Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Spielberg/Shyamalan smack-down!

Hey, I thought it would be fun to compare paralell scenes from two of last year's popcorn films as a way of contrasting the directorial styles of their creators. Sounds like a hoot, right?
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Our hero is seeking refuge from evil commies, and in the most unlikely of places, he stumbles across a perfectly inviting suburban house. Upon entering the domicile he finds that there's something eerily off-putting about that perfection. In fact, upon closer inspection he notices that everything about this blissful abode is synthetic, right down to the grins on the mannequins that inhabit the place. But what... exactly, does this mean...? Suddenly sirens blare and the significance dawns on our hero. He has but seconds to react, and with only his cunning and lightening-quick reflexes, and only by the skin of his teeth, is he able to evade AN ATOMIC EXPLOSION OF EPIC PROPORTIONS!!!

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Our heroes are seeking refuge from tree-gas, and in the most unlikely of places, they stumble across a perfectly inviting suburban house. Upon entering the domicile thy find that there's something eerily off-putting about that perfection. In fact, upon closer inspection they notice that everything about this blissful abode is synthetic, right down to the hollow television set and plasticized glasses of orange juice. But what... exactly, does this mean...? Only then does it occur to them that what they're standing in is actually a model home, the kind developers use to sell real estate, and all of this... apparently, doesn't really mean much to them. And so, after a few seconds of aimlessly informing us about Australian bacteria, they feel content that they've frittered away a satisfactory amount of screen-time without really advancing the drama or plot, and decide to mosey on out.
Okay, now let's try to distinguish the nuances of these cinematic approches. It seems to me that many of director Steven Spielberg's film-making choices are in the service of cheap thrills like suspense, action, character development, and storytelling, whereas M Night Shyamalan's decisions are here motivated by wanting to get his actors out from under the hot sun for a couple hours. Someone that thoughtful and courteous will always be a superior director in my book!

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