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Friday, June 13, 2008

Review, "The Happening" ,an M. Night Shyamalan film

OK, so I have been literally counting down the days to see "The Happening" since last year when I heard about it, because I am a huge Shyamalan fan - I've even been known to call him a "genius" from time to time.

I certainly do believe that he is an under-appreciated writer and director. It might be his (or the marketing people that work for him) own fault, because every film after the hugely successful "Sixth Sense" has been advertised with something like "from the director of the Sixth Sense!"and the trailers have been edited to give a false representation that the movie we are about to see is similar to that spectacular one.

I think that Shyamalan has been testing his range with his movies. They all have that mysterious quality that threads them together, to make them identifiably his work, but I feel that he is discovering who HE is through his films. We see what he's asking himself and the things that concern him through his work. I read them as glimpses into his mind...which is very cool. But I truly believe that the best is yet to come from him.

I'm a huge fan of his, because I understand what he's trying to say and HOW he's trying to say it. Its a sensibility thing...maybe its an artist thing, who knows. But I GET the guy and his fantastic way of telling a story.

Having said that, I hate what I'm about to say...but I was a bit disappointed with this film. I knew that the previews would be misleading, although those scenes are definitely still strong and hard to handle. I think I watched most of the movie through my fingers (you hands covering my face?)

But, a major disappointed for me was with the casting of this film - I feel this makes a huge difference with his films, which are reliant upon how his characters move and react, through his storyline.

I usually like Mark Wahlberg in his "action" films...but unfortunately, I think he's a mismatch in this one. He's not one that conjures up "sensitivity" easily. I think his acting isn't at the level that a Shyamalan film requires (He might have been good in this if it had been cast like 10 years from now).
Its funny, because even before I saw any trailer or preview, I saw the poster advertising the film and when I saw Marky Mark (its what I will forever call him, lol) I did a double take and just internally screamed noooooooo, because I KNEW that he just wouldn't quite fit.

The premise of the film is a good (and relevant) one. One that I actually have been thinking about a LOT in recent years, especially with all the horrific tornadoes and earthquakes, etc. I've always thought that the earth can only take so much. It wasn't meant to be abused in this manner. There's a limit to what ANY living, breathing being will take, without there being dire and permanent consequences.

This film brings to light one such possible consequence...but it leaves you hanging. I don't ever expect a clear-cut ending from Shyamalan, but I certainly do expect more substantive sequences of events that leave me with better-informed questions as I walk out of the theatre.
I think he's brilliant, so I always expect to learn a bit more, through his films, about the topic he's dealing with and I usually do. But I felt a bit empty after this one and want more information from him. Why leave this film at just a mere 90 minutes, when there is SO much more to say??? I don't get it.

In my opinion, he focused his attention on the wrong characters. "Marky" and "Blue-Eyes" and the useless little girl aren't important...he should have made nature the main character. I think there are glimpses of it...but certainly not enough. I can imagine him remaking this film and by just tweaking a couple of things it would be incredible. But alas...

I just read a few reviews and they weren't too promising for poor Night, but Roger Ebert has much more eloquently (than I) touched upon the points of the film in his great review here.

NOW, my next countdown is for X FILES!!!!!!!!

OH MY FRICKIN GOD, I have missed Scully and Mulder!!!!!!



Back In Action said...

It was really weird - at the exact moment I was clicking your blog Brian said, " t h a t movie comes out today..."
Sorry to hear its a disappointment

Ana said...


Well, I wouldn't say its a disappointment, because there are some good scenes in it...but its definitely not Shyamalan's best. I feel so bad, because I truly think he's wonderful. He needs to get out of this "rut".
It's funny (and weird that I'm admitting this "out loud") but I've always thought that I would be working with him in a movie...that I would create artwork for a movie of his (I have this whole long, drawn out scenario that I replay in my head...its really weird).

Anyway...if you're not already a big fan of his, you might want to wait for the dvd on this one.

Back In Action said...

I'm totally a big fan too - me and brian have been anxiously awaiting another film. I really loved Lady in the Water.

It would be too cool for you to work on a film with him. Seriously, Anything is possible. I feel big things are coming. Did I spell that right? I'm a really bad speller : D