Archive for the ‘M Night Shyamalan’ Category

M Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender

July 20, 2010

What is it?

Based on a very inventive and fun cartoon from Nickelodeon, The Last Air Bender is an adventure in another world. This world is made up of four nations, Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Some members of each nation can “Bend” or move their element through space. Though there may be plenty of other applications, It’s mostly used as a marshal art to fight others with.

Balance is thrown off when the Fire Nation attacks the other three, in an attempt to rule the word. In the midst of this conflict, To Teens, Katara (Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Twilight’s Jackson Rathbone) Discover the last living Air Bender, 12 year old Aang (Noah Ringer). Aang is not only the last of his people, he is “The Avatar.” A special warrior who has the ability to master all four elements, Bridge the Physical and Spiritual world, Bring balance and understanding, as well as kick major butt with his awesome power.

How was it?
The scope and magnitude of the film raises the level of the film in such a way that the failure of the movie to do anything worth while is simply magnified to a level that begs comparisons to Ed Wood. Right away the acting is on par with a well done Christmas play over at your local jr. high. Unfortunate the dialog complements the acting perfectly. Then there is the story line, it played like a ten year old explains season one of the tv show ( and then this happened, and then that happened..) as a studio exec’s secretary took dictation. The special effects were good but the actual “fighting” was boring and confusing. Where most the fighting was done with element bending, what you see is elongated ti-Che looking dancing with stuff swirling around them. As impressive as the dancing and effects were, I often thought “oh just punch him!”
This is the problem if you only watch the movie, but if you are a fan of the show (or like me, and watched it because you were excited about the movie) you will be even more disappointed. The show is for kids and has goofy humor, but is a lot o fun. Not only is the story very well thought out, the characters are dimensional and interesting. The result is that you care about the characters (even the “bad guys”) and are very interested in the story. All the humor is gone as well as the heart. Aang himself no longer fears being the avatar because he will have to sacrifice his own child hood for the good of the world. (A pain that makes him a real character who you can feel for as well as allowing him to be a fun character.) In the film Aang does not want this duty because the avatar can never have a family. Not only is he a twelve year old boy hoping to grow up to be a family man, its even more ridiculous when you realize he was raised by monks in an all male temple! The result on the movie is it suffers more by comparison. (thus you suffer more as well.)
Just to top everything off, the last image on the screen are the words “written, directed, and produced by M. Night Shamalon. This is killer. This man is the genus behind “Signs.” intact, of his 9 films, one I have not seen, one was silly, six were nothing short of amazing films that rival the films of Alfred Hitchcock, then, the ninth is this atrocity afflicted on film and unleaded on sad audiences with overpriced tickets trying to comfort themselves with thoughts like “maybe he will fix it in the sequel” or “at least I wasn’t watching the new Twilight.” but then you remember that Mr Shamalon had the nerve to include a twilight vampire in the cast, the hurt and sorrow return like flowing water that bends into tears as you just move on to the next question.

Was it worth the extra $3 for 3D?
I think the $3 for 3D was much better spent than the rest of the ticket. The effects were the best part of the film and they looked cool in 3D. I did think the effect was not as flat as Alice in wonderland but not as good as the preview for Voyage o the Dawn treader. There was something weird going on when they has fur hoods on and it got blurry when they panned (which they did a  lot). Maybe if the movie was better, the slight defects in the 3D would detract from the story telling, but with no real storytelling in sight – the 3D helps you focus on the effects.

Is it good for children?
There are some things that may scare small children. Armies are hunting down a 12 year old. But mostly kids will be confused, and fans of the show will be disappointed that “Saka’s not funny and Aang is boring.”

Was it racist?
The tv show has all the characters oriental, though each people group is a different sub set where the group all look like each other but do not look like the other nations or tribes. So, though they are all oriental, you can tell what people group they belong to by there racial features. This seems to me to be a nightmare for casting. So what M. Night has done in this film was to make each nation a fully different race. This is not racist but racial. (If you are unsure of the difference, ask Rhett and link.) Still some point out that the water tribe are heroes and are white while the fire nation are villeins and they are dark. First, the fire nation is is a little more complex that. (That comes through despite the shallow nature of the film.) Further more, the fire nation is Indian! The same nationality as the director / writer / producer. So why would he cast his own race as the fire nation? I do think all the races he picked fit well with the look of the show but the choice was probably just so he could give himself a cameo as a fire nation soldier.

What about spiritual issues?
The show for season one uses Hindu symbolism but in season two starts to get into Hindu/buddhist philosophy as well. Though in the season finally of one, princess Yue is given Christ symbolism when the moon god is killed and she gives her life for his resurrection and the physical salvation Of her people. In the movie the scene is so rushed that the beauty and pain of sacrifice is just laborious. All the buildup that points out the symbolism is reduced to the princess putting her arms out while in close up. Aang himself is a savior of a fictional world with many links to Jesus. In the finally of the second season Aang himself is killed and redirected and along the way strikes a Michelangelo influenced Jesus pose.

 Like Yue, Aang’s symbolism is boiled down to a modification of his back tattoo.
So, even spiritually the show is complex and interesting, and the movie is confusing chunky and unsatisfactory.

What is your recommendation?
This could have been M. Night Shamalon’s “Lord of the Rings,” but ended up his “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” this is a dull trip through cartoon cliff notes is not worth it on any level. Still if you are going to bring your kids to this film or the show you will want to talk about the fantasy world’s philosophy and it’s links to the our worlds philosophies, the truth and the lies.
My real recommendation… Start at M. Night’s “Wide Awake” and keep going until you get to “Lady in the Water.” Just stop before you get to “The Happening” and you will never have to bother with “The Last Airbender.”
(I’ll get back to you after I finish season three and yes I will go to the other two sequels.)

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Christopher’s Top Picks of the Decade (1/1/2000-1/1/2010)

January 28, 2010

It took all month but here are

Christopher’s Top 20 Picks (with 3 “Ties and an Honorable Mention) of the Decade

(1/1/2000-1/1/2010)

  1. Lord Of The Rings (1 movie in 3 parts)
  2. The Passion of the Christ
  3. Unbreakable
  4. tie – DISTRICT 9 Pride and Prejudice 
  5. The Exorcism of Emily Rose  
  6.  Signs
  7. To End All Wars
  8. The Village
  9. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe 
  10. Lars and the Real Girl 
  11. Luther 
  12. B000JLTR8QM. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water
  13. Napoleon Dynamite
  14. In The Bedroom
    Note: “The Bedroom” in the title refers to a compartment of a Lobster Trap
  15. Man On Fire
  16. I Am Legend
  17. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
  18. Phone Booth
  19. tie Nanny McPhee Up
  20. tie Danielson a Family Movie (or, Make A Joyful Noise HERE) Food Inc

Honorable Mention

Bella theatrical one sheet

Bella

Fireproof

This film was not the best done, or the most moving. Several films not on this list were better films. (The Spider Man films, Inglorious B——-s, Juno, Iron Man and even  Twilight, were all better films.) Still, a church got together and made a good film with a great message, and I think that should be applauded.

08 Top picks for 08 from Q&E Co-host Abby Rooney

December 31, 2008

Abby Just sent me her picks:

The order goes from 1 the best to 8 the least, however my top three are really more like a tie.

  1. The Dark Knight 

  2. C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian   

  3. The Day the Earth Stood Still 

  4. The Incredible Hulk 

  5. Iron Man 

  6. Wanted 

  7. M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Happening 

  8. Cloverfield
    (Yes, I’m serious…I really liked it!)

    Now I’m going to see what yours were!

    Abby Rooney

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

Blockbuster On Line Links

December 26, 2008

blockbuster_logo3

I just wanted to let you know that I have updated the movie recommendation page.

It now has buttons to add the movies directly to your Queue.

There are already links to Amazon.com as well.

Let me know what you think.

(I will be getting Netflix links up soon)

Signs

December 21, 2008

signs


What Is It?
M. Night Shyamalan‘s Signs is a huge hit film by the writer director often favorably compared to Steven Spielberg
 and Alfred Hitchcock. It’s the story of a family living on a farm. The dad, Mel Gibson, is a former pastor who is holding a grudge against God due to his wife’s accidental death. He has two young children and his brother lives with them to help out now that it’s a single family house hold. That seems like enough to be a great film, but we pile on top of that the fact that crop circles have been found in the family’s corn field. (Do you know how hard it is to break down corn?) The family, and the world, wrestles with the question “is this for real”. Then the next avalanche of questions comes quick and over shadow the first. “Is there a God?” “Will he help?” “Does he care?” This inquiry becomes the cattalos to move the film from B-movie plot, to emotional drama and creepy (maybe) Sci-Fi uneasiness.
How Was It?
This is a great peace of film making. The uneasiness of the possibility of alien’s just drives into the open, fears and family unrest that seems to have been lurking since the death of the father’s wife. The acting is great, the cinematography is beautiful and the creepy veneer works through the whole film. Shyamalan does some amazing things here. Like including touching stories from Graham about the days his two children were born, in the middle of one of the most perilous scenes in the film. As an aside: I have spoken to a few people who were really disappointed with this film. It seems the common denominator was that they thought it was an “Alien” film. They missed all the great family drama waiting for it to be “War of the Worlds.”
Is It Good For Kids?
It is dark and spooky. There is some violence that does not promote violence, but is heavy on the emotions. There are also a couple of cuss words (that are shown as bad). All in all I think younger kids would miss the point and just get fodder for nightmares.


You can check www.ScreenIt.com for a complete break down of elements shown on the screen.



How about Spiritual Issues?
The title of the film is not referring to aliens, but from a conversation where Mel Gibson’s character, Rev. Graham Hess, asks if you are the kind of person that “Sees coincidence, or sees miraculous see signs” Though out the film you see Morgan (Rory Culkin) try to deal with the distance between himself and his earthly father Graham Hess. This serves as a picture of Graham’s struggle with his heavenly father. You even hear Graham quote lines from his son said to him when he is talking to God. Graham acts in his own strength doubting that God will “bother” to act. This film is filled with ideas about faith and how life is 100% different if God is actually involved in the lives of the people who trust Him. .


(DON’T READ THIS PART IF YOU DON’T WANT ME TO SPOIL THE END)


 At the end, Graham sees that all the odd little things about his family were orchestrated by God so that God himself could literally save the life of Graham’s son. The closing shot of the film show’s Graham back in his Priest outfit and the cross on the wall is back. (During the rest of the film you could only see a “clean” spot where the cross had been.)
What Is Your Recommendation?
If you can handle something a little on the creepy side, this is an excellent film! From the beautiful camera work, the subtle performances, the great script and the well crafted presentation of very important essages, this is something to encourage the believer and share with those still unsure of God.


B00005JL3T Signs


The Films of M Night Shyamalan [part 2] a Question Entertainment extra

December 11, 2008

B000QUU4M8 Signs / The Village

B00064LJVE The Village

B000JLTR8Q Lady in the Water

0316017345 Lady in the Water

B001DZOC6Y The Happening

The Films of M Night Shyamalan [part 1] a Question Entertainemnet extra

December 9, 2008

B00067BC18 Wide Awake

B00004BZIY The Sixth Sense

B00003CXQA Unbreakable

B00005JL3T Signs

B0000640SC Stuart Little

B0000AGQ5Z M. Night Shyamalan Vista Series Collection (The Sixth Sense/Signs/Unbreakable)