* This post contains spoilers for 'The Happening'*
My Mom was nice enough to watch Sam all day on Saturday so we could get things done around the house and then go out and do something fun. We decided to go and see the new M. Night Shyamalan movie.
The Happening: The previews for this movie told me basically nothing about what it was actually about. I was immediately excited when I saw the first preview about 6 months ago as I've been a fan of M. Night from the beginning. I watched The Sixth Sense again recently and was reminded of how good it was. His last movie, The Lady in the Water, didn't get good reviews. I thought it was amazing. It was so well told and the story and characters, especially Paul Giamatti, touched my heart. It scared me, it was perplexing and it made me cry. Also, it included the phrase "Baby on the Half Tip" which I think of more often than I should. When The Happening came out the same things started to happen. Bad reviews, which I didn't read.
I go to the movies a lot. I am generally entertained by pretty much every movie I decide to watch, and I often like movies that don't get good reviews. I have problems with movie reviews because one, they often act like every single movie that's made should be a GREAT FILM and don't seem to understand the value of a movie being stupid, but still entertaining. Two, I don't like it when filmmakers or actors are pidgeonholed into one role. So, M. Night Shyamalan made a movie that didn't have as twisty an ending. That does mean it's less good than his first films, just different.
So, I went into this movie now really knowing what it was going to be about. The first thing that surprised me was that it was fairly gruesome. Think people offing themselves with whatever means are at hand, including guns, glass, knitting needles and giant riding mower type things... I was a little surprised. It was scary, it was unsettling. And it was basically about nature fighting back. Weird huh? In this day and age of global warming and environmental awareness, it's no suprise that authors and filmmakers are going to come out with books and movies that give us an idea of their point of view on the subject. M. Night does it a thousand times better than Michael Crichton did in "A State of Fear", but part of that might be that Crichton made a large argument for the fact that global warming doesn't exist, and I don't think that's realistic.
I do agree that it wasn't the best performance Mark Wahlberg has ever given - that his character was a little bit one-sided with the same emotions and worry coming out in every scene. But, he's still nice to look at... moving on... It might have been interesting to see what John Leguizamo could have done in the main role instead of his character being killed off by the toxin and leaving behind a small daughter.
I have been thinking about the movie since I saw it and trying to decipher what I really thought of it, but it's hard. I defintely think it's worth seeing, especially if you are a fan of M. Night Shyamalan and if you liked his last couple of movies despite the reviews. I think it's an interesting concept, and it would have been interesting to see it further developed (the movie is only an hour and a half long). The ending was somewhat abrupt. Interestingly enough, I've found that most of the bad fan reviews I've found on this movie don't have much to offer other than "this sucked" with nothing to back up their review, whereas the people giving it good reviews are saying why they liked it.
I enjoyed the tension as I sat there in the theater, and all in all I liked the movie. I wasn't disappointed about it, but there are lingering thoughts of what might have been. I loved the humor thrown in as Mark Wahlberg's character had a conversation with what turned out to be a plastic house plant. I agree with one review I read that said "original, creative, and intriguing". I liked it party because it was DIFFERENT. It wasn't some gory disgusting horror movie with no point. I feel that people need to look a little deeper at M. Night's movie's - yes, The Sixth Sense was about ghosts, but if that's all you got out of it, that's probably why you're not enjoying his more recent movies which actually require some thought, and can benefit from multiple viewings.
All in all, I give it a definite thumbs up, and I'll be waiting eagerly for the next installment in M. Night Shyamalan's awesome career.