Tuesday, April 21, 2015

#EyzTalks - U got Shyamalan'd!

Twist: My blog was dead all along I actually still kinda like M. Night Shyamalan. I mean, I don't hate the guy.

Sure he's made a foul of himself over the years and his movies have been increasingly worse one after the other. My guess is that his early fame and success from The Sixth Sense probably got to his head. And then he sort of lost the passion he had and became way too formulaic for his own good.

Plus his writing's been getting pretty bad, film directing skills aside.

But I still a lot of masterfully storytelling and great eye for the picture when I look back at Sixth Sense or Unbreakable. Heck, even Signs.

So what went wrong?

I think he put way too much focus on the mystery and the often-laughed twist ending, and sort of forgot to care about his characters later on. Plus the plot have been more and more nonsensical. I mean, the trees, really?

But I do believe you could still salvage things up if you would mix up the twists amongst the films.

Don't believe me? Well, let's try a little experiment.
And imagine these same movies had the twists been shuffled around.

For all intends and purposes I'm gonna forget and not mention The Last Airbender or After Earth - why? Because 1) They're really bad, the worst films he ever put on film and impossible to save and 2) One's an adaptation from something he didn't came up with, while the other was written by Will Smith actually.

Movie: The Sixth Sense
Plot: A little boy haunted by ghosts gets some help from Bruce.

What the twist was: Turns out Bruce Willis was a ghost all along!

What it should have been: Shyamalan's first two films are his only good movies that worked and are already perfect as they are. But what if we tried to improve them nonetheless? Let's take Lady in the Water's storyline of a writer coming up with the story actually happening in the film. Change M. Night's usual cameo and have it be instead Shyamalan himself who came up with the ghosts haunting the kid-story. So the film is not necessary better. But we could have Willis at the end realizing he's just a character in a film, breaking the fourth wall. I'd pay to see that!

Movie: Unbreakable
Plot: Bruce Willis gets some help from Samuel L. Jackson to better understand the fact he apparently has super-invulnerability.

What the twist was: But Samuel L. Jackson was the guy who actually caused all the accidents over the years to narrow down our "unbreakable" hero. Which makes him his arch-nemesis.

What it should have been: Taking a cue from The Sixth Sense - Bruce Willis was dead all along! Imagine how this fun "gritty realistic superhero story" would have turned an even darker turn if you find out he was dead all along since the beginning. Probably in the train accident that made him notice his "ability". Which makes the entire film the last dream of a dying man. He was never Unbreakable! He died at the beginning! Woah!

Movie: Signs
Plot: A tribute to old 1960s invasion films! Mel Gibson plays a priest that loses his faith, but will recover it in time to save his family during a huge planet-wide alien invasion! Also, he has quirky children and a brother (?) that lost his faith in his own life.

What the twist was: The aliens can't stand water on a planet mostly composed of water! Also it was all part of God's plan or something. And Shyamalan cameo felt really forced and "deux ex machina", although I'm not sure that counts as part of the "twist". What the real twist was: I actually kind of like Signs, as a guilty pleasure of mine. It really captures the creepy odd vibe from old 60s serials, but I really dislike the end of the film.

What it should have been: Take the reveal of The Village and put it in Signs. What you obtain from two films that relied on really weak twist endings is one helluva surprise that actually surprises instead! There were no aliens! It was all part of an elaborated "prank" (or a way for the government to control and/or confine people?). Substitute a weak alien reveal for a Portal-style conspiracy and control of the human population. Not only would it have made Signs a lot stranger and more intriguing but it would have made a better use of The Village's awful deception.

Movie: The Village
Plot: In a little medieval village, a blind girl played the always lovely Bryce Dallas Howard is forced to venture into the woods looking for medicine to save a friend. But the nearby forest is infested by strange huge bear-like porcupine monsters.

What the twist was: When the monsters are part of the description of the plot, you know the twist will never live up to that. And in fact, those creatures turn out to be just costumes a mentally-challenged Adrien Brody is using to scare Bryce Dallas.
What it should have been: Our blind heroine turns out to be Unbreakable! Alternate twist ending: Adrien Brody/the monsters turns out to be Unbreakable! The movie becomes a slasher flick as the more and more deranged Adrien Brody relentlessly pursue our heroine. It's not a game anymore, he has become a real monster!!

Movie: Lady in the Water
Plot: The story Shyamalan a character came up with is turning real. The residents of a small building have to save this "magical" girl return home. Or something. Don't think too much, Shyamalan clearly wrote this bedtime story for his daughters. 

What the twist was: I honestly have no idea. The Shyamalan-writer character? The fact it was all true? The smoke monster at the end?

What it should have been: Take the killer trees from The Happening. Make both plots make sense! At the end of the day, turns out there was only one rational way to make sense of this "modern fairy tale". Drugs. The trees didn't kill people, instead they drugged everyone, making them imagine all this. BOOM! Story improved!

Movie: The Happening
Plot: Marky Mark tries to save people from the sudden inexplicable death going all over the planet. Also, nonsensical acting and dialogues!

What the twist was: Turns out nature is sick with humans and has been sending pheromones to kill us. That's right, the trees are after us!

What it should have been: Take Signs, mix it with The Happening. Aliens. It was aliens all along.

And that's how you save Shyamalan's career. Did I turn these films into more coherent narratives? Probably not. But at least they sound a lot more fun this way, don't you think?

Plot twist - there was no career to save to begin with.

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