From: Summit Entertainment
Film Rating: PG 13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)*
*additional content may not be rated
A shameful waste of a great movie premise, Knowing starring Nicholas Cage as Joe Goingthroughthemotions (or whatever his name was) starts out with great promise.
In between bouts of videogame-grade CGI disasters, Knowing starts to explore the pseudo-science of numerology - the study of prophecy by way of hidden numeric code within text, particularly the bible, though in this case, as scrawled out on looseleaf by some 8-year-old whacko.
Knowing also hints at an argument between determinism and randomness, of quantum mechanics suggesting fate set in stone vs "$h!t happens," and goes on to suggest that of the many kooky cults dedicated to finding life's numerically coded playbook hidden amongst ancient text and symbols hidden in plain sight, one of them just might be on to something.
It even provides some chills with ethereal, men-in-black types of frightfully pale complexion suggesting a coven of them might be hiding a mile underground, with black stone Tektite safeguarding the lot them - and anyone clever enough to join them - from sunlight and perhaps, oh, a world-ending solar flare.
Turns out, they're just extras who haven't had a gig since Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Just before that, however, the whole story arc is dumped in favor of a sudden and garish contrivance that insists Adam and Eve came to earth on a space ship. Say what?!
Not that there's anything wrong with creationism movies, but to come out of nowhere, forgoing three quarters of film and then hamfisting a twist that insults both religion and science is just brutal. You will groan.
Had the DVD included some sort of director's commentary, mayhap an explanation as to how the corporate suits forced a homogenized, white-toast ending of unwarranted reconciliation with a one-line dad while frolicsome kids play house on a virgin planet - oh, and put some damn bunnies in there, everyone loves bunnies - then the bizarro plot shift might be at least understandable, though never forgivable. There are no such extras on the DVD. Nadda. Zilch.
In the end, the only thing worth watching is Knowing's spectacular disaster sequences, which are as imaginative as they are unconvincing.
Though a one-time wonder to behold (read: rental-worthy) and a testament to CGI technology, the main problem with the scant few calamity sequences is the presence of Nicolas Cage. To say nothing of the actor's "method," Cage clearly just isn't there; you can so easily tell he's computer doctored in post-production and otherwise responding to look-there, hot-here, let's-break-for-lunch direction.
At one point, immediately following an airline crash in your lap, an immolated airline crash survivor goes running by in a shriek of flame and agony. Nic pauses, looks befuddled, mutters "hey, wait" then moves along to go stand toe-deep in a splotch of flaming jet fuel like it was a snowman. Reaching halfway into said flame then hesitating about helping the burning sot in the middle of it for fear of ...what? Fire? Dude, your hands are already in the fire! Doesn't that hurt? Pfft. Actors.
There's also a rather magnificent subway derailment scene, subdued only by its defiance of physics by displaying train cars with more destructive impetus than Everest toppling over.
Not to ruin the ending (the film does that for you), but the world-ending firestorm finale is pretty spiffy - and if you turn the film off right there, you just might miss the god-awful, God-drives-a-spaceship epilogue.
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