Director Wars: Nolan vs Shyamalan 2

July 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Christopher Nolan M. Night Shyamalan

In part one of Director Wars: Nolan vs Shyamalan, I talked about wanting needing to be inspired by the movies I watch.

Both Christopher Nolan and M. Night Shyamalan have created original movies that have fueled my passion for screenwriting and filmmaking.

For years now, on the successes of The Sixth Sense and Signs, Night has been my favorite director.

However, the quality of his films have unfortunately diminished over the last few outings and left an opening for Christopher Nolan to become the new champ.

I left it all in the hands of their work.

  • Signs is my favorite movie of all time.
  • The Dark Knight sits at number 2.
  • The Sixth Sense was one of the coolest and original ghost stories ever.
  • Memento, The Prestige and Batman Begins are all solid and original films.

Both filmmakers craft interesting and entertaining movies that are filled with thrills and challenge our minds.  It’s these types of movies that inspired me to become a screenwriter in the first place.  I’m in debt to them both for constantly reminding me what hard work and dedication can achieve.

Who wins?

It was all up to the 2010 summer movie season where Shyamalan would release The Last Airbender and Nolan countered with Inception.

Director Wars: Nolan vs Shyamalan

Christopher Nolan has officially surpassed Shyamalan and become my all time favorite director.

Click here to read my review of The Last Airbender

Click here to read my review of Inception

Truthfully, it wasn’t even close.

While Signs remains my all time favorite movie, I can’t help but feel that M. Night Shyamalan has banked on his name instead of his stories to succeed.  He created three  straight classics (Or four if you count The Village.) and was basically given a blank check for his future projects.

He used his position of power to create Lady In The Water and The Happening. When those movies failed he turned to an existing property.  One of the reasons I love filmmakers like Night is because of the  original stories they create.  While I definitely didn’t enjoy his last few movies, at least he took a chance.

Having said that, he did miss and I believe he bought into his own hype.  His films had an arrogance to them.

For example:

Casting himself as a writer that would one day change the world in Lady seemed a bit out of place considering he is in fact a writer.

The Last Airbender just seemed lazy and the screenplay was the worst part.  Even after all the criticism and harsh words he has received, he still seems oblivious to the critics.  He’s more determined than ever to do things his way.

I have to admit, I respect him for that but in order to remain a massive fan, I have to enjoy his movies.  I haven’t.

I do hope he will return to form someday and make another movie that inspires me.  I won’t hold it against him like some people have over the years.  He’s putting his heart and soul into his films and I wish Hollywood studios put more faith in artists like him.  You never know when you’ll get another Sixth Sense.

On the other side of the coin is Christopher Nolan. A director who has an incredible resume.  He took original ideas and crafted outstanding screenplays (credit his brother Jonathan as well) then executed them perfectly on the screen.  His imagination seems limitless and the studios wrote him a blank check as well.

What does he do?

He creates films like The Prestige and then completely DOMINATES one of the most precious franchises of all: Batman.

Not only that, he followed up Batman Begins with arguably the finest comic book adaptation in history in The Dark Knight. A film that featured one of the best villains we’ve ever seen!

Then what?

He begins to work on a 160 million dollar passion project called Inception

The hype begins to build.

How will he follow up after the success of The Dark Knight?

Inception was a phenomenal film.  It really is a modern day classic and a masterful piece of filmmaking.  Sounds pretty deep but it is such an intelligent story that’s filled with entertaining action and visuals.  How can you not praise the high level of creativity.  Whether you loved Inception or not you have to admit it was a pretty clever story.

When you compare that to The Last Airbender, it stops being a competition.

Nolan wins this round and as a result…

I have a new favorite director!

Christopher Nolan Director Inception

The Aftermath

The race was actually closer than you might think. I have a deep respect for both of these directors.  They have each created films that have inspired the writer I wish to become someday.

We all owe a small measure of our success to those who inspired us to go down an unknown road.  A road that may not lead to success at all but thanks to films like Inception and Signs, I’m determined to find out where it goes.