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The Happening Movie

Updated on October 23, 2015

I give M. Night Shyamala's latest film one single solitary star for philosophical unsoundness. I will admit the cinematography is well done, and the score was also good. Therefore, I would recommend that Syamala become a film adviser instead of making his own movies. I would also like to point out before I go into the philosophically unsound moments that Syhamala wishes, desperately wishes he could be Alfred Hitchcock. The music over the opening credits reminded me of North by Northwest . The plot of The Happening is almost like The Birds . Also, the scene with the crazy old woman and her strange doll must have been directly inspired byPsycho . Paying homage to and alluding to other films is fine. It serves a purpose because it highlights the themes the movies share. However, one should not try to be someone else. Shyamala should not try to be Hitchcock, but instead be himself.

Now, onto the philosophical unsoundness, which leads to a poor theme. The Happening is about the environment, specifically plants, attacking man for his pollution and cutting into the environment. Of course, this sounds like a horror film more ridiculous than the latestSaw installment, but do not imagine the trees walking around using their limbs as claws ripping men in half, and having altercations with the U.S. military. Instead, the trees are releasing poisonous gases, and for most of the movie, the characters cannot figure it out.

The problems with The Happening I have already addressed in my several posts on environmentalism. However, I will still briefly address them. First, the gas that the trees release cause men to become confused and kill themselves. Thus, the film's theme is that not preserving the environment is suicide. Man is responsible for his own death if he does not sustain the environment in its stagnant form. The truth is man would be committing suicide if he did not understand the environment, and did not use that understanding to control it. If man had preserved the environment as the environmentalists would have liked the industrial revolution would not have happened, New York city would not exist, there would be no trains, planes, or automobiles. Those things only exist because man knows how to control the environment. If he preserves it, he does not control it, he lets it exist by its own demands.

However, the environment cannot make demands, for it has no reason. Therefore, the environment would grow, clamor, and distort in strange gross abnormalities arbitrarily, which leads to my second problem with the picture. I understand that plants evolve to release certain chemicals or grow certain ways to exist. However, to assume that plants will release toxins lethal to humans once stimulated by humans assumes that the plants have reason. A plant has no idea if the wind, another plant, an animal, a bug, or a human is moving around it. Therefore, the plant cannot release toxins specifically harmful to humans, for the tree does not know if a human or just the wind is moving it. Furthermore, the plant must be able to associate humans with lumbering, pollution, etc. Plants have no mind to make that connection.

The most disgusting theme of this movie, however, is that man is infinitely inferior to nature, and that man can never truly understand it. Right from the beginning of the Mark Wahlberg (which I will add provided a one-dimensional whiny performance) asks his class for some theories about why honey bees are disappearing. Some of the answers include, pollution, global warming, cell phones, etc. However, Wahlberg identifies the best answer as, "It is an act of nature and man will never truly understand it." What? That is not even an answer. That is just saying that man is too ignorant, and he should not even try. If man was that stupid then the industrial revolution would have not occurred, New York city would not exist, there would be no planes, trains, or automobiles, the atomic bomb would have not even exploded. Furthermore, Wahlberg is a science teacher in this movie; therefore, he is concerned with understanding reality, or supposedly. Wahlberg should have identified that answer as unacceptable. However, if he thinks that answer is valid he should not be a science teacher or a teacher period. Science is concerned with understanding reality. Teachers help others know truths and facts. Wahlberg has just taught his students that man will never understand. Consequently, according to the film, man should preserve the environment because he cannot understand it. However, that is a contradiction. If man cannot understand the environment, then he cannot understand he is harming it. However, by arguing that man should preserve the environment so as not to harm it indicates that man understands he is harming the environment; therefore, man does indeed understand the environment. Additionally, if man does not truly understand the environment, then there is no way for him to prevent this happening from ever occurring again. However, Shyalama closes the film by showing an interview with a scientist identifying The Happening as a warning, and then showing The Happening occurring in another part of the world. Unfortunately, Shyamala has already identified man as too ignorant to understand nature; therefore, he cannot understand how to prevent this even from happening again. Thus, Shyamal'a'swarning has no meaning. His warning cannot be headed.


Of course, the truth is man does understand nature, and he rightly uses that nature to control it. Thus, man is not infinitely weak compared to nature. Nature does not need to be merciful in the face of human surrender because man is not weak enough to surrender, and because nature is mindless; thus, it cannot be merciful. However, Shyamala depicts this when Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, and Ashlyn Snachez accept that the cunning plants will kill them so they go outside to breath the toxin, but the plants are no longer releasing the toxins. A better method would have been for man to discover a way to prevent the toxins or live with the toxins. Instead it was nature that had to stop acting because man, once again, was just to ignorant and weak. He had to give up, kneel before nature, and say, "Kill me. I have wronged you. I do not know what I am doing. I cannot control you. I do not deserve to live." Man deserves to live more than the environment. Man has reason. The environment is ignorant. Man should be striving for the day where he does not need the environment, for he can create his own environment and control it. Man would not be committing suicide by doing this. He would be living more fully than every before. Adhering to Shyamala's argument is suicide. Man must control the earth or die. It is not a threat. No one is coming to kill men who do not control the environment. It is only a fact that they will die, for they will not be living for themselves, but for the ignorant lifeless environment.

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