Friday, October 10, 2014

Mock Squid Soup: Unbreakable

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to welcome you to Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society.  Each month, on the second Friday, we shall host a bloghop devoted to a particular movie.  We invite others to watch the same film and post their own reviews.  This month's movie is...

Title: Unbreakable
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Original Release: 2000
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
Before this month, Mock and I had watched our Society movies separately, silly in light of the fact that we are good friends and see each other often.   This month, we decided to find an evening to watch together along with (as Mock calls him) our third musketeer: Drama Guy.  I was the only one of the three of us who hadn't seen Unbreakable before.  I admire The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan's breakthrough effort, tremendously - 5 stars, easy.  However, I'd never seen any of his other films, knowing all have been far less critically successful, a few considered downright terrible.  Nonetheless, I was curious.

David Dunn (Bruce Willis) believes himself to be an ordinary Philadelphia security guard with a troubled marriage.  He has failed to realize a strange pattern in his life: he has never been ill and he has never been injured.  But Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson), a comic book art collector and exhibitor, has been keeping an eye out for a man like David.  Elijah has a brittle bones condition and is therefore obsessed with the idea of an invincible man.  When David is the only survivor of a train accident, Elijah sets out to convince him of his superhuman powers.

I enjoyed the atmosphere of this movie: dark and, for the most part, surprisingly quiet.  As with Sixth Sense, there is a creepy, tingling around the edges but no ghosts.  The writing wasn't quite as good as in the earlier film but it does keep the story moving.  Just as with the earlier movie, I didn't see the twist at the end coming.  The twist is fun but I think the story would also have been fine without it.

I do have one gripe.  The movie ends with screen captions revealing the fallout from the big shocker ending.   I feel that works for a movie about real-life events - All the President's Men, for instance - but it's a strange choice for fiction.  If the end you filmed isn't really the end of the story, why did you film it that way?  Just seems sloppy.  In the final analysis, Unbreakable is a good movie but it's not as good as The Sixth Sense.

We hope that you, too, will watch Unbreakable and join in our discussion.  I'll post November's sign-up list tomorrow.  Our feature on Friday, November 14th shall be... something a little different: Space Battleship Yamato.
via Wikipedia
In the meantime, for the Unbreakable discussion, please sign on to the list below:


31 comments:

  1. I haven't seen Unbreakable but the other Shyamalan's movie I saw after The Sixth Sense, were just OK.
    I can't believe next up is Space Battleship Yamato ! That is quite a change.

    I was going to be in Japan when it came out. Hundreds of teenage Japanese
    anime book fans standing in line. Along with hundred of teen girl fans of Takuya Kimura and me standing in line to see the movie !
    But I had to cancel, Bummer.
    I did a blog post on the movie.
    My children and I watched the anime on TV.

    I mean this has gotta be hoot !

    cheers, parsnip


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  2. Yeah, I think The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were his best, although I did enjoy Signs and The Village, too, both of which were supported by great actors (Joaquin Phoenix and Mel Gibson in the first, and Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, and Joaquin Phoenix again in the second).

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    1. He does seem to draw strong actors which speaks well for his work. The Sixth Sense may have been a once in a lifetime deal. Unbreakable at least proves he wasn't a one-hit wonder. He's still a very young man: only 44 years old. He's got plenty of time to recapture the magic.

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  3. I liked UNBREAKABLE when I saw it years ago, but I ran out of time to rematch it this month. That scene where he rescues the family still gives me chills when I think of it.

    I did love both Jackson and Willis in this. The switch from friendship into animus was good for me. Can't say I remember the cut-away parts at the end, however. I do agree those make more sense to me in real-life stories, or ludicrous comedy (I'm thinking 9 to 5 here.)

    I've always had an affinity for Shyamalan's work--even when it's not well received. I like knowing there is a lurking curveball and trying to deduce if I can find it before the big reveal. I usually can't, but it's great fun trying.

    Best,
    Veronica

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    1. I'd be interested to see more of his stuff, even knowing his later films weren't as well received.

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  4. Sorry, I didn't get the video viewed in time to participate, but I still have it to view. Interesting to see other's comments.

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    1. I hope you'll let us know what you think when you watch it, Linda.

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  5. Never saw this movie but those are two actors I enjoy. I should check it out next time I see it on somewhere.

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  6. M. Night Shyamalan showed such promise in the beginning. What on Earth happened? Such a shame! I was hoping he'd become something like what we saw with Gone Girl...that Hitchcock feeling with each movie. But something went wrong in more recent years...

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    1. He's still young: only 44. He may yet get his groove back.

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  7. If your best image isn't actually the end of the movie, it stands to reason that you can fudge a little.

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    1. Sure, you can. But that doesn't mean you should!

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  8. My understanding is that Shyamalan originally intended for this one to have a sequel, but it didn't do well enough for the studio to back it.
    This is easily his second best film, and it's so far below Sixth Sense as to be unremarkable. It's a geometric progression downhill from here.
    I did see the twist before it happened.

    I've seen next month's movie already. Yes, you can blame that on how much I loved Starblazers as a kid. And still do. I own the anime series.

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    1. That is so cool you own the series.
      I have a photo of one of my dogs getting ready to watch it on the laptop !

      cheers, parsnip

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    2. You realize this means I expect full reports from both Andrew and the Square Black Dogs next month!

      The plan for a sequel helps me understand the end a bit better. I think the movie could have ended with David walking away, leaving us all wondering how the next stage of Elijah's story would pan out. Perhaps with no sequel on offer, closure was required. The screen captions were probably a later, editing decision.

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    3. @angryparsnip: It was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. And it pioneered the way for what anime would become.

      @TAS: It's been a whole since I've seen it, and I don't own the live action movie. I'm not sure I can give an adequate report without seeing it again, and I can't say that will happen.
      I could, however, give a report on the anime series.

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    4. There's a link to the YouTube full movie video on my sign up post. I hope you'll join us or at least share your thoughts on the series.

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  9. Watching the movie this time I was able to see some of the foreshadowing that I missed 14 years ago during my "cold" watch". Despite its lack of sequels, I still think much of the success of the superhero "dramas" since can be traced directly back here.

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    1. Several of our society members have made the very same assertion. You should know that it's only thanks to you that I have any sense of that angle at all.

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  10. I like your assessment of this film, but I'm sorry you didn't like it more. I'm used to people having mixed feelings about this film so I'll be okay. ;)
    Also, I like the end simply because I felt like the movie was more of a reflection of what reality could be. I don't think he was trying to use a technique reserved for non-fiction stories to be clever. Instead I feel as if he was trying to tell a fictional sotry as if it was real and therefore the ending was just right...
    Hope I haven't scared you away with my uber geekness.

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    1. Embrace your Inner Geek, Toi! You're in very good company here at The Squid.

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  11. We liked Signs, with Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, etc. But, I wish Shyamalan would have another success. He is so talented.

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    1. He's only 44. He'll get his groove back.

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    2. He doesn't have a groove. One movie is not a groove; it's an aberration. Like with Peter Jackson.

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    3. Well, it seems likely both are likely to keep making movies so I hope they make some good ones.

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  12. Unbreakable was a wonderful premise and had moments of brilliance, but the "twist" ending ruined it.

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    1. As with The Sixth Sense, I think the story would still have been good without the twist. For the earlier movie, it definitely added another level to the story. For this one, I'm not so sure. One loses sympathy for Elijah instantly.

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