09 September 2008

Long since spoiled, but: SPOILER

Bruce and I are probably the last people on earth to have seen The Happening (well, of anyone who’d planned to see it I guess). Similarly, we were determined to be the only people on earth who did not hate it entirely.

We were doing a rather good job of it too: humming and hawing about how it was a little cheesy but not so terrible, and wasn’t he sort of trying to emulate Hitchcock? (my ingenious love spotted this), however unsuccessfully, and the premise was good, it’s only unfortunate that the writing had to be so terrible. And the acting. And the plot. And that’s when it all started to fall apart.

There were even some unforgivably stupid moments, such as when the train stopped in the small town and refused to take them any further, so they all congregated in the diner. After hearing a news report about how they were smack in the middle of all the trouble, a disembodied voice cried out: “This isn’t happening 90 miles from here, c’mon let’s go!” and everyone sped off in their cars except for the leads. Marky Mark was uselessly trying to hitch a ride for himself and his bug-eyed girlfriend and their surrogate child, crying desperately as the last car raced away, “We haven’t got a vehicle!”

And I turned to Bruce and asked, Should any of them have vehicles? They all arrived on the same train!

Absent too was the famous M Night Shyamalan twist, and if there was one, he gave it away straight off (I realise a twist can’t be given away straight off, but in the absence of anything else, I imagine he’d counted on us forgetting the important little aside about nature’s inexplicable…well, nature). I mean, at the very least, the guy who had a good relationship with plants should have met a better end than an off-camera gun-shot to the head. The famous twist was also absent from Lady in the Water, though, which makes me think M Night has finally made enough money to shed the restrictive conventions of mainstream cinema to pursue his real passion: bad student art films.

So even with the negative press in mind, I was still quite disappointed with the experience and can only imagine how people who paid to see it in theatres must have felt. Actually, I do know how they felt. One of the posters in the underground on the Northern Line was scratched out and defaced so that the letters in the title following the director’s name read:


Creative solutions, I know.

Still, you have to admire the guy. Most people find success with a book or a film and then spend the rest of their lives struggling with their egos in order to produce a handful more that might live up to the first.

Mr. Shyamalan is obviously fearless about trying things out and potentially failing, which should give all of us courage to keep doing what we love, brambles and berries and nuts and bird droppings in and amongst the laurels we try on and toss away.


palinode said...

My god, Jackie, that is the most charitable thing I've ever heard said about Shyamalan. I agree that we should take his example and keep doing what we love. Except for movie studios, because they love making M. Night Shyamalan pictures. They should be put out to sea.

Anonymous said...

Well, you know me. If you can't say something nice...

Anonymous said...

I confess to having enjoyed both Sixth Sense and the one with Mel Gibson and the aliens in the cornfield, the title of which escapes me right now. But the enjoyment was more of the "fluffy summer movie fun" than anything substantial.