VIDEO: Unbreakable (2000)

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Ursa kicks off October with Unbreakable, one of the few M. Night Shyamalan movies with a twist that makes sense. Come for the Bruce Willis, stay for Samuel L. Jackson, deconstruction of the superhero genre, and “Ohhh…how did I not see that coming?”

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  • The Dark Knight was definitely responsible for the pervasiveness of gritty realism in comic book movies, and the “superheroes but without the names or costumes” thing had been going on since Smallville premiered, so I don’t think any of that can be laid at the feet of Unbreakable. Plus, the film isn’t really “realistic” so much as it’s reality being invaded by fiction. It’s very Grant Morrison-esque in that sense. (fun fact: Grant goes on at great length about this movie in his book “Supergods”. He’s quite the fan.)

  • MichaelANovelli

    “Fantabulous?” Geez, I’m infecting everybody around here…

  • Hal_10000

    I’m glad to see someone else appreciates Unbreakable. Really the last great movie M. Night made.

  • Hitchmeister

    Unbreakable is a great movie, but it was also the first to show the cracks in M. Night Shyamalan’s movie making. The Sixth Sense was filled with strange, stilted “dialog” which made perfect sense once the twist was revealed. It made those scenes so much more meaningful in retrospect. Unbreakable was filled with strange, stilted dialog which was forgiven because it had such a great story. All of his later movies have strange, stilted dialog because that’s just how he writes and directs any scenes with dialog.

  • If you want to talk positively about a film and also mention a Shyamalan film (really the only thing he did half-decently was Signs, which is more ridiculous the more you look at the script), you must redeem it with these words:
    “Where do you think we are right now?”
    or, possibly
    “Come on JD. None of this is real.”
    Two of the best twists I’ve seen in my life. Unbreakable had me so apathetic to the film by the time the twist came around that I didn’t care (I largely gave up right around the time that he revealed his loses all of his power when in contact with an element that he is made 70% of, which largely implies that he is one of the aliens from Signs. I did get a fun meme out of it that I ran with for a few years – and would have ran with again had anybody actually died by water in After Earth. Biggest disappointment of that movie.

    • Jill Bearup

      He doesn’t lose his power, he just can’t swim (esp in clothes while tangled in a waterproof sheet), and he CAN drown. Having super-strong bones, muscles and skin is only useful if you’re not sinking like a rock with no way to get oxygen in your lungs.

  • Alexa

    *SOME SPOILERS* I don’t know about Twelve Monkeys, Looper, Perfect Blue, The Usual Suspects, Shutter Island, having twist endings where they didn’t make sense. Sure I have only seen Shutter Island once, but I don’t believe the ending in that was really a twist ending, in fact it could be possible that Leo DiCaprio’s character was right and the people there were tricking him into believing such. I mean it could work either way, that he could be crazy or the people want him to think he’s crazy, so I don’t think it was twist really because it felt ambiguous on what was the truth, at least for me. Plus Looper’s ending didn’t feel like a twist but more of an inevitability for the character to set things right, in other words it didn’t necessarily surprise me. As for the rest I won’t get into it, but I just disagree that the endings came out of nowhere, for the most part.

    Also poor Shayamalan, I mean I really enjoyed not only this and The Sixth Sense, but also even The Village, which I guess is my movie that I like that everyone else hates. Even Signs had potential, it was very atmospheric and I liked the music and pace, it just was way up its own butt to take seriously…

    • Jill Bearup

      The List was the result of asking Twitter for, quote, ‘films with twist endings that don’t make a lick of sense.’ Some answers came up more than others though. Like “The new Planet of the Apes” came up multiple times. I don’t think I’ve seen more than one of the films on the list, so I have reserved judgement until I do. 🙂

      • Alexa

        Well I hope I didn’t spoil anything and everyone has their own interpretation, but really see the ones I pointed out they’re awesome especially Looper, and Perfect Blue which is animated and gorgeously so. Also yeah the ending to Burton’s Planet of the Apes came out of nowhere…; : /
        Really when you think about it Burton and Shayamalan aren’t that different in that they started out really promising, even making great films, but had really hard falls from grace, and now are kind of unbearable.

        • Jill Bearup

          There’s a video someone who isn’t me should make: Burton vs. Shyamalan: are they one person in two bodies, doomed to mirror each other no matter what? (I think this may also be true of George Lucas and Andrew Lloyd Webber).

          • Alexa

            Well that’s the price of a big ego, I suppose…

        • Thomas Stockel

          I don’t think Burton is completely hopeless, though. His career has been sprinkled with epic failures and wonderful successes, and films that divide fans into one camp or another. I loved Mars Attacks, for example, while others despise it. Ed Wood is a masterpiece, I enjoyed Sweeney Todd. I didn’t see Frankenweenie but I think Joey here at the Booth thought it was awesome.

          But for M. Night it just seems like his career began sucking with Signs and has not let up. His weaknesses showed early and he has proven he hasn’t grown as a director or learned anything from past mistakes.

          • The Horror Guru

            I also thought Frankenweenie was awesome. =) Then again, I usually find a lot of the recent films people actively hate are not that bad. That’s not to say I find movies like Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory great – they’ve got their problems, but I don’t understand people who act like they’re the worse movies ever made. They’re passable kid’s movies with good and bad moments. I think the only two times I’ve fully agreed with the negative criticism were Planet of the Apes and Dark Shadows, honestly. Though even then, people who trash Planet of the Apes but give no pause to mention how fantastic Tim Roth’s performance was also confuse me. =P

          • Alexa

            Well I haven’y seen Frankenweenie, and I will say I enjoyed Sweeney Todd immensely, Burton really shined in that project. And there were aspects to Alice and Charlie that did work, but I don’t know they both felt like they could of been better. Especially the use of CGI which made the films pretty ugly in my opinion. Not saying I hate Burton or anything, nearly half the films he’s done are absolute favorites of mine, just that some of his most recent work came up short, with a few exceptions. The guy should take a que from Frankenweenie and hopefully get back on track, which is more then I can say for Shayamalan (the stink of Avatar isn’t wavering anytime soon it seems), but who knows…

          • Thomas Stockel

            Apparently he didn’t do himself any favors with After Earth, either.

      • filmguy450

        Having “Perfect Blue” and “Lady In The Water” on that list kills me!

        “Perfect Blue” does have a twist, sort of, depending on your interpretation of the ending, but even if it does, it does actual make sense (not necessarily the, “oh how did I miss that” kind, but it doesn’t create plot holes a la all of “Prometheus”).

        As for “Lady In The Water” (and I am not interesting in discussing the good/ bad merits of the film, that is separate entirely), but what twist? I am very serious here. I don’t get it when people talk about the twist in that movie, there isn’t one that I can point out.

  • Thomas Hayes

    Nice red top you’re wearing there Ursa. *subtle*

    • Jill Bearup

      I am *extremely* subtle. Like a brick. 🙂

      • Thomas Stockel

        I see what you are trying to do, Ursa. You think wearing the red top will make us think you are the hero. But your set is shades of purple, now isn’t it?

  • danbreunig

    Speaking of picking up on details long after the first time around…

    “it’s less of a twist ending and more just something that the writer has pulled from…somewhere unmentionable…”

    I think you’re the only Boother whom I’ve never heard swear yet. Just an observation…and quite an achievement, really.

  • Thomas Stockel

    Oh God, you have no idea how difficult it was for me to finish this video when you began showing the NCIS stills. That show is like my kryptonite.

    • Jill Bearup

      *sniggering* I love NCIS. It’s predictable and it changes at a glacial pace and it’s like a throat soother for the soul.

      • MichaelANovelli

        Frickin’ Tony and Ziva, man!