this past weekend i watched Knowing with Nicolas Cage. this was a really stupid film. it kinda reminded me of the Happening, except not as unintentionally hilarious.
it's kind of impossible to talk about the film without spoilers though, so instead of making a post that looks like swiss cheese with blacked-out sections i'll just spoiler text the whole thing. the bottom line for those who don't want to be spoiled is, the movie is a) derivative, b) logically dumb, and c) veers from being a film about one thing, to being about something totally different at the end. which isn't always a bad thing, but when it's done in a way that makes the early parts of the film completely useless and worthless, then it is a bad thing.
it's bad enough the film borrows heavily from an earlier film, but worse that it borrows so heavily from an earlier film by the exact same director. it's like alex proyas took his sinister figures with mysterious motives following the main character around and who turn out to be aliens in the end straight from dark city and plopped them in the middle of this movie. dark city was a pretty good film (not a masterpiece like some of proyas' worshippers, i.e. roger ebert, believe, but a good film). this movie isn't good by any stretch though, and reusing those figures from dark city is just lazy, derivative film making.
the logically dumb part comes when you learn these guys are aliens, and their purpose is to find some kids to take off the planet and reseed the human species on another planet, and how if that was their plan all along, it makes no sense that they would have been doing things the way they have been doing them. if that's all they want, why not just take some kids, fly away, and be done with it? why the whole game with following the kids around, showing them apocalyptic visions, making them write down long strings of numbers on pieces of paper that predict future disasters? how do any of those things in any way make the whole "take the kids and transplant them on another planet" easier or better? if anything they make it harder, since it then causes their parents to try to run away from them, hide from them, etc. also, since these aliens can apparently predict the future (and how they can do that, of course, is never explained.... do they time travel too? or are they psychic? or have they mastered science so completely they can predict random plane crashes and subway accidents, down to the exact location and number of deaths in each disaster, merely through statistical analysis? i can buy that they could predict the massive solar flare that is going to destroy the earth ahead of time, even nic cage was able to do that eventually, but the other things?), since they can do that, the aliens apparently knew the end of the world was coming over 50 years ago.... why not just take the kids then? why wait 50 years or however much later from whenever they first learned the earth was going to die? why do they wait to the day before the end of the world to move all these kids off the planet? what if one of these alien psychics/time travelers/statisticians made a mistake some where and the end of the world came a day early, and all those kids got killed along with everyone else? the aliens just throw up their hands, say oh well, and move on to another planet that's about to end?
and this all gets me back to the last problem, which is that this movie goes from being an apocalyptic thriller with conspiracy overtones to a sci-fi alien film. which would have been fine, if the sudden change didn't totally undermine everything that led up to it. as i said before, what purpose was there in having these kids predict these disasters? there was nothing anyone could do to prevent them, or the final destruction of the planet. and there was no need to convince the kids or nic cage or any of the characters that the end was coming, since it wasn't like the aliens couldn't just take the kids if they wanted to. there's a brief bit of dialogue about the kids having a choice of going or staying, and maybe you could say everything that led up to the end was about convincing the kids they had to leave with the aliens and convincing the parents they had to let the kids go... but really, how exactly is a bunch of dark shadowy figures following you around, showing you scary visions, and leaving black rocks behind, supposed to be a convincing argument that the world is going to end and the kids need to leave with said creepy aliens? the whole thing with the disaster predictions just seems stupid and pointless by the end.
how could i possibly improve over my old sig image? just add water...