My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above


Author Topic: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above  (Read 4678 times)

GenPion

  • Unbreakable

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 58
    • Email
My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« on: June 18, 2008, 03:14:04 AM »
Hey everyone. This is my first post here. I have browsed the forum every now and then and am a major fan of M. Night Shyamalan. If I had to choose my favorite film-makers I'd say he's third (only behind Steven Spielberg and Hayao Miyazaki). In many ways, however, I find his work to strongly connect with my emotions more than any other film-maker. I finally decided to join in order to share this with you all.

Anyway, I want to share my interpretation of this film. I hope I will be able to make my points clear to all of you. I had a sense on my first viewing that this movie was about more than just plants killing people with their emissions (although this obviously plays a major role in the movie - and this is a total B movie, a great one, both scary and thrilling - there is no doubt it my mind about it). M. Night, being the creative genius that he is left some wiggle room for people to interpret this movie in different ways.  Personally, I believe that God has something to do with all of it. Who else got chills watching the scene between Elliot and the boy who responds to his inquiry on it being the plants with "That's not what I think it is." This scene was not a paranoia driven scene, this was not additional commentary on our societies fears of terrorism and unknown threats - it was a genuine reflective moment that was quickly moved away from so the audience was not given time to ponder it's deeper meaning. The poster who recently found the parallel to the bible verses with the start and end time for the happening "events" really nailed this all down for me and helped me create a more firm understanding of what it was I had been trying to articulate in my own head.

Start Time: John 8:32
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

This means to me that following in the teachings of God, which includes the foundations of love, that mankind will be at peace. Unfortunately, mankind has not followed his teachings and we have not cared (or loved) our plants and wild-life at all. In essence, this is where the movie begins the "nature versus humanity" theme.

End time: Hebrews 9:27

"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."

The way I interpret this is that it all stops at this point in the film because of the love that exists between Elliot and his wife. Their union, their connection, demonstrated in the scene where the event ends is a breath-taking example of what is good about humanity: LOVE. Mankind cannot and SHOULD not end as Christ has to still bring salvation to us. But humans have been on a self destructive path and have not been able to receive this message. The mood ring used in the film also played a prominent role in leading us in this direction even if it was not included as a central element of this scene to drive the point home to audiences at large. I have read elsewhere that this was initially in the script. It is unfortunate that this was not left in-tact but in other ways I think it might make the movie deeper for those who care to spend time analyzing it like M. Night wants.

Anyway, so the deal is this: God caused the event to occur. The plants, the environment itself, that was not the direct cause. Why? Not as a form of Judgment Day, but as a warning to all of mankind -  that if we do not change our ways - both our societal problems towards each other and towards our own planet (which we NEED to survive) then we will fail, as will be most obvious for audiences to interpret from this film, as we shall essentially be killing ourselves.  So this event was not an act of nature in and of itself... it was an act of nature meant as a warning to us all.

The end of the film drove this point home for me: when the two men on television are debating what the cause was of the event - the shows host and guest. The guest essentially states: "This is unexplainable. We may never know. We have no answers to what has happened. But it was a WARNING, a warning to us all."

The naysayer TV host (who implied that most believe it was our government or something else more explainable) essentially stated: "Why did it begin and end at those specific times? 8:32 and 9:27? Why those random times? And wouldn't it have occurred in more than one place if it was supposed to be something else? A lot more people would believe it was a warning if it had occurred in more than just an isolated area."

Viola. The failure for people to believe in what had already happened, to heed the warning signs already given to us all, caused another event to occur. This time in Paris so as to prove the threat was something real - that we are our own enemies - and that failure to recognize our planet, our environment, and our own actions will cause terrible things to happen to everyone: Not just in a smaller portion of America and nowhere else. Not just in Paris. EVERYWHERE.

The final dialog spoken from the man in Paris is "My God..."

Coincidence or yet another piece of evidence to this interpretation?

He looks towards the ominous sky, as if looking to something above - as the clouds begin to move. This is how the movie ends - with a look towards the sky, towards something higher than earth. Just as it began - with the dark opening credits (which focused entirely on the ominous sky).

I think I am on to something. In any case, I believe that perhaps M. Night wants this film to be analyzed to some degree over time and that some will argue points for and against this type of case for the movie. Personally, I couldn't be happier with how intellectually stimulating this movie was for me.

Having seen it twice now I will also say that the movie is even more scary with a smaller crowd and late at night. Seriously... I got MAJOR goosebumps throughout the picture. This is the scariest film I have seen all year!

Upon my initial viewing I would give The Happening a B+ or A-. Upon my second visit, and my deeper analysis of the film, I'd have to say I'm leaning towards a solid A. :) 
« Last Edit: June 18, 2008, 03:22:54 AM by GenPion »

GenPion

  • Unbreakable

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 58
    • Email
Re: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2008, 11:50:57 AM »
Thanks. Yeah, upon reflection (and a second viewing) I loved the movie even more. And while I had read interviews with M. Night talking about the B-Movie side to it and the fact that a lot of the movie is "tounge in cheek" while other parts are meant to terrify the audience, and shock us, I really didn't know what to expect going in. Plus, as usual, the EXTREME negativity of a lot of critics also got me down thinking that maybe M. Night finally DID lose it. I was hesitant about this movie to a certain degree anyway as I was worried it would be nothing more than an apocayptic action film with no character development or substance at all. In other words, I feared M. Night might sell out since Lady in the Water failed to be a hit. Fortunately, I really feel (even more so now) that he made exactly the kind of movie that he wanted to. One that is scary, full of tension, dread, and atmosphere. One with humor, wit, and drama. A film with the same amazingly stylized shots. One that is meant as pure entertainment, thoughtful entertainment, and one that just has many levels. It's never preachy (which is good). It's just open to ideas that are worth thinking about. I think the trailers kind of suggested a different kind of movie. But, really, that is not so surprising... I feel like he needs a different marketing team! Seriously! Even M. Night said he was really upset over how Lady in the Water was marketed as a thriller (which it most certainly is not). I knew going in to Lady in the Water that it wouldn't be a thriller (thankfully, as those trailers were AWFUL... I knew going in to expect something different - many, however, did not). But he's continually had this problem. The Village was a Romance, and a Drama, with Political Undertones. I doubt people wanted that. They wanted a monster in the woods movie. Well, monsters can have many different kinds of appearances... and the Elders represented something that is wrong with people who shield the truth. You can't be held back from life and it's pain. You have to face both the reality of what is good and what is bad, and learn to live with it. Honestly, a lot of people need to just go to his movies expecting something special, because honestly the marketing kills peoples expectations. I think the only people that don't feel bothered by the trailers not sticking to what's actually in the films are his loyal fans. Most viewers probably feel upset, as they wanted to see a different movie than what they ended up getting. This is, honestly, kind of the case with all of his films (and to varying degrees as well).


As for my interpretation.... I'm not sure if it's exactly right or wrong. Obviously, I'm not sure at all. Only M. Night Shyamalan knows... even then, he may be on the fence between the different ideas that he seems to suggest. But I really feel like I'm on to something. Whether or not what I stated in my first post is meant as the exact message of the movie he means to send I don't know. I am, however, intrigued by the film's hidden depth. Honestly, having read AFTER seeing the film about how the movie might have hidden depth that is harder to see,  at the very least I felt it was intentionally done so that people would analyze this film over time and appreciate it's finer qualities.

I know I went totally off topic in this post but I guess I wanted to share some more of my thoughts on the film. I just, REALLY REALLY love it.

It scared me a lot too. I was even looking at trees and plants in a different light last night and this morning. I'm assuming it will wear off and not have an effect like Jaws had on people - but still, this was a very scary film. I'd probably say this is his scariest. While there is also a lot of gore in it the movie ultimately still relies on suspense and how tension is built and presented in scenes more than anything else.

Rohan

  • Global Moderator
  • Futuristic (After Earth)

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 2619
    • nightwriter22
Re: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2008, 12:21:15 PM »
The fillm is a message not only a thriller/suspense.

Rohan

GenPion

  • Unbreakable

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 58
    • Email
Re: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2008, 02:28:44 PM »
The fillm is a message not only a thriller/suspense.

Rohan

Yes. What's great about The Happening is also how it raises numerous questions that it never fully answers because they are the type of questions which are not explainable in any form of scientific or natural reasoning. The film means simply to leave these hints and clues to allow the audience to arrive at their own perception. Of course, many people will never go that far, as they have not gone there with any of M. Night's other works. Those who are opening to listening to this story, however, will feel enlightened. And even then,  how do we all view the film? There are numerous ways to interpret various events in the movie and it's writing. To me that marks this as a great movie and one that should be cherished.

To think that the other day I considered this movie a B+ but now I'd give it an A makes me laugh. I hadn't been able to fully grasp some of the deep layers of the movie because of how they were hidden this time. It reminds me of when I saw Lady in the Water. I picked up on a number of things as to what I felt the story was about with my first viewing but it wasn't until I watched it a second time that I had a better grasp of it. I'm still sad, to this day, that people simply look at M. Night's character in the movie as nothing more than a reflection of an egotistical maniac. The entire point was that those who could hear the message of the story would feel enlightened by it, as he has been enlightened by story's of the past, and the film reflects on the importance of finding your inner-self and place in this world. What is your destiny? Because all of the characters were destined for great things, to be an important part of the world, but none of them could see it until "Story" brought them to this realization by giving them new meaning. It restored the faith of Cleveland Heep and  turned this movie it's more than just a simple story but into yet another allegory for something much deeper (as all of his films have been).

Honestly, over the years - watching fellow fans of his work so casually give up on him and critics bash the man for personal reasons (ridiculous reasons) I had lost some faith in the movie-going public and their reception to his work. Now some of my faith has been restored just by how passionate I feel about his new movie. I'm guessing that someday more people will understand and respect his films, it will just take time and patience, as all of his films are reflective of his personality - a true mark of a genuine film-maker and realize that even a movie like The Happening means to leave the audience with an ultimately positive message - that even as an apocalypse may be coming something can prevent it: the strength of our love for ourselves, each other, and our environment.

Now that is what I consider brilliant.

Namaste

  • Futuristic (After Earth)

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 3217
  • Personal Text
    The divine in me bows before the divine in you.
    • myspace
Re: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2008, 04:17:53 PM »
As far as the scripture you chose, I dont understand why you picked those books (just arbitrary?) because IMO the verses dont really seem to synch up with the events you say they describe. It's an interesting idea though because when you have random times like that you know there must be something to the numbers; especially in a film by Shyamalan who does nothing randomly. That being said, however, I did get the feeling there was a some reference to intelligent design, supernatural intervention, etc when I watched the movie. And shyamalan does like to promote ideas like faith hope and love in his movies, so there's that.
See the villain's larger eyes insinuating a just-off-normal perspective on how they see the world? I see signs Lucius Hunt; just not as you see dead people. I am so very happy we saw..each other, and no I will not tell you what color love is. Stop asking.

courier

  • Praying with Anger

  • Offline
  • *

  • 4
Re: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2008, 06:30:08 PM »
In many religions it is predicted that there will come a time when God returns to the earth and establishes a kingdom of love and peace. However, this coming of God will also be a difficult time for many, that's why the word apocalypse, which in Greek means "lifting of the veil", is often associated with catastrophic imagery.

I think The Happening is an expression of the prophesied apocalypse.

What is God and how is His coming supposed to look? God is usually imagined as a being whose consciousness encompasses the whole universe, so imagine that His coming to earth represents an expansion of people's consciousness - beyond their usual perception and beyond their usual orientation on the limited ego. This is a consciousness of love that transcends the boundaries of one's ego and unifies the ego with other people, beings and nature. However, egos who resist this will experience hardships that might be destructive. This could be the message behind the suicidal behaviors in The Happening. When God's power is unleashed, lack of love leads to self destruction.

It has been noted by many that the experience of spiritual awakening, quickening or enlightenment may manifest pathologically with various mental and nervous problems. Joseph Campbell observed that "the schizophrenic is drowning in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight." Carl Jung spoke about the process of individuation, in which the individual psychologically grows and matures by opening himself up to ego-transcending consciousness but this process may also cause nervous problems, delusions and hallucinations. Jung also compared the process of individuation to the phenomenon of kundalini awakening, which originally comes from Eastern religions and means spiritual enlightenment. Wikipedia notes the following problems that can sometimes be associated with kundalini awakening: death, pseudo death, psychosis, pseudo psychosis, confusion, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, sadness, suicidal thoughts, urges to self-mutilate, homicidal urges, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), exacerbation of prior or current mental illness, insomnia, inability to hold a job, inability to talk, inability to drive, sexual pains, temporary blindness, and headaches.

Remember from the movie? The first stage - loss of speach. The second stage - disorientation. The third stage - fatal.

Rohan

  • Global Moderator
  • Futuristic (After Earth)

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 2619
    • nightwriter22
Re: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2008, 08:50:09 PM »
I agree with all.

The Happening is basically a message. A Question mark.

Rohan

GenPion

  • Unbreakable

  • Offline
  • ****

  • 58
    • Email
Re: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2008, 12:41:50 AM »
I still feel as though I am on to something but now I am not quite as sure what it is... I hope, and still feel, like this movie was given multiple layers and possible "explanations" (nothing in this film is explainable by ordinary means) but perhaps all M. Night really meant to say with the film is that we are killing ourselves by having so much hate and anger towards ourselves, each other, and our planet: mother nature. In the end, the only thing that can overcome this is love.

It may sound like a simple message to some but I feel as though it is very deep. I am starting to get the feeling that this is all we were (perhaps) meant to take from the film. But that isn't a bad thing. This film was full of question marks, and interesting ones at that.

Namaste

  • Futuristic (After Earth)

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 3217
  • Personal Text
    The divine in me bows before the divine in you.
    • myspace
Re: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2008, 12:52:21 AM »
Yeah, love is no small thing.
The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe.


-mutters to self- "fear and love fear and love fear and love.."

I've been digesting that spectrum for 2 years now.
See the villain's larger eyes insinuating a just-off-normal perspective on how they see the world? I see signs Lucius Hunt; just not as you see dead people. I am so very happy we saw..each other, and no I will not tell you what color love is. Stop asking.

srkbeno.1

  • Wide Awake

  • Offline
  • **

  • 16
Re: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2008, 08:43:39 AM »
WOW.. you guys are doing an awesome job

srkbeno.1

  • Wide Awake

  • Offline
  • **

  • 16
Re: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2008, 09:35:02 AM »
 General Mood Ring Color Indications:

    * Black is usually associated with negativity but in my own spiritual path, I find it also relates to any time that the Feminine Divine Energies are present. Some attributes of a black mood ring color that are negative would be if you were overworked, nervous about something, physically under par, etc. Be your own best judge. If it turns black during a time when you are feeling extraordinarily connected, benevolent and aware, then I'd say that's the Divine Feminine influence and certainly not negative.
    * Red is the color of passion and of anger. It can also represent energized action, an adventuresome spirit or major excitement over something that is happening or about to happen in your life.
    * Yellow is the color associated with mental processes, and with the ego self, or personality self as it is sometimes called. Yellow could occur when studying for a test, thinking hard about a problem or struggling with insecurity and/or puffed up pride.
    * Green is the color of living plants and is often associated with growth. Green is the color of the heart chakra. A green shade to your mood ring might indicate a healing time, a feeling of love, etc. It is generally considered the "average" color for a mood ring.
    * Blue is generally regarding as indicating a relaxed mood, someone who is at ease. As blue is also the color associated with the throat chakra, this shade may appear at a time when you are vocally struggling or vocally asserting yourself.
    * White is typically associated with feelings of being frustrated, confused or bored but, in my experience, white is also a color that can indicate very high spiritual energies so if you are not frustrated, confused or bored, don't let the mood ring tell you that it is a negative expression: it could be crown chakra energies expanding or integrating at a spiritual level.
    * Other colors generally described are pink (fear, or in cases where spiritual acceleration of the heart chakra are evident, pink can indicate the opening of the spiritual heart chakra center), purple (sensuality), orange (a state of wanting something), etc.

DILinator

  • The Happening

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 211
Re: My Interpretation of the Film: A Warning Sign from Above
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2008, 12:03:01 PM »
I also think you are on to something, and had that same feeling myself after watching it, especially the second time around.
"See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?"

I'm a "Signs" person.