Superhero movies have been around since the dawn of time (circa 1951). They've tantalized our senses and made us believe that the sky could be the limit. If only we could just bathe in a vat of chemicals without developing lymphoma.. Or get bitten by a radioactive spider without ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENING. Those thoughts are always there, from the first time you were awed by a superhero movie, all the way until the last time you were disappointed by a superhero movie.
At least for me, all the wonderment I had as a child while watching The Toxic Avenger or Superman has manifested into a wide-eyed toddler wearing a blanket as a cape, whooshing around my subconscious without a care in the world. But unfortunately, it's somehow become uncomfortably wrist-tied to some weird, angsty, knife wielding sociopath that has been scarred by whoever was responsible for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and fucking 1990's Captain America. Luckily, the genre, though hit and miss for the past twenty years, has been pumping out some quality works over the last five. As such, I've since developed a relatively large, fluffy, stuffed animal panel of board members inside my broken brain that sits eerily by, egging the other two weirdos on.
Ah, my point! When I watch a movie-- Superhero or otherwise-- I try to go in with an open mind and an open heart. (Open eyes, too.. But, no shit, right?) This brings me to the subject at hand: Superhero Movie What Ifs?.. If?s? (However you do it.) Comic books do it all the time. Why can't movies? What I propose is that it is the year 2000 and the world somehow went on without the existence of the movie Wide Awake starring Rosie O'Donnell.. Cinema, at large, had a drastically different take on Stuart Little because it was written by Tim Burton.. And She's All That ended up being a BET original movie. Real crazy shit. Oh, and no one had ever heard of The Sixth Sense.. Yet. No. No one had heard of it yet because a new, visionary writer/director was working on something else first. It would be his greatest accomplishment and would go on to spawn two highly successful sequels. That directors name: Manoj Shyamalan.. Or M. Night Shyamalan to his friends. Because he hates his friends and wants them to have to say ridiculous things when they address him. But the movie in question? The one with all the successful sequels? Yeah, you probably guessed it by now:
The pReview Re-viewing
What If? of..
CLICK ABOVE TO VIEW THE TRAILER!
(it is highly recommended to view the trailr and THEN read!)
by Jeff Finck
Release Date: November 22, 2000
In the near present, in the small town of Philadelphia (aka the city of brotherly love and home to Deep Thought's hillbilly cousin), Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a man with an obsession for finding a certain special someone, will stop at nothing.. To.. umm.. find that.. certain.. special someone. So, this Elijah Price (aka Mr. Glass, by the way.. A totally a normal, non-bad guy nickname), searches high and low through countless tragic event headlines for superheroes, when he stumbles upon one such event.. And one such man: The Spiderman-universely and alliterately named, David Dunn (Bruce Willis). David, the sole and completely unharmed survivor of a massive train-fuck is led on a journey by Elijah down the rabbit-hole of.. Okay, this sentence is getting really dumb. Basically, Elijah thinks David is a superhero and he will spend the next two hours trying to convince David that his baldness is actually just his super-genes winning a war against that pesky anagen phase of hair growth.
The trailer opens in an adult hospital, as David Dunn sits perplexed at the fact that he's in an adult hospital because adult hospitals are bullshit and only exist to stick you with needles, cut you open for surgery, and charge you roughly the cost of your own internal organs on the black market to use them. But I digress.. It turns out that he may or may not have been involved in a train crash. My theory on that is immediately corroborated by the doctor asking a series of questions about David's account of the train crash. Nailed it. The doc starts asking him all sorts of things, like, where he was sitting.. What car was he in? What did he eat for breakfast? What was his fitness regimen? I assume, so the doctor can survive as many train crashes as he needs to, that way he can win America's Next Top Doctor's talent portion of the show.
It should be worth noting that during this interrogation, the film promotes its director's next project called, The Sixth Sense. It's a little odd to promote a project so early in the preview of a director's first project, but I did some research and it also stars Bruce Willis! So, hey, that's pretty cool. If it has the same tone as this movie trailer and the exact same amount of subdued, masterful acting, it should be a smash success. Only time will tell, though*.
*I don't know what this page is or where it came from.. Must be one of those time-traveling fourth wall-breaking comic-booky thingies.
Anywho (heh.).. David interrupts old Doctor Whatsits and asks what exactly happened to the other passengers.. And why the doctor is looking at him like David is the only attractive girl at a comic convention. It turns out that all the other passengers decided to play a prank on David (along with everyone else in their life) and derail the train and die. Then, to be really outrageous and up the Kushton-factor to eleven, they got another train to hit their train after it derailed! Oh, and the other minor thing is that David doesn't have a scratch on him. Or a bruise. Or a broken bone. And somehow, his eczema cleared up. So, you know.. Bonus! Then, on his way out of the hospital, in front of all the grieving families mourning heir loved ones, David's son runs up and embraces his dad. Awww.
Holy shit, then Samuel L. Jackson shows up looking like he was power-dressed by Prince and Eraserhead. He starts talking like a mind-reading Professor X, ready to train David in the ways of the Force, now that he's found out he's immune to trains. (Eh? Get it? Train David in the Force? Because Sam Jackson was just in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.. Am I right?) In any case, "Are you ready for the truth?" is all we hear through the darkness. FUCK YEAH, I'm ready! Ready as balls! M. Night Shyamalan, take me on this dark, turpid journey through David Dunn's tragic but poetic back story. Then regale me in the sequel with his inner turmoils and survivor's guilt-filled struggles as he comes to realize his true potential. And lastly, give us sweet, sweet satisfaction with the climactic finale of trilogical epicness by showing us what we already know: Elijah, aka Mr. Glass, is the evil mastermind, building and grooming an arch-enemy out of his own lamentatious existence. We NEED this. Just.. You know.. As long as you don't do anything to ruin it, like only making one movie and ending it like this:
So yeah.. Unbreakable! I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this. I find it a bit weird that Touchstone is billing this as some kind of psychological thriller instead of a straight up, gritty comic book experience. I mean, we're rolling off the very recent X-Men success, the amazing Mystery Men, AND the out and out fantastic take on Blade. So what's the problem? Comic book movies don't have to be a bad thing. (I mean, as long as we just ignore Steel and Batman & Robin.. Seriously, Batman & Robin, you did a bad, bad thing to everyone and you know it.) My point is.. I think.. That, if promoted properly, this movie could totally be a crushing victory in the name of superhero movies, not to mention gathering up an entirely new audience for comic books in general. And who knows, five years from now, maybe everyone will be trying to do harsher, more reality-based things in the realm of fantasy and fiction? It could happen.
Interestingly enough, this had nothing to do with M. Night Shyamalan's birthday this month. But.. You know.. Happy birthday, Mr. Night Shyamalan!