I wouldn’t say that I was ever a M. Night Shyamalan "fan," although was as taken with The SIxth Sense as most other people, saw some value in Unbreakable, but thought Signs, despite the strong faith element, was too measured (and the whole aliens and water thing struck me as silly, considering the H20 content of the atmosphere, but what do I know. Don’t answer that.)
But I do appreciate that he’s actually trying to create something new and meaningful in his work, and that faith and even rather specifically Catholic motifs play a role (he went to Catholic grammar school and an Episcopal high school).
When I saw the first trailer for Lady in the Water, I was intrigued. The first trailer just featured Paul Giamatti being intrigued by the sounds from the swimming pool, etc. Then the second trailer came out – with the suspense and "Save the world!" element added, and I lost interest.
Then the reviews started coming in, and I saw that evil in the film is essentially represented by a film critic character and I thought, "Heh. He’s daring them to hate his movie!" And I thought…well, maybe. That’s sort of amusing. But then I read the spoilers and
(after the jump)
…was sort of appalled at the egomania of M. Night casting himself as the writer whose stories will save the world.
So, no I won’t be seeing it any time soon (as if I would be seeing any movies any time soon) unless any of you can convince me otherwise. Steven Greydanus gave it a "D", Barbara Nicolosi walked out on it, but in Slate…Ross Douthat defends, not the film, but M. Night himself, especially in contrast to other directors of his generation, who may have started off making a small film or two of interest and intelligence, but have, to but it bluntly, sold out to the blockbuster, the sequel, and the comic book:
In The Village, as in all his films, Shyamalan seems to be aiming for something, amid our summers of high-grossing superhero movies and our winters of little-seen Oscar-bait projects, that’s increasingly rare these days: a marriage of entertainment and art, of mass-market tastes and elite sensibilities. This is a hard combination to pull off, as his stumbles have demonstrated, but it’s precisely the goal that the film industry, home to our last mass art form, ought to be aspiring to. So, Shyamalan deserves credit, despite his vanity and his missteps—not because he’s succeeding, necessarily, but because he’s willing to keep trying and unwilling to take his place with those timid, highly compensated directors who know neither victory nor defeat.
The man obviously needs a colleague or two to reign him in, give him feedback and even write with him…
Anyone seen it?