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15 years ago Unbreakable became the superhero movie we need now, by A.V. Club


Stashed in: Film, @samuelljackson, Bruce Willis, Are You Not Entertained?, Heroes!, Awesome

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15 years ago?!

Yesh! And it's hard to remember how bad superhero movies were back then.

In 2000, there were few superheroes in movies. Joel Schumacher had kamikazed Batman, Bryan Singer’s X-Men was beta-testing audiences’ threshold for geekier properties, and Spider-Man’s record-breaking opening weekend was still two years away. The possibility that Norse gods, shrinking high-tech suits, and purple aliens coveting galactic jewelry would dominate our theaters would have seemed ludicrous. Now that all that has happened, what’s become unbelievable is that no film could have a greater impact on the modern escapades of the caped and cowled than one currently celebrating its 15th anniversary: M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable

Unbreakable was something of an oddity in 2000. It was an origin story when non-comic readers were unfamiliar with them. It was a serious-minded, reality-based superhero movie when there were none. Not only that, but it was an unconventional hero narrative, in which security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is led to believe that he has powers by an osteogenesis-imperfecta-suffering comic devotee, Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson). It was a small-scale origin story not about a hero needing to learn how to use new powers, but one that made a mystery—one unsolved until late in the movie—out of whether its hero even had powers at all.

So funny, my kids just had an M. Night Shymalan movie weekend. 

Any movies besides Sixth Sense and Unbreakable worth watching?

I feel that it's my destiny to be an arch-nemesis! Troutgirl's arch-nemesis!

Sounds fishy ....

Adam, I loved Signs.  However, my sons hated it.  So there's that.

I love the music of M's movies, scored by James Newton Howard.  

Halibutboy I believe you!

Geege, I vaguely remember signs. What did you love about it?

That score is very good!

Everyone expected a suspenseful tale of alien invasion but it was in reality a story of human tragedy (why sons were disappointed) and the revelation of a "plan" from beyond the grave that redeemed Mel, his family, the entire human race.  At the time of the movie's release, criticism was lobbed at the ridiculous vulnerablity of the aliens. The moviegoer has to accept Signs isn't really about aliens (like Mel is led to accept that death doesn't fully separate the living from the dead) to enjoy it.  Deeply symbolic, metaphorical film.  Signs.

That seems to be the common theme for M Night: accepting who we are and what has happened. 

Thank you for that perspective Geege. 

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