“The Happening” an IDiot movie in disguise?

That’s what the folks over at IO9 are saying about it.

Note, the following discussion pretty much spoils the whole movie so if you think you might want to see it then don’t read any further. I’ll put it below the fold just in case.

M. Night Shyamalan’s critically-panned flick The Happening is Hollywood’s first blockbuster to promote the anti-evolutionary theory of intelligent design. Maybe you thought Ben Stein’s ill-fated documentary Expelled was the only movie to argue in favor of the neo-Christian idea that an “intelligent designer” created the universe. Think again. With its references to “unexplained acts of nature” and a science teacher main character who calls evolution “just a theory,” The Happening is basically a giant propaganda machine for intelligent design. Maybe science journalists are jizzing all over its allegedly realistic plants-attack-humans plot, but we talked to Shyamalan and we know the truth.

Avowed Christian Shyamalan told us that The Happening is really about religious faith, and explained that he chose Mark Wahlberg to play science teacher Elliot Moore because of the actor’s intense belief in Jesus. Maybe he also chose vacant-eyed Zooey Deschanel to play his wife Alma because she looks like a little girl who needs a big strong monotheist in her life? No comment on that one from Shyamalan.

We get tipped off to the fact that this allegedly science fictional movie is really an ID tent revival in the opening scenes where Elliot teaches his science students about evolution. He explains to them that honeybees are disappearing all over the country, and asks what some possible explanations might be. Students who say things like “climate change” and “evolution” are dismissed as being “partly right.” But then when a generally quiet student finally says, “It’s an act of nature that we can’t understand,” Elliot lights up and says that’s the best answer. That phrase “act of nature,” which sounds suspiciously like “act of God,” crops up in the movie again and again to explain why plants have suddenly decided to kill humans.

As our little band of characters flee into the Pennsylvania countryside, they gradually begin to realize that the waves of suicides might be caused by plants. We see news commentators talking about how the “attacks” probably aren’t coming from terrorists. And Elliot uses the “scientific method” to deduce that plants can “spontaneously evolve” in response to a threat. Maybe plants think humans are threats, and “spontaneously evolved” in an “act of nature” to manufacture a toxin that switches off humans’ self-preservation instincts? Why, we’d all just instantly commit suicide! You know, because God — erm, I mean nature — is mad at us! For doing things like not polluting and not having babies with our husbands.

Trying to look wise but merely looking blank and addled, Elliot ponders and looks into the middle distance, intoning, “Science will come up with a reason to put in the books but int eh end it’s just a theory. We fail to acknowledge forces at work beyond our understanding.” Well put, Mr. Science Teacher. All those atheists with that whole “evolutionary theory” thing don’t realize it’s just a theory! Probably everything in nature is just beyond our understanding. Let’s pray.

I had a sneaking suspicion that this was going to be the case when I saw the trailer and heard the “we’re dealing with forces beyond our understanding” line from Marky Mark. It’s getting a 20% freshness rating at RottenTomatoes.com and after hearing the plot details it’s not surprising as to why.

I really liked Sixth Sense, it was the second DVD I ever purchased, but it seems like with each succeeding movie release Shyamalan has drifted away from telling a good yarn to finding ways to preach to us in a somewhat subtle fashion. Signs was particularly bad about that what with the main character being a Clergyman-turned-atheist who rediscovers his faith for no apparent reason after living through the alien invasion.

Oh well, there’s still plenty of other good movies to check out this summer.

14 thoughts on ““The Happening” an IDiot movie in disguise?

  1. I loved Unbreakable but Signs was one towering tower of sucky suckage and completely cured me of ever wanting to see a Shyamalan movie ever again.

    ‘Zquuuze me I have to go kill some aliens by squirting water on them.

  2. Oh well, there’s still plenty of other good movies to check out this summer.

    Yes there are, but I can safely say that The Incredible Hulk is not one of them. If anyone wants to see a good movie about the Hulk, I’d recommend the 2003 Ang Lee movie over the latest Piece of crap.

  3. he chose Mark Wahlberg to play science teacher Elliot Moore because of the actor’s intense belief in Jesus.

    Maybe Jesus designed the prosthetic Mark wore in Boogey Nights.  LOL  snake

  4. That’s too bad.  I was actually kinda looking forward to seeing it.  I watched Signs and laughed through the whole thing.  The fact that a movie is stupid has NEVER been a reason not to go see it.

    But a movie that’s a propaganda flick arguing against something that I think is very important would turn me off.  It wouldn’t make me mad… Hey.. it’s Hollywood.  If you don’t want stupid, don’t watch movies.  It would just make it distracting.  I go to see a movie to escape, not to be reminded of morons in real life…. unless they are portrayed AS morons in the movie.

    I’ll probably catch it on Netflix and root for the plants.

    ‘Zquuuze me I have to go kill some aliens by squirting water on them.

    Hey.. If it was good enough for “Day of the Triffids” then it’s good enough for me.  That was a great cinematic masterpiece, that was.

  5. Indeed it was. I still have that movie on BetaMax someplace.

    Am I the only person who watched Signs and liked it? Maybe because I am generally immune to religious propaganda…I never noticed anything other than a preacher who had lost his faith regaining it after the aliens tried to eat his family. I tend to subconsciously ignore anything else along that line. What is more interesting about M. Night’s movies, are that he uses many of the same actors across his films.

    I mean really, Quentin Tarantino did the same thing in From Dusk ‘Til Dawn with the whole preacher who lost his faith thing. If anything, he could sue M. Night for stealing his character raspberry

    Unbreakable, however was great – a very underrated film.

  6. I loved Signs.  Haven’t liked a movie with Mel Gibson in it since Conspiracy Theory.

    Everyone’s done the “preacher who loses his faith and then gets it back” thing.  It’s nothing special, and neither is the “Nature getting back at man” thing or the “vampire” thing or the “aliens with an obvious and stupid vulnerability” thing or the “enigmatic premonition that winds up saving the day” thing.

      That’s the bad thing about Hollywood; nothing’s really new, but we do get to see how the same stories play out in many different directors brains.  That is of academic value if nothing else.  They need to start doing more alien invasion remakes.  I liked ID4 because it wasn’t like all the other alien invasion movies where they try to infiltrate Earth despite their superior technology but have some critical weakness that a child could figure out so they have to kill us by trickery instead of just landing and kicking the shit out of us.  I appreciate ID4 for not going that route yet again (and for giving us cool explosions) although being able to disable the shields of the entire invasion force with a virus planted in one ship and destroying each saucer by pricking their main weapon are serious design flaws.  I hope they strung up the designer before their ships exploded.

      I’d like to see a movie version of Harry Turtledoves “World War” series (Aliens stage a global invasion of Earth during World War 2) or William Forstchen’s “Lost Regiment” series (Civil War regiment gets transported across the galaxy to another world and rebuilds the United States there) Or any of the “Bolo” series.

      I’m still waiting for the remakes of “Them” and “Night of the Lepus”  There’s movie gold… right there…Giant ants?  Giant rabbits?  Come on.. Brian Singer can direct.  Lot’s of explosions?  Cool CGI??  I’m there.  And they can’t be made as comedies, though.  It would ruin the effect.

  7. although being able to disable the shields of the entire invasion force with a virus planted in one ship and destroying each saucer by pricking their main weapon are serious design flaws.

    Hey, what can you expect from an alien race whose network security can be hacked by a cable guy using a Mac Powerbook?

  8. I’m reminded of the bumper sticker, “Beam me up, Scotty! There is no intelligent life here.” Probably the real reason no extra-terrestrial has ever invaded. Of course, the Black Plague and the 1918 Flu Pandemic remind us of our real-life parasitic relationship to the host planet. Hmm, “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” anyone?  cheese  cheese

  9. H G Wells pointed out the Common Cold was fatal to Martians.

    It’s entirely possible that the common cold might be fatal to extra-terrestrials if they’re biologically close enough to us that they can use our planet.  The stupid part is that for some reason, they never had any bio-hazard gear, and never detected the virus.  Thank god for dumb aliens.  Otherwise… well just imagine Bush defending us from an invasion.

  10. well just imagine Bush defending us from an invasion.

    Considering the fundies seem to vacillate between:

    “There isn’t any such thing as aliens, God made us the center of the universe (read, we’re the center of the universe and everything revolves around us, except that sun and the planets, since we can no longer disprove that, but that’s a special case).”

    And the possibly more nutjob:

    “Aliens are demons from hell, sent here to deceive us away from the one true God and his message.”

    I guess it would really depend on what he thought as to how he would react.  Though…I would guess he’d just launch all the “nukular” missles and then pray to Jebus. In any event, we’d be screwed.

  11. H G Wells pointed out the Common Cold was fatal to Martians.

    It’s entirely possible that the common cold might be fatal to extra-terrestrials if they’re biologically close enough to us that they can use our planet.

    As it was for Eskimos when they first met White Men

  12. That’s not fair! The Eskimos actually used our planet, unlike White Men who are abusing our planet. mad

  13. @ leguru

    Not to mention the Eskimos use the WHOLE planet, unlike the white man who only uses part of the planet and throws the rest away.

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