C'MON HOLLYWOOD: Don't give up on Shyamalan yet!

...don't give up on Shyamalan yet!
by J.A. Hamilton

Drinking at The Blue Door with co-workers the other night, the topic of movies came up (as it always does) and my buddy Adam started listing what he felt were the best movie twists of all time. It was by no means a long list, but was summed up with his favorite being Edward Norton’s character turn in PRIMAL FEAR and then second favorite being that Bruce Willis was actually dead in THE SIXTH SENSE. I agreed with both choices and it got me thinking about M. Night Shyamalan. Shyamalan is now a household name, but his genius when it comes to films is split down the middle for most people (and in some cases resting more on the negative side). With a slew of films on the horizon, I’m hoping he can turn that around.

"The f*ck you mean I'M DEAD, kid!?"

In all fairness, they can’t all be gems. THE SIXTH SENSE was a phenomenal flick and after discovering the “secret”, going back through a second and third time was all the better as you picked up on the telltale signs you originally missed. UNBREAKABLE was fun for what it was, giving the world of comic book super heroes and villains an original new outlet to roll with. And then there was SIGNS, a clever and well written approach to alien invasions. Sure, I still think the aliens should kill their scouts as the whole water issue should have been addressed long before they decided to invade, but the overall idea behind it was ironically entertaining.

"Like my Joker suit, got it for fifty bucks on eBay last week."

Now for the other side of the coin. THE VILLAGE started out cool enough, I was totally digging the idea of monsters in the woods keeping them cut off from society, but alas, the second half of the film fell flat as the supposed “slow” kid turned villain and exposed the whole plot for shit. LADY IN THE WATER also had a promising premise but confused itself (and the audience) somewhere along the line taking the film in a totally different direction. I enjoyed THE HAPPENING, but before you start throwing tomatoes let me elaborate by saying I liked the idea behind it (Mother Nature deciding to roflstomp us in the junk), and although the R rating helped the cause, it was overshadowed by a poor story, awful writing and ridiculous characters. I still feel the idea was sound, just poorly executed.

Trees are funny.

With those films in mind (and this is simply my opinion), Shyamalan is three hits and three misses or again, walking that split line down the middle. THE LAST AIRBENDER looks interesting enough, though we’ve only gotten a teaser and a short Super Bowl add to wet our lips with to date. I’ve heard mixed theories behind it, but from what I can see, this flick not only seems out of the norm for Shyamalan but also seems like the perfect vehicle for a comeback if done properly. Shyamalan is good at combining intrigue, action, fantasy and thrills so it’s not a question of his ability to direct or write per say as he’s clearly shown he can do so, but my belief is that he’s lost his edge (like so many people in this business do once they’re established) and needs to start carrying the fire once again.

Looks like The Golden Child with cooler magic and a staff.

If there’s one thing I can honestly say about Hollywood it’s that there is always opportunity for reinvention. Countless actors have done it, as have many directors. There’s no reason to count Shyamalan out at this point as three out of six ain’t bad. If we want to look past THE LAST AIRBENDER, he’s also slated for UNBREAKABLE 2, which in all honesty could go either way depending on the story and cast, and he’s got another thriller/horror flick called DEVIL about a group of peeps stuck in an elevator who eventually realize Satan’s kicking it in there with them. Shyamalan hit the scene when originality was starting to wane, and I for one hope he turns things around in the coming months as we could use his unique story telling abilities now more than ever.
Extra Tidbit: THE SIXTH SENSE was based upon an “ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?” episode where a brother discovers that only his sister can see him and then eventually she shows him his obituary.
Source: JoBlo.com



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