Film Re: I’d Rather Go Down on a Goat
posted by June 18 at 15:05 PMon
So, I know you guys have already discussed it to death already, but I promised you I would investigate M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening (and any intelligent design tendencies therein) over the weekend. And so I did.
Whatever its other faults (and there are plenty), The Happening is not intelligent design propaganda. The lecture about disappearing honeybees that science teacher Mark Wahlberg delivers is totally incoherent, but it doesn’t follow that its particular brand of nonsense is the cleverly disguised creationism we’ve all grown to know and love. Yes, the science teacher uses the phrase “just a theory.” But he’s using it in the colloquial sense—he’s actually criticizing a student’s hypothesis, not evolution or gravity or another thoroughly substantiated explanation of natural phenomena. And even as he asserts that sometimes it’s proper to attribute scientific phenomena to “an act of nature,” he drills his students on a decent approximation of the scientific method. There is some nonsense about “rapid evolution” that occurs across several separate populations simultaneously, but that’s just a junk-science plot convenience. It won’t make anyone more susceptible to believing in ID.
The funny thing is, in the movie’s universe, “an act of nature” is no mystery. It’s literal.
I’m hiding the rest of this after the break, but honestly, I don’t see how something can be a spoiler when it’s revealed in the first half hour. (There is no final act twist—Shyamalan has abandoned his gimmick.)
In this movie, “an act of nature” can be taken literally: “Nature” acts. Basically, the trees and grasses and bushes are pissed because people are living too close together. So they release some poison that blocks people’s instinct toward self-preservation—and it’s soooooooo powerful that the people promptly kill themselves using the nearest available hairpin, towering height, tiger, lawn mower, wall, etc. The Happening (isn’t it amusing that a movie this square has a title recalling ’60s performance art?) observes that the U.S. population is the most dense in the Northeast. So it’s only Northeastern trees that “rapidly evolve” this toxic spray. The moral of the story is: Reduce the human population, or else.
But at the end, why not reproduce? A Mark Wahlberg-Zooey Deschanel baby would be soooo cute! That’ll show them trees.