This blog contains spoilers for The Happening
I am a big fan of M. Night Shyamalan. Signs, Sixth Sense, The Village, Lady in the Water and Unbreakable were all fabulous films. Intricate plots, great characters, surprise endings, everything worked in his movies.
Signs was incredible, the main plot about alien invasion worked, the sub plots of lost faith found was moving. Joaquin Phoenix was awesome, "Felt wrong not to swing" was amazing to find out why he felt that way and how it worked out.
Sixth Sense was brilliant, I did not know Bruce Willis was dead until the very end. And it's worth watching the film again and again to watch what is really happening, great film.
My favourite movie of Night's is The Village. The tensions throughout the film supplied by the mysterious creatures in the woods, Adrian Brody's great performance and again a superb character created by Joaquin Phoenix. The star in that of course is Bryce Dallas Howard, her quest to get medical supplies was amazing and provided a great surprise ending.
I recently watched The Happening. What happened? The trailers made it look amazing. However actually watching the film was not. I think this was Shyamalan's attempt at a global warming message film. It did not contain an intricate lace of plot and sub plots or any surpise ending. Maybe some of his films did not do as well because they were too intelligent for the general public. Maybe he made this film in a way as answer to his critics, I personally loved his movies, and I feel he may have dumbed this one down. I read some reviews of the film, and most of them missed the point. They focused on the suicide aspect of the film, not the revenge of nature, which I believe is what night was getting at. The suicide scenes were definitely unnerving and left me feeling a bit depressed. They were dramatic, etc but after awhile, they just sort of wore me down. And a bit like my complaints about Spielberg's War of the Worlds, how did the main character survive all the way through and end up in a lovely little city with his family. It was as if Grandpa and Grandma did not know anything was going on and just wondered why Tom was late for dinner.
I can deal with hopeless films. I can watch apocolyptic, vampire, zombie, etc films where there is no hope at the end of the film. I think the most dramatic suicide scene is at the construction yard, bodies just flying off the building. Was this Nights tribute to 9-11? I think the reviewers were wrong and right about the film. It was not about people contemplating suicide, it was about nature getting pissed off and doing something to the people so they would commit suicide, trees 1- people 0. Also the movie lacked pacing and tension, when Night is so good at that. It just sort of droned on with scenes of grass and trees blown by the wind and Marky Mark running with his family. Ok at the end, the same things happen in France. After the film I was sort of glad i live in the city, and don't like going to parks. Just because the trees emitted something to take away the suicide inhibition, why didn't some people fight it?
Note to Night, please please just forget about people who don't get your great films. Go on a holiday, find some inspiration, climb Everest, go on a vision quest or something but get back or go forward to making great films again.