By Ryan Gaston
When he burst onto the scene in 1999 with his mind-bending ghost thriller ‘The Sixth Sense,’ M. Night Shyamalan was instantly viewed as a force to be reckoned with, and the release of his next few follow-ups, ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Signs,’ even garnered him such acclaim from critics as being heralded as the next Steven Spielberg. However, after making a string of critically and commercially acclaimed suspenseful thrillers, Shyamalan decided to try his hand at the world of comedy, and after finding even more success in that genre, he is showing no signs of ever returning to the films that originally made him a mispronounced household name.
Following up on the commercial success of his alien-invasion film, ‘Signs,’ Shyamalan next delivered ‘Lady In The Water,’ which left audiences everywhere unsure of this new direction he was taking his career, away from the twist-endings and mystery he had become so associated with before, and into the world of a nonsensical, almost humorous, mess. With no indication from Shyamalan that this was not supposed to be taken seriously, people were left bewildered, unsure if they had been caught up in an elaborate joke, and if so, what was the punchline?
His comedic direction became more clear with his next effort, ‘The Happening,’ in which he geared the film towards adults by making this his first R-rated picture, a fact that the movie studios proceeded to force down the throats of the general public with every piece of marketing they could cook up for the movie. Once again, Shyamalan served up another work that by all definitions and technicalities of the word was a film, but this time he even left the actors of the movie out of the loop, resulting in stagnant, unmotivated performances on-screen, while Shyamalan laughed behind the camera as he put another notch in his comedic belt.
It was not until his adaptation of the beloved children cartoon ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ into a feature film that his true Andy Kaufman-esque genius really shone through. Literally all he had to do with this project was take an established franchise and convert it from an animated cartoon, into a live-action feature film, a task no one could have ever imagined him being able to turn into a piece of comedy. However, once again, he proved himself to be amongst the elite when it comes to inside jokes, and while critics came after the film with torches and pitchforks in hand, Shyamalan sat back and smiled, knowing that he had laid another stone on the path that is surely to be one of the most elaborate schemes to get a laugh in the history of cinema.
In an attempt to pull another fast one on audiences, he even tried giving his ideas away to other directors to use, with the film ‘Devil,’ but once audiences caught wind that this was simply another Shyamalan ploy, the laughs came through harder and louder than ever before.
Having become well established now as a comic genius, Shyamalan has recently gone back to the drawing boards in preparation for his newest soon-to-be masterpiece, and sources close to Shyamalan have said this new project, which is so far untitled, could be the most absurdly asinine piece of work he has had his hand in yet. Shyamalan has even gone on record to say that those who have stayed with him through these last few comedic gems are in for another piece cinematic gold. “I’ve got a lot of ideas floating around right now, but there’s a lot of things still up in the air,” Shyamalan says in regards to the plot of his newest project. “I was thinking maybe of having the entire thing take place in an underwater colony at the bottom of the ocean, but not have it known until the very end they had been on Mars the entire time. And due to atmospheric changes on Earth, there had been an orbital shift in the planet’s rotation, and as a result, every night there was a full-moon, and a race of werewolves had taken over the planet.” After finally catching his breath after his uproarious laughing fit, when asked how the inhabitants of the colony had managed to get enough water to Mars to create an ocean, he replied quickly, and with a straight face, “Aliens.”
When asked how he thinks audiences might respond to such a ridiculous premise for a movie, he slowly gazed around the living room of his Pennsylvanian mansion, and said “Did you see ‘The Last Airbender? Considering that they didn’t catch on after that one, I think I’ll be just fine.”