Friday, July 10, 2009

Knowing Movie Review

Father: ** 1/2 Son: **

William The Younger:

. It was sort of fun at times, but the kind of fun that doesn't put all of its heart into something. Yeah, it did have a lot of the stuff I really like (extremely awesome/gruesome violence, a little bit of Beethoven, creepy soundtrack), but that just doesn't really help it.

So this is pretty much the plot: In the year 1959, a school in Lexington, Massachusetts has decided that all the students in the school will draw a picture of what they think the future will look like, and then they will put it into a time capsule and unearth it 50 years into the future.

One little girl named Lucinda does not draw a picture. Instead she writes numbers all over both sides of her paper. After everyone is finished drawing, they take everyone's paper and put them in envelopes with the student's name on them. The envelopes are then put into the time capsule, not to be opened until 2009.

Finally, the capsule is opened. Every student at the school in the year 2009 gets to see one of the pictures. Caleb Koestler, the son of the main character receives the the envelope with Lucinda's name on it. He opens it up and finds all the numbers she wrote on it. He brings it home, and goes to bed.

John Koestler, the main character and Caleb Koestler's father studies it overnight. He discovers that each of the numbers shows the date of every major disaster in the world. It also shows how many people were, or are going to be killed. There are only three of the numbers left.

Really exciting, isn't it? That's what I first thought when I saw Roger Ebert's review. He gave it four stars out of four!!! The man is mad nowadays!!! Giving Star Trek two and a half stars, and MI3 two and a half stars!!! He must have something against J.J. Abrams!! And not to mention giving the Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor three stars?!! The Mummy 3 was sooooooooooo hideously diabolical, that if you look up "A Complete Disaster" in the dictionary, this movie is right alongside Batman and Robin!!! But that is a rant I will save for later.

Anyway, the movie has some very intense violence, the kind I'm looking forward to in the new movie, 2012. And it has got some pretty awesome music in it, the kind of disturbing music that should, again, be in 2012.

Seriously though, I've seen some awful child actors in my time, but the one who plays Caleb is the worst of the bunch. For instance, there is a scene in this movie where the to main adult characters are investigating something, and they leave Caleb and a little girl inside the van. Out of nowhere these creepy people come up and stand right next to the van, while Caleb doesn't display any emotion WHATSOEVER!! This "Keanu Reveesness" of his goes on for the entire film.

Besides the boy who plays Caleb, the acting is occasionally stale, and the special effects aren't the best, but then again, it has Nicholas Cage as the main character. Gotta hand it that. This film actually had a very disturbing opening, and a very emotional scene very close to the end. But all in all, it's not my type of disaster movie (Hmmm.... I wonder if Cloverfield is any good...maybe I should pick that one up...). I do recommend you to pick this up for a cheap price if you can, or rent it.

Speaking of disaster movies, I've gotta go and re-watch Deep Impact. And I wanna see Mr. M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense. That one isn't a disaster movie, more like a horror, but from what I've heard, it's awesome. Anyway, this concludes my review. Hopefully you like mine almost as much as my dad's (that would be a new record for me! :D)

William the Elder:

Knowing was much better on the page than on the screen. The story is based on a terrific idea and it unfolds at a good pace. The direction is crisp, the cinematography exceptional, the score appropriately atmospheric and the visual effects satisfactory (and occasionally exceptional).

Yet the film seems inert rather than involving, as if the producers had gathered the ingredients for TNT and followed all the proper directions -- and ended up with a damp squib, rather than a satisfying, ground-shaking explosion.

In some ways, Knowing builds on the eerie "twist" film gimmick that made, and then destroyed, M. Knight Shyamalan's career. The conceit at the center of the story strongly resembles the one offered by Signs, which was Shyamalan's last decent film. Knowing deals with the issue of cosmogony: Are we here simply because "s**t just happens," as Cage's character says at one point, or is the universe the product of an Intelligent Design? Knowing offers an answer not all that different from the one presented in Shyamalan's vastly superior film.

Unlike Knowing, Signs succeeded was in creating a small ensemble of well-wrought characters brought to life through effective performances. And Signs, like most of Shyamalan's films (at least the ones that work) successfully evokes a sense of a specific place, his beloved Pennsylvania. Where his films work the events and action, however implausible, are made believable by the involvement of apparently real people in a recognizable place. Knowing never manages to accomplish this critical illusion, which demonstrates just how difficult it is to accomplish what Shyamalan has done, and how genuinely remarkable his gifts are, despite his regrettable recent career trajectory.

Nicholas Cage has made a mini-career out of playing the Earnest Unraveller of Esoteric Truths in the National Treasure films; here he recycles most of his acting beats from those movies while leaving out the wit and offbeat charm that made their implausibilities palatable. This probably reflects the fact that Knowing is an End of Days story, which really doesn't permit character bits of that kind. But the pace and unremitting grimness of the movie -- along with a completely lifeless performance by the main child actor, who behaves as if he's been overdosed on Ritalin -- likewise impedes the development of the central characters to an extent sufficient to enlist the audience in their fate.

All the ingredients were here, and they were competently assembled, yet Knowing lacked the fundamental creative spark necessary for ignition. Perhaps this is an ironic validation of the need for genuinely intelligent design: Worthwhile stuff doesn't just "happen" by itself.

(Father & Son Reviews uses the four-star rating system, not the five-star or anything like that.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

okay so i didn't read the book. i really didn't like this film. i think n. cage is just picking bad movie after bad movie now. this film was all corny bad dialogue sci-fi crap. i did however like the plane crash scene. that almost made it worth the watch.