Sunday, April 12, 2009

Signs Meets Some Numbers

Knowing could have been so much better. My friend Jay says that it is Christian allegory, but I don't see that side of it. I really don't. I think that there is nothing allegorical about it. It is straight-on, a question of faith from what I saw. My brother said it sucked. I was just annoyed by the ending, really but didn't mind most of the rest of the flick. First of all, Ebert gave this four stars and seems to be truly impacted by the roll of the dice vs determinism question. Ebert also gave Signs four stars but seemed to revel more in the idea of the fear being built at that time, along with the anti-payoff, than he did in the issue of faith that the movie brought out for me. To me these are the same movie really with different endings. 

To me, Signs is a much better film. While the Aliens come and there are crop circles (let's face it, that part is a little ludicrous), we see how the faith of one man becomes restored based on a prognostication by his dying wife that the former Preacher has to recognize, thereby getting his life back. Here, with Knowing, we have a Minister's son who after his wife dies, thinks that "Shit Happens" and there is no pre-ordained determination of how things happen and comes to believe only through some preprinted numbers on a sheet of paper that indicate to him that God has a very specific plan. Oh yeah, and there are Aliens who just happend to have gotten God's memo and nab some kids to prepopulate another world with Earth's children. We didn't see any pre-existing colonies like we did at the season finale of Battlestar Gallactica though. (I'm just saying.) 

So the payoff for Mel Gibson's character is that he gets his mind and his family back and get's to see the world through eyes of faith. The payoff for Cage's character is that his kid survives, he hopes, and then he burns to a crisp. And Ebert says that Signs didn't pay off? 

Lastly, I'm not buying that you either A) think that there is determinism or B) think that things are accidental. I lie somewhere in the middle, personally. Just because I might believe in God, doesn't mean I think that fate and plan are tied irrevocably to that belief in God. But, that is another story. 

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