Skepchick Quickies, 6.16
- Reviewing the new film The Happening: “With its references to ‘unexplained acts of nature’ and a science teacher main character who calls evolution ‘just a theory,’ The Happening is basically a giant propaganda machine for intelligent design.”
- In the US, the TSA wants to see you naked. And not in a good way.
- Petition to Stop Religious Bullying.
- Making the perfect man: horror ‘classic’ Lady Frankenstein.
The Happening is one of the worst movies ever. I didn’t pick up any ID theme. It was all just too ridiculous to be anything really. Most of the audience when I was there ended up giggling and laughing out loud at the ridiculous scenes (e.g. Mark Whalberg trying to reassure a (fake) potted plant that we are not the enemy) and the extra scenes that had no link at all to the plot.
I don’t have a problem with intelligent design, per se. That is, I believed in something like intelligent design when I was a Christian and it allowed me to be both a creationist (believing God created the universe) and to believe in science and evolution (God set the ball rolling, set up the rules, and used evolution as a tool). Eventually this led to me dropping the creationist beliefs. So I actually support ID as a philosophy, because I think it gives fundamentalist and evangelical kids a way to accept evolution. And since ID is basically a “God of the gaps” theory, it will eventually collapse under scrutiny and the individual will be left with naked evolution.
I don’t think ID belongs in the classroom because it is not science but I could care less if a movie “promotes ID”…. I haven’t seen The Happening but my guess is that this is being grossly blown out of proportion. I don’t know why, but that’s the feeling I got reading other posts on this topic.
There was no ID theme. The entire premise of the movie was that plants evolved toxins to kill people. Marky Mark does use the scientific method, but his shirt stays on the whole movie (sorry girls).
It was more eco preachy than Hollywood though.
Definitely more eco-preachy… stop mistreating the poor plants, or they might rebel..ooooo… aaahhh….
*cue spooky looking patch of grass blowing in the wind*
Oh, also, you don’t have to agree with the philosophy of a film to enjoy it. I really love signs, even though I think the entire premise, and especially the ending, is ridiculous.
Those of you that have seen the film–can you comment on how much colony collapse disorder played a role in the plot? (bees dying, that is.)
People, people… after watching “Signs,” why would you ever consider seeing an M. Night Shyamalan movie again? As for trying to apply skepticism to it – that’s just an exercise in futility. He couldn’t figure out that aliens that are destroyed by water wouldn’t be running through a cornfield at night. If he can’t get his mind around the concent of ‘dew,’ he’s not going to see the scientific flaws in ID :)
Well, The Village was… watchable.
OK, I’ll shut up now.
Honestly, I fell for the shiny wrapper & marketing.
It gets a brief mention in the opening scene, and I think it’s very vaguely alluded to later in the film, to back up the therory that the plants have turned mean. But other than that, it’s not really integral to the film.
I liked Signs, to an extent, and the same for The Village. Absolutely loved Sixth Sense. I just don’t understand how such genius can be mixed with such complete and utter garbage – often in the same film. Unfortunately, while Signs was creepy and startling in parts, this one didn’t even have that.
There’s a… good way in which a government agency would want to see me naked?
Wait…so Zooey Deschanel is in an Intelligent Design movie just a few years after playing a character who goes to a costume party as Charles Darwin (in H2G2)??? How ironic. Or rather, it would be, if it didn’t seem (to me) like the reviewer was kind of grasping at straws to find a link to ID in the film. Can’t we hate an M. Night Shamalamadingdong movie on its own merits, without linking it to a pseudo-scientific/religious agenda? I’m sure the movie is bad enough that we don’t need this sort of rationalization for our hatred.
What upsets me the most about this movie is the fact that SciAm ran a story about the movie and a Podcast with an interview with M. Night Shyamalan and did not confront him about some of the claims he made in the interview. He stated that animals during the Tsunami ran before the Tsunami hit and we humans didn’t have the same “senses” as the animals.
“When the tsunami came, the animals all ran, sensing it happening. What is it that’s in their primitiveâ€”we’ll call it “primitive”â€”biological makeup, that we’ve forgotten?”
Iâ€™ve heard this again and again about animals sensing natural disasters and what I have come to know is its confirmation bias. If Iâ€™m wrong please let me know.
The interview is on the Podcast and on their site. I am very disappointed that something like this was put out by SciAm without even token skepticism. Also I didn’t see the movie, but when I see the still with the fake Einstein quote behind the “scientist” it irks me. In the whole interview M. Night was very anti-science in my opinion, and seemed very post-modern. I cannot believe it wasn’t addressed, especially after the lengthy podcast they did on Expelled.
Also the fact that we found the cause of the CCD was never addressed.
Or rather, it would be, if it didnâ€™t seem (to me) like the reviewer was kind of grasping at straws to find a link to ID in the film. Canâ€™t we hate an M. Night Shamalamadingdong movie on its own merits, without linking it to a pseudo-scientific/religious agenda? Iâ€™m sure the movie is bad enough that we donâ€™t need this sort of rationalization for our hatred.
I would agree with you about the ID thing if I had not seen Signs. A movie about how an alien attack that kills (possibly) billions of people was an elaborate test by god to bring a preacher back into the church would make me think it is not beyond M. Night to have purposely did all the things outlined in the review.
Last comment (probably) from Me. I think I will go see the Pro-Science film “The Incredible Hulk” this week; I love how they accurately show Gamma Radiation. (And this is only half a joke; I can accept crazy premises in enjoyable movies.)
“I would agree with you about the ID thing if I had not seen Signs. A movie about how an alien attack that kills (possibly) billions of people was an elaborate test by god to bring a preacher back into the church would make me think it is not beyond M. Night to have purposely did all the things outlined in the review.”
Good point. M. Night does seem to have a strong anti-science streak in him (I only watched part of “The Lady in the Water”, not really paying attention, but I vaguely recall a skeptical character in that flick being immensely unlikeable). If he’s as big a Jesus cheerleader as the review implies, I could see him being the type to ham-fistedly build a movie around his beliefs (and privately believe that he was being subtle about it). I suppose my point was that it’s unnecessary to justify disliking a film by making it out to be the next Expelled when there will doubtless be many more reasons to dislike it, if history is to be any guide. Although it’s hard to say either way without actually seeing the film (which I probably will, because my girlfriend apparently wants to see it. *sigh*).
Johnnie Cochran says: If science can’t explain why bees fly, how could it ever explain why bees die?
I think you are correct about it not being the next Expelled. I don’t know if M Night inherently believes in ID (or at least DI ID) or in a young earth (he may I just haven’t seen anything that makes me really believe that he has investigated it that far), or anything like that but he is a bible thumper.
“Night was inspired (to make the movie) by reading Albert Einstein’s biography and discovering Einstein had rejected religion at first, until eventually he saw â€˜the hand of Godâ€™ in the gaps between scientific explanations.â€
After a few minutes of research (if that’s not too strong a word) on the Net, I have to question the movie reviewer’s description of Shyamalan as an “avowed Christian”. I found nothing to support that. I did read that he was raised by Hindu parents who sent him to a Catholic school and then an Episcopal school. But he’s also praised for “Hindu themes” in his work. I couldn’t find any evidence that he converted to Christianity.
Both his parents are physicians, BTW, which makes his embrace of paranormal themes seem odd to me.
I’ll take back my bible thumper remark, but he definitely is religious and probably believes in at least a personal God, if not the Christian god. I think M. Night is in the strange void of intelligence that makes you more susceptible to Paranormal. I would think that he is the kind of person that believes in everything, from UFO, to God, to Bigfoot, to PSI, but I still want to hear it from him. The themes in his movies that I see is the sort of “you got to believe” stuff.
I’m pretty much with writerdd, on the possible disconnect between agreeing with the philosophy of a film and enjoying the other aspects. I still think Signs is sufficiently gorgeously shot that I can enjoy it, despite some things which have come to really bug me.
But The Happening entirely failed to even be effectively dramatic or thrilling, and sent me off on a more furious anti-“anti-science” tirade than any of his other movies have done. I didn’t notice any ID propaganda, but the philosophy it follows is still abysmal.
“I think M. Night is in the strange void of intelligence that makes you more susceptible to Paranormal. I would think that he is the kind of person that believes in everything, from UFO, to God, to Bigfoot, to PSI, but I still want to hear it from him.”
I’m inclined to agree. He strikes me as the type to prefer the fuzzy feel-goodness of any type of faith/woo over the cold, hard reality of science or skepticism. More of a generalized fantasy-prone personality, perhaps, than a hardcore believer of any particular faith or pseudo-science. “Spiritual, but not Religious”, as some call it.
DMS: “Both his parents are physicians, BTW, which makes his embrace of paranormal themes seem odd to me.”
Perhaps he rebelled as a kid and never grew out of it. It happens. And, of course, physicians aren’t immune to belief in the supernatural. But his having doctors for parents is kind of interesting, given the not-terribly-accurate presentation of Osteogenesis Imperfecta in Unbreakable.
And, of course, physicians arenâ€™t immune to belief in the supernatural.
Don’t get me started on the likes of Mehmet Oz…
Here is my review of the film basically calling it out for it’s anti-science positions and regretting it wasn’t a remake of “What’s Happening!”
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