Friday, June 13, 2008

Shawna's Summer Movies Review #1


M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening".

3 words: Wait For Video.

Rated R for a reason (ex-cess-ive violence) the movie opens right up with death after death piling up (strangely, for all the death in this movie there's not much blood). Forget getting to know the characters (and my fave gal Zooey Deschanel practically slept walked through her role though Marky Mark gave it a good shot). Watch for Spencer Breslin in a small role towards the middle of the movie--he's the kid under all that curly curly hair.

The movie had so many people dying in so many horrific ways that you couldn't get past it to the mostly inarticulate storyline. The answer, when given at the end is so cheesy and so obviously political (don't want to give away anything) but Shyamalan isn't hesitant about stating his beliefs on this one. The cheese had audiences at my showing actually laughing at the end when it was obvious we were supposed to be shocked and awed and I am pretty sure we were expected to walk away being thoughtful and ponder our roles in life. The images were intensily graphic and, if you watch it, the bit with the tree seriously made me want to be sick....you'll know what part I am talking about when you get there. And did anyone else get a "lemmings diving into the sea" vibe during the opening sequence or was it just me?

Though it started off fairly strong it just couldn't keep the momentum going (and considering the movie is less than an hour-and-a-half that's not saying much). I would have to say I will not be getting this one when it comes out on video (who'd want to watch such pointless and graphic violence over and over anyway?).

I like Night's other work ("Signs" is just brilliant); its a shame that he really killed a chance to make a statement that would have stuck with people. I give it one out of four stars, and that's only because I agree with the politics of the picture, even if it was poorly done.

5 comments:

Miya said...

who'd want to watch such pointless and graphic violence over and over anyway?

Okay, this from the gal who told me to watch 30 Days of Night last night, and who watches it over and over again? Cutting people's heads off with axes and blowing their heads in half with firearms? Heads on spikes? Spurting arteries? We laughed through the whole thing. Are you sure we were watching the right movie?

I was actually surprised that no one had made this film before (the Happening, that is, not 30 Days of Night!) I don't want to give away any spoilers to others either, so if you haven't seen the film yet

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but I've honestly thought about at what point in all our recklessness towards this planet is nature going to take things into its own hands? Especially by means of plants...trees and bushes can send warnings to each other downwind to tell them to begin producing poisons when plant-eating animals are nearby. Too bad Mr. Shyamalan got around to writing it first! I could have been famous! Hrph.

I can definitely see how this type of movie wouldn't be your cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it. It wasn't so much a horror film to me as it was a message, to take care of what we have or else.

This is Miya, signing off! :D

Danielle said...

I also liked the movie. But I agree, the characters needed more development.

shoezimm said...

***SPOILER***
All I can say is that I understand the idea of trees and plants fighting back...but it didn't affect the animals? (there were plenty of dogs still running around) And how did they manage to communicate across the ocean that humans needed an attack elsewhere so they started attacking Italy (or wherever it was)? The ending was supercheesy with its dramatic "I want to die in the same place as you" and then "oh, I guess it ended just before I opened the door"...and then everyone just picks up their lives like nothing happened (except Zooey's character suddenly happy to be tied down and preggers when before she was "not ready to fully commit"). The characters were so undeveloped you really weren't emotionally invested in if they lived or died.

The idea that everyone felt safer in a big field when they knew it was the plants all around them killing them? And who just walks around looking for a way to kill themselves? Toxins aren't so sophisticated in that one moment you're rational and sane and in the next you're looking for a lawnmower to shove yourself under. And Miya, for some reason it wasn't as hard to watch people being killed as it was to watch them killing themselves in such horrible fashions....following eachother off of rooftops and everybody climbing the same tree to hang themselves (that scene still bothers me...all the people hanging like demented Christmas ornaments).

While his plan was to shock people and get them to start thinking of how we impact the planet it was more about shoving as much death at us rather than really get to the heart of the matter....what we need to do to get a move on at reversing the damages we cause. I know everyone has access to this information themselves but that doesn't mean people are going to get off of their butts and find it.

Miya said...

That's the sad part. No matter how much you show to people, they still assume you're only trying to scam them (it really irks me when people say that about global warming, "Oh it's just a scam to get us to buy stuff"...to buy what? A few CFLs?). Even in the movie, hardly anyone in the aftermath believed it was caused by their own negligence. I think that was the worst bit, because that's the way it is in real life too.

I admit I felt that it was extremely corny that the couple survived, but I think the message of the film was an important one. I read our student newspaper and so many people were nitpicking stupid things like continuity errors and innacuracies rather than focusing on the main message. Hopefully someone will take the Shyamalan's message and run with it and make an even better version of that idea, since An Inconvenient Truth didn't seem to settle well with a majority of the population.

shoezimm said...

I think An Inconvenient Truth didn't register well with people because #1 its Al Gore and a lot of people do not really know his political stands, but are judging him because of Clinton. #2 the title pretty much states that they aren't going to like what they hear. People do not want to hear that they will have to change and maybe give up a few "necessities" (I call them luxuries) in order to save the environment. Its easy to look at changing weather patterns and say, "hey, so its a degree or two warmer, what's the big deal?" they are not seeing (and not wanting to see) firsthand what is really happening. Hearing polar bears stuck all the way in the (not-so-frozen) North will eventually die means nothing because hey, there are polar bears in zoos being in toasty warm environments and doing just fine. People would rather take the ostriches point of view, shove their heads in the sand and pretend that there is no such thing as the boogeyman we call global warming.