M. Night Shyamalan: Is it time to call it?

15 Jul

The 2.5 people who read this probably read my review of The Last
Airbender, wherein I alluded to the Shamhammer’s decline.  What I didn’t
realize was how perfectly the numbers would back up the point I made.

When I look into the “quality” of a film, there are two places that I go
to get the opinions of others that also gives me a hint toward to overall
enjoyability of the film.  I look at the rating on IMDB and the score on
Rotten Tomatoes.

The rating on IMDB is on a scale of one to ten and is voted on by users.
These are just people who care enough about movies to have registered with
the site, so there are a lot of yahoos out there, but it gives you a
pretty good cross-section of people who love movies.

Rotten Tomatoes simply tells you what percentage of critics liked the
movie.  No ratings, just a simple yes or no.

So how does the cinematic resume of M Night Shamalamahamadingdong stack
up? (That’s the last name joke, I promise).

His well-known films are shown here in chronological order, with the IMDB
rating first and the Rotten Tomatoes score second.

Sixth Sense (1999):             8.2 – 86%
Unbreakable (2000):             7.3 – 67%
Signs (2002):                   6.9 – 74%
The Village(2004):              6.6 – 43%
Lady in the Water (2006):       5.8 – 24%
The Happening (2008):           5.2 – 18%
The Last Airbender (2010):      4.4 – 8%

With the exception of the critics having differing takes on Signs and
Unbreakable, that’s a pretty steady decline.

Nathan Atteberry made an observation as we talked about The Last
Airbender.  Every other movie that Shyamalan made was something that not
only did he write, but was an original story that he came up with.

For the most part, at least.  The plot of the Sixth Sense was jacked
mostly from an episode of the Twilight Zone and The Village borrowed
heavily from a book called Running Out Of Time (by “borrowed heavily” I
mean “ripped off”).  I digress.

The Last Airbender was the first time that he did a movie based directly
on something.  The TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender is incredibly
popular and sports a solid 9.2 out of 10 on IMDB.

So even with very good and very popular source material, Shyamalan
continued his slide and couldn’t come up with something even remotely
decent.

So here lies the question: do we call it?  Is M Night Shyamalan‘s career
as even a moderately respected filmmaker over?

Personally, after his latest contribution, I hold out no hope for anything
else the man does.

But despite his steadily declining quality, Shyamalan will probably keep
getting jobs.

Yogi Berra once said “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Hollywood takes a different approach.  According to them, “It isn’t over
until after it’s over. And even then we’ll try it anyway.”

And as such Devil, a movie based on a story conceived by Shyamalan, hits
theaters September 17.  God help us all.

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