separate threads for his movies.

Instead of creating a new thread, I figured I'd revive this one since Unbreakable II continues to churn through the rumor mill...

For some reason, I was thinking about the Fall of M. Night during my commute.  What went wrong?

So I started weighing his movies, and I realized that his true high point -- Unbreakable -- is the answer to everything.  To a lesser degree, The Village is also a high point for him.

Sixth Sense is an old story.  Ghosts who don't know it is a storyline we've seen since the days of the Hammer movies. He just brought the story into the mainstream in what was probably a chance perfect Hollywood storm -- not the least element of which was Willis against the best child actor to come along in ages.

What occurred to me was that M. Night is a closet sci-fi geek.  A sort of SIlver Age modernist sci-fi.  No ships or razzle dazzle, but Stranger in a Strange Land stuff. The sci-fi/fantasy among us.  Twilight Zone stuff, Body Snatchers, and so on.

We get this in his two best movies.  Unbreakable is a straight up superhero origin story... But it's not like most superhero origin stories.  There's a twist to it. A very vague subtext that there's a scientific explanation. At least, there is with the villain, who seeks out his opposite based not on any sort of supernatural superstition but, instead, an assumption that there's always some sort of universal balance at work.

The Village is the tried and true multi-generational space ark story, which we've seen over and over again in just about every sci-fi show. In this case, it's an impossible Earth-bound setting funded by gajillionaires. A sealed off utopia patrolled by a private police force and somehow enforcing a no-fly zone.

The important aspect of both movies is that they share something vital with the old classic Silver Age sci-fi.  They leave you wanting more, they leave you thinking about what happens next.  But they don't end on cliffhangers that demand sequels. They simply kick off your imagination. Willis embraces his superhero role, and Mr. Glass lives on in prison like all great villains.  The Village still exists, is still enforced, and now can become a more honestly embraced utopia...or not.

Thank you for validating my opinion that The Village is a great movie.  I am one of the only people I know who really enjoyed it.

I don't know where this guy went wrong either.  I feel like he's the Stephen King of movies.  King is obviously a lot more prolific, but when you read his later stuff it's like the guy's in love with his own writing.  I sort of feel the same way about a lot of M. Night's movies.  So much so that I didn't even see films like Signs, Lady in the Water or Airbender... I didn't even have the desire to.

I wish he'd just do a stupid comedy or something that totally breaks his mold so he can get a fresh start.

This was my laugh for the day:

--- Quote ---Tired of M. Night Shyamalan‘s recent cinematic failures like Devil and Razzie Worst Picture winner The Last Airbender? Do you yearn for the days of such masterful suspense thrillers as Signs? If you’ve got a dollar to spare, you could help M. Night School in sending the director back to his alma mater, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

This cheeky but serious website seeks to raise $150,000 to cover Shyamalan’s tuition and ensure that he’ll relearn the tenets of filmmaking. They’re currently at $147.62 and hope to have the money collected before Shyamalan begins principal photography on his new project 1000 A.E., starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith.

The creators will present the check to Shyamalan in-person and videotape the whole thing. They say that if he refuses, they’ll use the money to set up a scholarship in his name; invite young filmmakers to submit their work to a small film festival they’ll hold; and send “the next Tarantino” to Tisch instead.

Whether or not you want to donate a buck (you do), check out the site; it’s got some hilarious Easter eggs, plus an online shop where you can buy an “I Helped M. Night” T-shirt or the Plot Twist Package. That’ll knock ‘em dead at your next house party.
--- End quote ---

This fascinating...

Discussing the faked 2004 documentary fiasco.

I decided to revisit the early M. Night collection... Does his first trilogy of movies hold up? Sadly, I don't think so. Sixth Sense has not aged well... Though that may be because it's been copies so many times it's just mind-numbing to watch now.

Unbreakable remains the best of the first three movies, but it, too, seems to have suffered over the years. Where once it was a unique take on the superhero genre, it also comes from a moment when the genre was an abysmal embarrassment.

The Village, all these years later, is simply agonizing and so full of holes that you're too distracted to enjoy the third act. For at least 20 years, no one has ever tried to break into a gigantic 100 square mile wildlife refuge that only has two inept guards? The no-fly zone has been enforced all that time AND kept secret despite the fact that the people paid off were politicians who would eventually leave office? The reveal could have been so much better. It, weirdly, plays a very small part -- like it wants to be the shocker reveal from the Sixth Sense, or the drawing of the lines at the end of Unbreakable... But, instead, the reveal is more fascinating than the previous 90 minutes and you find yourself wishing the movie was told from the viewpoint of folks outside the Village... Likewise, the movie fails to play with the themes. We're asking the whole way through -- is it set in a different period? Was there some sort of apocalypse? These themes could have been much more playfully bandied about, but they're not. It's also a classic writing mistake where the elders -- even alone -- seem to be ignorant of the truth until the script demands that they talk about the truth.

I used to defend The Village. Now... I don't think so.


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