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Knowing — good premise, bad execution

By April 20, 2009 March 27th, 2018 No Comments

Every now and then a movie comes along that I think is going to be really cool but ultimately turns out to be a huge disappointment. Jumper was one of those. Who wouldn’t love the ability to transport him or herself anywhere in the world at will? The International was another. And now, I’ve added Knowing to the list.

The full title of this film should be “Knowing what I know now I wouldn’t waste my time or money.” When it was finished I left unsatisfied. It had a great premise, but the execution was just flat as could be.

The storyline is a little girl in 1959 is hearing voices telling her to write down a lengthy series of numbers. She does, and puts them in a time capsule that is part of her new school’s dedication. Fifty years later, the time capsule is opened and each student at the school receives something out of the capsule. While everyone else gets a drawing of what kids in the past thought the future would look like, young Caleb Koestler (Chandler Canterbury) gets the page with all the numbers on it.

Normally, that would be a bad thing. Lucky for him, though, his dad John (Nicholas Cage) just happens to be an astrophysicist at MIT. When dad sets his drink down on the paper accidentally it leaves a ring. The ring just happens to circle a group of numbers including 9112001, which of course is 9/11. The numbers right after happen to be the exact number of people killed that day at the World Trade Center. For some reason John makes the connection and then starts researching other numbers on the page. (Did I say it was really long?) Turns out those numbers correspond to other disasters throughout the last 50 years. There are three more left, all within the next few days.

Ok, so what was the point of the whispering people telling the girl all this stuff if it was going to be hidden for 50 years? What are the odds that of all the people to get the paper, it’s the son of an astrophysicist with time on his hands? What are the odds that two of the last three disasters will be within driving distance of John’s house?

The idea of mysterious aliens (or whatever they are) watching over the Earth and trying to keep the human race going is intriguing. So is the concept of the predictions. But in the end, no one can do anything about them, including the big “surprise” at the end.

When it was over the credits were rolling, a guy behind me said out loud “That’s the dumbest movie I’ve ever seen.” I’m not sure it’s the dumbest. But it was close.

— Reviewed by Ken Krause

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