Shyamalan’s At It Again

The teaser for M. Night Shymalan‘s next flick, The Last Airbender, hit the internet this week, along with a new “Shyamalan Web Experience” that’s pretty revealing.
As for the trailer, let me know what you think. I’ve been optimistic, but I got a very uncomfortable, queasy, Chronicles of Narnia feeling from the last ten seconds or so. Something about that more-colorful-than-life CGI.

As for the “web experience,” it’s pretty slick. You explore a dilapidated mansion, Myst-style, filled with themed rooms from each of Shammy’s movies. Even though I’m disillusioned with the man, and this whole “web experience” is probably an attempt at correcting his image before Airbender hits theaters, I have to admit the thing is pretty cool.

Each room’s design is taken from a set-piece from his movies, and James Newton Howard’s brilliant music constantly plays in the background. Hidden trinkets in the rooms offer insights into Shammy’s writing and directing experience, such as how stressful each film was on a 1-to-10 scale, his favorite scenes and lines, and what he learned. Unfortunately, Shyamalan’s infamous ego is still occasionally apparent in his choice of words.
Poor Shammy. I used to be your biggest fan. The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and The Village still rank among my favorite movies. Signs was a blast when I was 17, but hasn’t aged as well. Then you made two unforgiveably bad movies. Well, Lady In the Water had potential, but you cast yourself in it as a writer who changes the world, for goodness sake. And you killed a movie critic on screen. Very subtle.
Shammy’s last film, The Happening, is literally the worst movie I’ve ever seen.
How do we explain such a MacBethian fall from brilliance? I’m speechless. I can only guess that Shyamalan has insulated himself so much from criticism that he’s forgotten how to entertain people other than M. Night Shyamalan.
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3 thoughts on “Shyamalan’s At It Again

  1. I completely agree about Shyamalan (except I still enjoy Signs as much as I used to). The Happening is also one of the worst movies I've ever seen, and probably the biggest letdown ever.Do you think he's trying to tap into the fantasy genre while it's still hot with Airbender? It just seems very different from his other stuff…

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  2. Because of all the MJ stuff, I'm in hyper debate mode, but I took some deep breaths before I started my comment. I think the movie critics went way overboard on the big deal of Shyamalan's killing of the movie critic in Lady in the Water. Why can't it be just a fun "wink, wink, nod?" Movie critics don't complain when lawyers are gratuitously knocked off. They love it.Like Heather, I think Signs holds up well and I think parts of it are classic.If The Happening is really the worst movie you've ever seen, you don't get out much. If we were sitting at a bar together, you could time me and I could name 100 worse movies in less than 5 minutes. Hell, Jaws 2 just to name a quick one.Okay, I'm through venting. Thanks for the heads up on the web experience. I'll check that out. Or maybe play Yahoo euchre first.:)

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  3. @Heather, yeah, I think tackling a popular, family-friendly franchise is an attempt to save his career/reputation.@Geewits, ha! Being the biggest Shyamalan fan ever at one point, I never thought I'd be criticizing him this way. You're talking to a guy who, during a trip to Philadelphia, visiting all the shooting locations for The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable!As for Lady In the Water, I get your point, but for me it was a combination of things. It came at a time during his career when critics were blasting him as a one-trick pony, and when he refused to take Nina Jacobson's critiques of his screenplay, causing him to leave Disney for Alan Horn at WB.So subsequently casting yourself as a writer whose work literally changes the world, and then gruesomely murdering a movie critic just seemed a bit self-righteous to me. The man's a genius, for certain, but film is first and foremost a collaborative effort.As for The Happening, I should probably reword what I said. It isn't the "worst" in every sense of the word. But it was definitely the most disappointing and perplexingly awful film by someone talented that I've ever seen!

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