The fall and fall of Manoj Night Shyamalan

There was a time after 1999 movie "The Sixth Sense" when filmmaker Manoj N. Shayamalan was seen as the brightest filmmakers from India in Hollywood.

And then it all fell apart, film by film.

"Unbreakable" (2000) that followed "The Sixth Sense" was received fairly. But soon after, Shyamalan rapidly declined into the night with "Signs" (2002), "The Village" (2004), "The Lady In Water" (2006), "The Happening" (2008) and worst of all the 3D abomination "The Last Airbender", which apart from other atrocities, also revealed Dev 'Slumdog' Patel to be an extremely inept actor.

To be honest, one thought that 2010 release "The Last Airbender" to be a kind of closure on Shyamalam's career as spook merchant. We thought it couldn't get any worse.

But it just did.

In how many more ways could Shyamalan tell the same "Sixth Sense" story over and over again? The eerie has become progressively dreary in Shayamalan's oeuvre.

I for one waited to see him reinvent his career by taking on another genre...say, a comedy about a dead man who can see alive people.

Anything. Not this new film "After Earth" that showcases Will Smith's fatherly feelings in quite the same way that the other release this week "Yamla Pagla Deewana 2", a Hindi film, does.

If Dharmendra can pull himself out of semi-retirement to give his sons Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol a hand-up at the box office, why not Will Smith?

Earlier, Will and his son Jaden got together for "The Pursuit of Happyness". That film showed its makers couldn't spell correctly. This one exposes the people behind it can't make a movie correctly.

"After Earth" is a film set a 1,000 years from now when father and son Smith crash-land on earth. The earth, we are told, has witnessed a catastrophic end. But no catastrophe on earth can compare with what Shyamalan has done to the very charismatic Will Smith. This one is "Heaven's Gate" and "Jack The Giant Slayer" combined.

Blinded by fatherly affection, Will Smith sets out on a cinematic journey that takes him down several notches with no help from his director to reduce the momentum of the fall. The film doesn't move forward. It gambols in stylish zigzags that are meant to form some kind of an esoteric eerie pattern.

Finally, though, we are left with undecipherable shapes and signs signifying a state of heightened dementia. We are left looking at a film, which is as deplorably misguided in its filial impulses as "Yamla Pagla Deewana 2".

Maybe Hollywood's Will Smith and Bollywood's Deols - Dharmendra and his two sons Sunny and Bobby - need to exchange notes on how to channelise the family resources in a pool of productivity.

I remember just before the release of "The Happening" (not happening at all), I asked Shyamalan why his career lost momentum after "The Sixth Sense".

Protesting loudly, the filmmaker said, "I hear this a lot in India. It feels like everyone is five years behind. You can't judge my career by the box office alone."

I'd like to know how Shyamalan would like us to judge his career now after "After Earth".

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Latest News

  • Youthful contestants at U.S. Bee not just whizzes at spelling
    Youthful contestants at U.S. Bee not just whizzes at spelling

    By Ian Simpson OXON HILL, Md. (Reuters) - The youthful contestants at the U.S. Scripps National Spelling Bee boast a lot of interests in their lives besides spelling, with athletes, musicians, actors and writers among the almost 300 competitors. Shiv Lamba, 14, juggles being one of the best young spellers in the United States with playing football for the national developmental squad. The eighth-grader from Centreville, Virginia, said he studies spelling constantly, including while …

  • Trevor Noah to take over 'The Daily Show' on September 28
    Trevor Noah to take over 'The Daily Show' on September 28

    South African comedian Trevor Noah will replace Jon Stewart as the host of the last-night comedy parody "The Daily Show" on September 28, Comedy Central said on Thursday. The Viacom Inc.-owned cable network made the announcement on its website and with a brief video of Noah, 31, testing out the set in the studio and sitting in the chair as Stewart came up from behind him. …

  • Hungary Cannes sensation may help country face dark past
    Hungary Cannes sensation may help country face dark past

    By Marton Dunai BUDAPEST (Reuters) - The makers of the award-winning Hungarian film "Son of Saul" said on Thursday they want as many Hungarians as possible to see it in a country that has been plagued by anti-Semitism and xenophobia. The film -- the tale of a Jewish "Sonderkommando" death camp worker who finds a corpse he believes is his son's and sets his mind to burying him amid the horrors -- won the jury's Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival this month. Director and screenwriter …

  • Actress Lindsay Lohan taken off probation in driving case, prosecutor says
    Actress Lindsay Lohan taken off probation in driving case, prosecutor says

    Actress Lindsay Lohan has completed her community service in a 2012 reckless driving case, a judge found on Thursday, allowing her to leave probation for the first time since 2007, a prosecutor said. The 28-year-old "Mean Girls" star was required to finish more than 100 hours of community service in the case in addition to rehabilitation and therapy. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Young found Lohan had completed that obligation and ended her probation, Santa Monica chief deputy …

  • "We were awful" - Pink Floyd's Waters on band's early days
    "We were awful" - Pink Floyd's Waters on band's early days

    By Edward Baran LONDON (Reuters) - Pink Floyd founding members Roger Waters and Nick Mason joked while unveiling a memorial plaque on Thursday that they were so bad at first that they wouldn't have passed an audition on a talent show.    The pair, together with the late Richard Wright, formed the group while studying architecture at the former Regent Street Polytechnic in central London between 1962 and 1965. The psychedelic and progressive rock band went on to become one of the most …

  • Book Talk: Renee Knight's "Disclaimer" portrays a life unravelling
    Book Talk: Renee Knight's "Disclaimer" portrays a life unravelling

    By Verity Watkins LONDON (Reuters) - "What if the book you were reading was about you?" This is the question posed in Renee Knight’s "Disclaimer", a new thriller in the ‘suburban noir’genre. Catherine, a middle-aged television documentary maker, finds herself the central character in a book that has appeared in her home. From there Knight takes us with Catherine as her settled and apparently happy life unravels before her, until she is forced to confront a past she wants to bury. …

  • No foul play in death of Chilean poet Neruda, researchers say
    No foul play in death of Chilean poet Neruda, researchers say

    By Erik Lopez SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Spanish researchers investigating the early '70s death of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda to determine if he was poisoned, have found no conclusive evidence of foul play, according to an initial report handed to the investigating judge. The Chilean government reopened the investigation into his death in January, with new tests designed to look for protein damage caused by chemical agents, suggesting poisoning. Forensic experts at the Universidad de Murcia found …

  • Sai Paranjpye, Celina Jaitly demand equality for all

    Mumbai, May 28 (IANS) Filmmaker Sai Paranjpye and actress Celina Jaitly have demanded equal rights for everyone, including the LGBT community. At the inauguration of the sixth edition of Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival -- India's only mainstream Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual (LGBT) film fest -- Celina and Paranjpye spoke their mind about the need for equality. At a time when freedom of speech and expression is largely stifled, it is important that a festival like Kashish …

Loading...