Filtering by Tag: wikileaks
- The new M. Night Shyamalan film and Smith dynasty vehicle After Earth underperformed at the box office last weekend, opening in third place. Neither the film or its box office numbers interest me, but elements of its inception and marketing are curious. Up until a few years ago Shyamalan's name featured prominently in promotional materials for films (most recently in 2010 for the Shyamalan-directed Last Airbender and the Shyamalan-produced Devil). Yet during the months of promotion for After Earth the director's name wasn't mentioned. In a piece on the Mother Jones site Asawin Suebsaeng refers to Shyamalan "he who must not be named", and asserts that the director's decline from "the next Hitchcock" to a "critical and pop-cultural punchline" made his association with the movie a liability for the studio.
Much in the same way that a marketing campaign will go out of its way not to use the word "gay" when promoting a film about two despondent gay cowboys, the marketing campaign for After Earth
has gone out of its way not to mention the words "M. Night Shyamalan."
That sort of tells you everything you need to know about how highly Sony
thinks of the 42-year-old director and his current standing.
- Other commentators have focused what influence star Will Smith's affiliation with Scientology may have had on the film. (At the end of last year when trailers for After Earth and Oblivion were both playing before new releases I noted that not only the similarity between the film's post-apocalyptic-Earth plots, but also the fact that both movies starred prominent celebrity Scientologists.) The Hollywood Reporter ran an analysis of the film written by a former member of the church.
Will Smith’s character is pretty much devoid of all emotions for the
entire movie. While this may be part of his character or something that
was directed in the script, in Scientology, one goes through great
amounts of training and counseling to control one’s emotions and
“mis-emotion,” as described by Hubbard. Anyone who has done even the
smallest amount of Scientology training will recall sitting and staring
at a person for hours on end without being allowed to blink, smile or
turn one’s head. Will Smith pretty much masters that for the entirety of
Without being too obvious, Smith has delivered an incredibly mainstream platform for the Church's ideology. After Earth’s
subtext makes every beat feel like a nod to the lessons of L. Ron
Hubbard. Fleeing Earth to another planet only to return to home mirrors
the idea of thetan resurrection. The ship Cypher and Kitai take on their
mission isn't that far off from the Douglas DC-8–esque ship that took
Xenu's kidnapped souls to earth. And the prominently advertised volcano
that functions as a backdrop to a large After Earth set piece? Just look at the cover to Hubbard's book that started it all —Dianetics.
If After Earth were intentional propaganda, it would be an even
bigger failure than it already is – the path to self-enlightenment is
reduced to an overlong, tedious quest to find shit. Who wants to join
that club? For the strong-willed, fear may be a choice, but for everyone
else this weekend, avoiding boredom is an even clearer choice.
- Perhaps The Onion's analysis has it, and audiences found the gimmick of Smith-and-son starring in a movie "more annoying than appealing".
Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that I was an average, everyday American consumer. Would I enjoy seeing an incredibly rich and famous man use his money and power to make his children incredibly rich and famous? Would I
enjoy seeing the face of a young teenager plastered on movie posters
across the entire nation, not because of who he is, but because of who
his father is? To be totally honest, I’m not so sure I would. In fact,
it’s conceivable that I might find it unbelievably infuriating and
This book is a balefully seminal work in which neither author has the
language to see, much less to express, the titanic centralizing evil
they are constructing. “What Lockheed Martin was to the 20th century,”
they tell us, “technology and cybersecurity companies will be to the
21st.” Without even understanding how, they have updated and seamlessly
implemented George Orwell’s prophecy. If you want a vision of the
future, imagine Washington-backed Google Glasses strapped onto vacant
human faces — forever.
“Caretaker” invokes ’90s environmentalism, a superpower’s role as world
police, and two oppositional parties working together to run that
superpower as best as they can, but it’s nothing so much as a reminder
of Gene Roddenberry’s Prime Directive. Starfleet is expressly prohibited
from interfering with the progress of pre-warp societies. The
Caretaker’s species had no such guidelines and nearly wiped out a whole
species. Now, Voyager has the task of upholding Alpha Quadrant standards in the absence of Alpha Quadrant hierarchy.