Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Happening (why I liked it and also why most of the world won't)!

Pat, Steve, and I saw "The Happening" lastnight. We had been waiting on its release for quite some time so there was a fair amount of high expectation going in. Both Pat and myself have always been great fans of M. Night Shyamalan so we knew right off that we were going to see this movie. However we also knew that the same reason we went in expecting something unusual and clever would be the same reason that a great many movie goers would go in, poised at the ready, to pick it apart and criticize it.
In this story, Shyamalan takes on the "what ifs" of what we, as a population, would do if we were suddenly faced with a life threatening, unexplained phenomenon. How would we react, would we be prepared, and how important would the exchange of information and the mode by which it was relayed become? Would any among us have the capability to evaluate the situation for his or herself and effect self preservation, or would panic and ignorance of the facts send us all running straight into the maelstrom? In this respect, I think the movie succeeded admirably. We see both possible sides to this scenario...the panic and the reasoning. And I think, at it's heart, that is really what this story is about. It challenges us to truly think about our humanity and what drawbacks and obligations we face as a result of our place in the world.
To answer the accusation that most will be bandying about that the movie is not scary...it isn't. At least not in the traditional "things jumping out at you from every corner" sense. Instead, the fright here comes from within us...from truly thinking about and facing our own inadequacies and limitations. The true fear lies in thought.
Generally speaking, there are many reasons to either like or dislike "The Happening." But, if nothing else can be said of it, it will compell you to think about what it means to be a human being living in the information age. There is much to consider and much to discuss. I, for one, enjoyed the experience.

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