Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Happening and Shyamalan's work overall

This past weekend, Goblin and I went to see M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening". While it was not his best, we enjoyed it. If you are not a rabid fan of M. Night Shyamalan (which, we both are), the movie may not be your cup of tea. It is a bit slow paced. It wants to be a horror film, however, there is little tension. And, it's not quite a character study either. You only really get to know the main married couple (Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel), and you don't really get to know them all that well. I think Shyamalan could have done a better job on both fronts.

After having a few days to sit with the film, here is my current ranking of Shyamalan's films from best to not as good (Sorry, I can't say 'worse' because I really do like his work, even if some of it could have used a little extra something):

  1. The Sixth Sense

  2. The Village

  3. Unbreakable

  4. Signs

  5. Lady in the Water

  6. The Happening

The film was not the comeback I had hoped of for Shyamalan. However, it was not so abysmal to shelve his career either.

Two things that we noted after watching this film. First, Shyamalan did not have an actual walk-on in this one (he's credited as a character who didn't end up with any screen time in the theatrical release - we'll probably see him on the DVD). He has in all his other films. Second, in discussing "The Village" we realized that it is the only one that does not require an acceptance of anything fantastic or speculative. Maybe that's why it's one of my favorite all time movies. Yes, I know I ranked it behind "The Sixth Sense". I did so because 6th Sense was very groundbreaking. And, it got Shyamalan noticed.

I still haven't seen his earlier directorial works "Wide Awake" or "Praying with Anger", but I intend to get them on my Netflix queue. Amusing trivia, he wrote the screenplay for "Stuart Little".

And, by the way, I like "Signs" more each time that I watch it. The first couple of times that I watched it, I was under impressed. However, the character development in the movie is what keeps me coming back to it.

I hope that Hollywood is not done with Shyamalan. He has a different sort of vision than most film makers. I look forward to his next offering.


Summer said...

I put Signs at number one, everytime I watch it I see somthing new. I was disappoointed with The Happening. I did not like the ending. I wanted a creepy ending, not an evironmental message. I enjoyed The Sixth Sense and The Village also.

Kitten Herder said...

Summer - You like Signs!!! That's awesome. So many people scoff at Signs.

I understand your feelings about The Happening. I was disappointed that it did not come off better. He really needed something noteworthy after Lady in the Water.

I'm looking forward to the DVD. I'm hoping there will be bits there for fans of his that might improve the film from our perspective.

Still, he really does have a unique vision, I think.