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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

The Happening (review)

Nonevent

This appears to be a movie about an incident that occurs to a certain number of people across a particular region consisting of a few states.

If M. Night Shyamalan can give us what he clearly believes is an exciting and dramatic movie even though it’s full of people reacting to strange and unknowable terrors in the most banal and apathetic ways, then I can give you a review to match. So I will proceed to discuss the various activities of the filmmaker using a variety of methods by which you may notice that all feeling has been removed from said discussion.

Nah, I can’t do that. Cuz I’m pissed.
Maybe Shyamalan didn’t mean for The Happening to be exciting and dramatic: perhaps the writer-director intended the film to be an exercise in sucking all the life and emotion out of fictional characters. Because why else would any filmmaker put lines of dialogue into characters’ mouths that sound like this: “There appears to be an event happening.” Or this: “It’s all some weird event.” Or this: “There’s something happening in a few states.” Or (and this might be my anti-favorite), this: “We can’t just stay here as uninterested observers.”

The audience certainly are uninterested observers, alas. Though of course I recommend against becoming an observer in the first place.

Strange and unknowable terrors are indeed afoot on this spring day, first in New York, where people are behaving oddly and then lose all sense of not-wanting-to-kill-oneself. There’s some nod made toward biochemical technobabble here, something about, well, an event occurring in certain sections of the brain having to do with self-preservation, though it seems to me that there’s a world of difference between lacking a sense of self-preservation — which could result in, oh, suddenly taking up smoking or perhaps driving fast without wearing your seatbelt — and actually stabbing yourself in the neck with a knitting needle or jumping off a building. But this is a minor quibble on the grander scale of everything gone enormously freakin’ wrong here.

Shyamalan (Lady in the Water, The Village) gives us a group of folks in Philadelphia, his usual fictional stomping grounds, who learn that this event appears to be occurring and decide that the best thing to do is to escape the city before the event decides to occur itself in Philly. So we have Mark Wahlberg’s (We Own the Night, The Departed) Elliot and John Leguizamo’s (Love in the Time of Cholera, George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead) Julian, best pals and schoolteachers, and Elliot’s wife, Alma (Zooey Deschanel: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Bridge to Terabithia), and Julian’s young daughter, Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez: Crash), and they’re all heading out of the city, like everyone else is. Shyamalan manages to whip up about two minutes’ worth of effective drama in a scene on a commuter train packed with scared people: how news of more events occurring spreads among them, via frightened cellphone calls and such, works.

But that’s the only moment approaching real we get, as Elliot and Co. hit the road, trying to get out of the affected area, which appears to cover those aforementioned “few states.” The movie has more than run out of steam by the half-hour mark — which suggests that it might have made for a decent episode of The Twilight Zone, but even a 80-some-odd minute movie is dragging it out beyond all hope of making it work. Elliot, a science teacher, has an idea what might be causing the event, and as preposterous and as outta-nowhere as it is within the context of the story, it’s even worse from Shyamalan’s perspective as the writer, because he has so little idea of what to do with this scenario that, in the end, he decides that it should turn out that Elliot was right from the get-go, and that something else Elliot said in his very first scene — about something else being “an act of nature and we’ll never fully understand it” — would suffice to “explain” everything. But hey, it’s your job, Shyamalan, as teller of this story, to explain, even if the explanation is merely helping us to appreciate that some things can’t ever be explained. This hodgepodge of stilted dialogue and lifeless characters doing things that are ridiculous is not the way to do that.

“Let’s just stay ahead of the wind,” Elliot suggests at one point, as a way for the event not to catch up to them. Stay ahead of the wind? While they’re at it, they could jump between sunbeams too.

You want a Shyamalan twist ending? How’s this: The Happening is one big joke on us. It’s a put-on. It’s Shyamalan deliberately pulling our collective leg. Because this level of terrible could only be calculated. Unless there’s an event happening in Shyamalan’s brain, too.


MPAA: rated R for violent and disturbing images

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb
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  • MaryAnn,

    I emailed you several years ago in anticipation of “The Village,” believing that you shared the same reverence for M. Night’s movies as I did. As I sat through the train wreck that was “The Happening,” I knew it would be the catalyst for my first post in your blog.

    The Happening was an abysmal failure. The text message I sent to a few friends directly following the movie read: “The Happening: Ridiculous. Weak. Lame. Impossible to communicate how disappointing it was. So sad. Please save your money! M. Night Shyamalan is dead to me.”

    My feeling is that this movie was Shyamalan’s vehicle for two things:

    1) Showing disturbing images of people killing themselves in bizarre ways.
    2) Taking one of his political arguments (no spoilers here) to an absurd level.

    The trailer accomplished #1 effectively – the movie doesn’t deliver much more than that. (The field mower scene was actually more effective in the trailer than the movie, in my opinion.) And if Shyamalan was really pushing the envelope for #2, he must feel that he was a resounding success.

    As folks were leaving the movie, the conversations snippets I overheard all began like the following:

    * “But what about…?”
    * “What was that…supposed to…?”
    * “But why didn’t…?”
    * “That was retarded.”

    MaryAnn – are we done with this guy yet? Will we ever see Shyamalan’s name in the credits and get excited again?

  • Spencer

    Looks like it’s more love/hate betwixt me and Night.

    It’s just so frustrating. When it comes to the narrow focus of being behind the camera and capturing images, Night is still in my opinion up there with the best of anyone. His storytelling and artistic choices, however, slide toward the increasingly poor and maddening.

    And I’m not even a total hater. I adored the first two, liked Signs but found the “action” ending cheesy and cheap both visually and creatively (i.e., “Swing away, Merrill!”). And, I loved and still do love The Village. Sue me, everyone else. Then Lady in the Water came out along with some public comments he made about his own talents. I’ve tried– I just can’t like that movie on any level, not even on the one you enjoyed it on, MaryAnn.

    And now The Happening looks like more of the same. And I hate it, because his were the only “scary”/horror movies I could watch– they were smart and psychological and artistic without being gory. And now, he’s gone R-rated and pretentious.

    I’m pissed too.

  • shoop

    Lonely minority vote: I liked it. I agree there are some serious things that went wrong… For example, I think it’s a given that M. Night’s dialogue is reminiscent of ABBA lyrics or English translations of Ibsen plays. (Funnily enough, the line everyone seems to have a problem with, “there appears to be an event happening,” didn’t bother me. The line that took me out of the story was, “She’s headed for a town called Princeton!”) And he does something I would have thought impossible–he gets a LOUSY performance from Zooey Daschenel.

    But here’s what I’m getting that’s different from the majority view (which, I think, is the best way to express such an opinion, as opposed to, “You didn’t get it.” In fact, I’ve left explicit instructions for my friends to punch me in the face repeatedly if I ever use that phrase): the movie is, at least 95% of the time, INTENTIONALLY funny–including the deaths and the clueless reactions. Biggest tipoff: *SPOILER* the fate of the guy in the zoo that deliberately echoes one of the most memorable scenes in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. *END OF SPOILER* It’s a pitch black, corrosive, twisted kind of funny, but funny just the same. I laughed quite a bit, and appreciated the comparatively tight running time.

    There’s a saying about being “too smart for the room,” a saying I don’t particularly care for or agree with. But with Shyamalan, I think he’s becoming too “geeky” for the room–even outgeeking the legions of geeks and self-professed geeks who were huge fans and who continued as apologists (and, let’s look in the mirror of truth for a moment–can you really be a self-professed geek?). And maybe that’s his own fault–perhaps that just means his films are becoming increasingly masturbatory. But anyone who can give us the zoo scene mentioned above, plus the hero’s monologue to a plant…hey, I’m with this guy for at least another movie or two.

  • David

    Well, MaryAnn, I have not yet seen The Happening, but I will. Not because I don’t trust your review. In fact, quite the opposite. I expect your review to be exactly right, because it sounds like the kind of review that I would generally have written for Signs, The Village, Lady In the Water, and Wide Awake, all of which exhibited varying degrees of the bad acting and bad writing you’ve described here. The Sixth Sense is actually one of my favorite films — it has a few holes, but is a wonderfully satisfying film nonetheless. Beautiful in both concept and execution. Unbreakable? Not quite there, but solid. Undercut by undue solemnity and lousy child actor (you can’t always bank on finding a Haley Joel Osment). Then, a precipitous fall. Signs was spoon-feeding of the obvious. Solemnly silly, with ever-worsening dialog. The Village. Pretentiously lame — filled with all sorts of backhoe-ing to repair a crippled plot. Lady In the Water? Wretched.

    I have to agree with what appears to be a growing consensus. His movies stink of an arrogant unwillingness to hear and incorporate sound criticism. I have to believe this because even a novice writer could give him notes aplenty on his movies on points so obvious that they jab you like a hot stick in the eye. Film-making and screenwriting are all about collaboration. Even if one person writes a screenplay, it almost immediately becomes a collaboration between the author and the readers — from agents, managers, and attorneys to producers and actors. It looks like Shyamalan has erected a forcefield insulating himself from outside creative influence. Kind of like another Hollywood ego we’ve come to know and love, and whose initials are G.L.

  • kacunnin

    Well, I kinda didn’t hate it. Yeah, I know that’s not exactly a rave, but I was expecting something God awful, and instead I got a pretty good “old school” horror movie, one of those “oh no, we’re destroying ourselves again” movies about how humanity, in its ultimate stupidity, is shooting itself in the foot. Back in the ‘50’s, we got all those amazingly great sci-fi films about science run amuck or communist takeovers – you know, nuclear-inspired giant ants or body-snatching pods. Those were our fears back then. It’s different now. This is Shyamalan’s movie, after all, and he’s afraid we’re destroying the planet . . . which will ultimately destroy us in return. It’s Lady in the Water without the fairy tale. It’s as if Shyamalan analyzed the horrible failure of Lady and concluded the problem wasn’t the film’s message, but the way he packaged it. The viewers just didn’t connect with the bedtime story framework he used there – we just didn’t fall in love with the story . . . or with Story, maybe. So, he’s giving it to us again, but this time in a much more recognizable and accessible package. Now it’s a sci-fi horror flick, complete with a hapless family running from a threat they can’t even see. It’s like Tom Cruise and his kids running from the alien tripods – if those tripods were invisible. And if the tripods were our own damn fault!

    Bottom line, the movie is scary and eerie and Shyamalan is a pro with the camera. There are a few really nice scenes that transcend the rather formulaic story (Wahlberg’s frantic effort to THINK of some way out of his predicament with his wife and a bunch of other anxious people pushing him to DO SOMETHING makes for a very compelling moment, for example), and the strikingly lyrical quality of the film itself is intriguing on several levels. What some have described as boring, slow, and lacking in emotion, I saw as very real – these are just a few random people being forced to deal with the unexplainable. It worked for me, more than all the scenes of screaming and running that permeate most horror movies.

    Anyway, I kinda didn’t hate The Happening. And I do agree with Shyamalan’s political agenda here, so that helped. It was worth the matinee price of a ticket. And it certainly doesn’t deserve the overwhelming avalanche of negative vitriol that’s been directed at it.

  • David

    Sounds like he needed ManBearPig.

  • Nelle

    I totally disagree with all of you. This movie was great. I will agree and say Lady in the Water completely sucked but this movie was completely different. He made a supsenful, romantic, and funny movie. I was sitting on the edge of my seat as well as everyone else in the thedare. It was a create movie and orignal for the reason more than one main character stayed alive. I think it was very creative and has never been done before. It also had a good meaning. We are killing our envirment and eventually stuff is going to happen.

  • David

    Nelle, did the person next to you have have a slightly salmon odor and cloven hoofs?

  • MaryAnn

    He made a supsenful, romantic, and funny movie.

    I suspect Nelle is Night pretending to be a fan, but on the off chance that that’s not the case: Nelle, can you explain what you found suspenseful, romantic, or funny?

  • Wild horses could not drag me into another M. Night Shyamalan movie. The dude is obviously, to continue my equine theme, a one-trick pony.

    The Sixth Sense was nearly a perfect movie.

    Unbreakable was really good, right up until the final freeze frame which explained what happened next. Don’t tell us what happened next; either show us, or leave it to our imaginations.

    Signs is where it all started to fall apart. It’s overall a good movie with lots of eerie and “boo!” moments, but the idea that aliens capable of interstellar travel can’t find a way to keep themselves dry is exceedingly stupid.

    The Village is where the wheels came off the cart (more horse theme). His movie was basically a rehash of an old Outer Limits or Twilight Zone, and it belonged on TV, not in a theatre.

    Lady in the Water was just plain awful.

    I’ve lost whatever faith I ever had in MNS being a good filmmaker. Like George Lucas, he desperately needs some creative input because he just thinks every word he writes is golden… and it ain’t.

  • David

    You are way more charitable than I would be for Signs.

    The comparison to Lucas is completely apt.

  • Doa766

    it seems it did very well at the box office, 30 mil

    the problem is that this guy thinks he’s brilliant when actually he’s good, so in his creative mental process he omits the steps at the beggining of the development where you critize your initial ideas and then refine them until they get good and complex. Mr Nightuses his first ideas as finished process instead of basis because he thinks he’s a unique visionary

    but all visionaries go through internal critism before even putting the first sentence on paper he lacks the patience and discipline to do that, quoting George Constaza, he’s a step-skipper

  • PaulW

    Night is a mediocre scriptwriter/storyteller but a great visual artist.

    Kevin Smith is a great scriptwriter/storyteller but a mediocre visual artist.

    What if we combined the two?! Would we get… possibly the best director since Ed Wood Jr?!

  • David

    Kevin Smith “great” in any sense of the word?! Of course, you’re kidding. They guy who dumped upon the world such turds as “Jay and Silent Bob” and “Dogma”? Combining him with anyone might, if we’re lucky, result in Ed Wood, Jr.

  • Thought I might answer this question that was aimed at Nelle: “can you explain what you found suspenseful, romantic, or funny?”

    SPOILERS – HEAPS OF THEM

    Suspense – the crazy old woman banging on the outside of the house, also the scene a moment before when he finds the doll. That was creepy. And unexpected.

    Romantic – Zooey’s smile from the other end of the street.

    Funny – The soldier’s exclamation.

    END OF SPOILERS

    Overall, Shyamalan has lost it recently, and I must make it clear that I’m a HUGE fan. I thought this time around the film was decent but nothing special. I can’t imagine why anyone would find Lady in the Water better than The Happening, however. At least the Happening was focussed, and seemed to know where it was going, rather than just being a hodgepodge of random elements.

    What I disliked the most were the several expository lines that felt like they were injected in post. Ambiguity would have been better. Of course, in my Shayamalan worship, I put that down to studios trying to keep him on a tight leash, but who knows…

  • JoshDM

    “The Sixth Sense” – This was a fine movie; probably would have been enhanced by the scenes he left out for the DVD. “Stir of Echoes” (the “Deep Impact” to Shamalamadingdong’s “Armageddon”) was an overall better movie.

    “Unbreakable” – As a comic book aficionado, I enjoyed this movie, but predicted the ending from the very first moment we met Mr. Glass describing a comic book cover. It’s OK on subsequent viewings, but there are only so many times you can watch it.

    “Signs” – There were a couple of very good shock moments, but this was a very overblown episode of “The Outer Limits” with extremely dumb concepts (if water burns you, how do you handle touching even the most basic of condensation?). Would have been best as a made-for-TV movie. Disappointing at best.

    “The Village” – I enjoyed this movie as much as I enjoyed The Sixth Sense, but only because I spent most of it thinking up scenarios to explain The Village’s existence.

    “Lady in the Water” – Watched about 20 minutes of it on DVD then sent it back to Netflix.

    “The Happening” – Will probably watch it on DVD, but only b/c I want to watch the macabre portions.

  • JoshDM

    Jeez, how did I miss clayj’s post above mine? It’s like I just reiterated what he said.

  • David

    Stir of Echoes hardly holds a candle to The Sixth Sense, IMO. Not even close, really. As for Deep Impact and Armageddon, they were each lousy in their own way.

  • Ryan

    This movie was terrible. The only points of suspense occurred at the old ladies house. 1) When she slapped the cookie out of the girls hand, and 2) the doll on the bed scene. That was it.

    I could poke about 500 holes in the plot, lament the acting of pretty much everybody in the movie, go through about 70 bone-dumb lines, or wonder how the video of the zoo-keeper ever got onto the internet…given that the person taking it was about 20 yards away, tops.

    But it’s just not worth it…at some point you have to take the movie as a whole and realize that there was absolutely nothing worth-while about it, other than a couple of interesting camera shots.

  • JoshDM, e-mail me and I’ll tell ya where to send the royalty check for repackaging my post. ;-)

  • JoshDM

    Clayj, should I mail you a royalty check for retyping your post into my own words?

  • Joshdm

    D’oh, did it again. :)

  • MBI

    I am legitimately shocked at the dismal reviews this movie is getting — it’s not really a return to form but it’s also hardly a disaster. It makes about as much sense as Signs (which got mixed reviews because it had good suspense) or, for that matter, Cloverfield.

  • David

    I truly need to revisit my movie rating scale. This movie is so completely and utterly terrible, in every conceivable way, that it leads to one of two conclusions, both devastating in their own way. Either M. Night Shyamalan paid someone else to write The Sixth Sense, or something has happened to his mind, i.e., he’s lost it. The Happening is insanely, deliriously idiotic, the acting is completely atrocious, the lines are the worst I’ve ever heard … it’s impossible to say enough bad things about it. It is mind-boggling stunning in its awfulness.

  • Ryan

    [quote]it’s not really a return to form but it’s also hardly a disaster. It makes about as much sense as Signs[/quote]

    Let’s see…premise of Signs…oh, right. Aliens who found water lethal invaded a planet that is not only 75% water…but also one that has water vapor IN THE AIR. (Again, presumably these aliens are inter-stellar travelers, who might, along with being able to build space-ships, have designed some sort of probe to go ahead?)

    So, actually, I’m willing to say this movie made MORE sense than Signs. In fact, one of the initial lines about the disappearance of bees was even mildly thought provoking.

    Unfortunately, the dialog, acting, plot, and even camera work were more or less unrelentingly terrible, whereas in Signs the dialog only got terrible at certain points…and the camera work was fairly decent.

    I don’t think anything has happened to his mind David, (except for narcissism) what you’re seeing is the difference between somebody who was subjected to an editor…and somebody who mistakenly thinks they know how to write dialog and cast a movie by themselves.

  • JoshDM

    I need to ask something that’s been bugging me since I first heard about this movie.

    Did Jimmie Walker get a cameo?

  • Adam S.

    I saw this on Friday and afterwards said: “I wish Mystery Science Theater were still around; they’d have a field day with this one.”

  • JoshDM

    I saw this on Friday and afterwards said: “I wish Mystery Science Theater were still around; they’d have a field day with this one.”

    They still are, in a fashion…

  • David

    Why would you need Mystery Science Theater to add anything to this perfectly dreadful mess?

  • tim

    The good news is that it’s not as train-wreck horrible as “Lady in the Water”. That’s pretty much the only good news.

    There are many different kinds of bad. This is frustrating bad because it felt like there was a good movie hiding somewhere inside. If only you could tweak the casting, script, and premise a bit you may have been able to squeeze a decent film out of this. Some early concepts and scenes were intriguing enough to propel you forward.

    As the movie opened it reminded me of Stephen King’s novel “The Cell”, which although equally silly in concept had the guts to carry that absurdity to it’s own logical conclusion. “The Happening” simply gives up at the end. I felt the same way at the end of Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds”.

    One final comment – at what point will it become an embarrassing cliche to have the epicenter of every global disaster occur in New York?

  • Already happened, Tim. Already happened.

    One problem with a movie like The Happening is that the “evil”, the Thing Which Threatens Our Heroes, can’t really be fought. It can only be avoided, using leaps of logic which we are simply supposed to accept. This type of scenario often results in characters saying moronic stuff like, “All we have to do is make sure we’re still alive when it’s over.” and “There seems to be an event happening.” Noooo, really?

    This is then compounded by the fact that unlike a movie like The Mist, in which the horrors outside cause the people inside to turn on one another and thereby create interesting scenarios, The Happening basically has everyone just trying to escape death by trying to do dumb stuff like, say, outrunning the wind. You might as well have the entire Earth about to be consumed by a supernova; the “evil”, the Threat, is inexorable and it behaves like a deus ex machina, coming and going per the whim of the writer. There is no conflict between characters, and you can’t fight something that’s immaterial and which comes and goes literally like the wind.

    So I disagree that there was a germ of a good story here. A “civilization is falling apart” story like, for example, In the Mouth of Madness is more interesting because at least you can try to stop the bad thing from… er… happening.

  • dennis

    On the one hand, Shyamalan’s ego is still soaring high even after a few bombed film failures. But then again, I think he is beginning to catch on that everyone’s pretty pissed with him for constantly disappointing. Notice with each successive movie, his signature cameo appearance on screen is gradually tapering off? I don’t recall seeing his cameo at all in Happening. Perhaps he was concerned that people would start throwing their soda and candy bars at the screen if he came on.

  • bitchen frizzy

    This from IMDB’s trivia for the movie, FWIW:

    —“This is M. Night Shyamalan’s first film in which he doesn’t have an on-screen cameo. However, he is credited in the cast as Joey, the guy who had dessert with Alma and who keeps calling her cellphone.”

  • Dennis, there is no definition of the word “cameo” that can possibly describe MNS’ role in Lady in the Water. That was a full-on movie role. And the idea that he’d cast himself as a man whose writings would save the world is the very definition of narcissism.

  • Jigsy Q.

    Maybe this whole enterprise was a Springtime for Hitler type of a deal. Did Max Bialystock produce it?

  • MaryAnn

    One final comment – at what point will it become an embarrassing cliche to have the epicenter of every global disaster occur in New York?

    One antidote for this: Watch *Doctor Who.* The epicenter of global disaster there is almost always London. :->

  • tim

    I had to look up Doctor Who. Never heard of it. Perhaps it influenced 28 Day Later? Destroying London is a nice change of pace.

    “Springtime for Hitler”….that was funny!

    I convinced myself today that what Shy was attempting was not just a homage, but almost a recreation of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. We all know M. Night is a fan of Hitch and I think he wants to be known as a modern version of the master. Of course he changes the antogonist, but it still has that same vibe and ridiculous concept. Hey, I’m a huge A.H. fan but never understood the appeal of that particular film.

  • MaryAnn

    I had to look up Doctor Who. Never heard of it.

    That’s just sad.

    Perhaps it influenced 28 Day Later?

    Anything made in Britain over the last 30 years that is vaguely SF has certainly been influenced by *Doctor Who* in one way or another…

  • Ide Cyan

    28 Days Later was very strongly inspired by John Wyndham’s novel, The Day of the Triffids, which predates Dr. Who by a dozen years.

  • MaryAnn

    But that doesn’t mean that the execution of that novel couldn’t have been inspired, at least in part, by other things.

  • dg

    The film has John Leguizamo in it. Leguizamo is in a lot of BAD movies. Not surprising he ended up in this stinker. Someday I suspect Leguizamo will get a good role. I think he’s a much better actor than the roles he takes.

    If he’s in a film, or Jack Black, I avoid it.

  • David

    Jack Black is actually pretty terrific in some roles, including in High Fidelity and Nacho Libre (which I find sweet and warm-hearted).

  • I don’t want to see John Leguizamo in Jack Black, either. Yuk!

  • David

    LOL

  • Check out THE CRAPPENING: THE HAPPENING PARODY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx16epbyj9g

  • Felicia

    To me the movie the sixth sense is what made m. night stand out for me and make me want to see every movie he did after that. But since that one great success, I feel like I have had to lower my standers for his movies sadly. I will say he comes up with original stories, that is one of his great assets, but it is just not coming off as strongly as the sixth sense did.

    I like what could have been with the Happening, but it left too many questions and just did not bring it all the way home for me. It was interesting bring the ideal of plants trying to kill human kind in a way but do not leave us guessing in a movie that we came to to find the answers.

    I will still see his work for his originality but I hope it gets better soon.

  • dballer

    OMG this movie was so lame, and I usually like Night’s movies but this one had me staring in abject disbelief, I guess the idea on paper didn’t translate on film and the dialogue truly laughable, I mean why would walberg break out singing the doobie brothers “black waters” song….if it wasnt the for the fact I sneaked in to see this lame film I would have ask for my money back

  • David

    On reflection, I think that Shyamalan has purely and simply lost his mind.

  • Bob C

    Boy, did this suck. After building up a good load of suspense in the first half hour, you just keep waiting and waiting for something different to happen. Instead it’s just an hour of watching people unsuccessfully avoid getting killed, except of course for the main characters, who make it out alive. But then the “event” just ends inexplicably, and by that time you don’t even care how or why it happened. The final scene is useless because at that point you’re just numb with shock at how bad a movie can be.

    M. Night Shyamalan is finished.

  • David

    I didn’t even see a load of suspense at the beginning. Just stupidity. By the way, apparently Shyamalan made up the Einstein quote on the chalkboard!!! OMFG. That is too shitty for words. It is a story, but still … putting idiotic words into the mouth of a brilliant and very real historical figure is outrageous, in my opinion.

  • Ryan

    Wow, that You Tube parody is better than the actual movie by a LOT.

  • JessicaM

    What exactly was the Einstein quote on the chalkboard!? Does any one remember?

  • MaryAnn

    The Einstein bee quote is this:

    If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.

    But it’s as bogus as the rest of the movie.

  • JB

    I absolutely agree with Nelle and shoop. I just watched The Happening and was very much impressed. I will watch it again in due time.

    Maybe it is because the main arguement here, the movie’s bad dialogues, is none for me because I am from Germany. I sure felt that the dialogues were artificial but I would not dare to declare this a director’s or writer’s inability to deliver something natural.

    Very early in the movie I made the conscious decision to accept that there is a subtle homour at work. I think it was Alma’s scene with the vibrating phone on the table. From that moment on I was able to enjoy this movie’s vision of people’s reaction to such a catastrophy. It is rather new and deviates refreshingly from the screeming crowds you see in cinemas way too often. By the way, The Mist takes a very similar perspective. And imagine War of the Worlds as a two hour dialogue between Cruise and Robbins!

    Leguizamo’s performance was indeed disturbing and his charcter meaningless as far as I can tell. His dying just delivered the message that none of our beloved heroes is save.

    And yes! I truely cared for Alma and Elliot. Her, working out the almost-cheating-event and then his reaction – it was funny and romantic, as Nelle said. This little hint towards the characters’ personalities was enough to make me care.

    Lastly, I do not understand why people need messages to be delivered in subtle ways. Same people complained about Kingdom of Heaven, I guess. It sure is nice if a secondary theme can be spotted with a little effort. But here mankind’s influence on nature is the main theme and therefore omnipresent. So don’t say it is too obvious, instead have the balls to say that you are tired of having this thrown in your face all the time!

    Nice blog, by the way.
    JB

  • MaryAnn

    By the way, The Mist takes a very similar perspective.

    As I’ve said many times before, it’s not the idea, it’s what you do with it.

  • In the sequel, H.P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West reanimates Albert Einstein’s corpse and sends him to track M. Night Shyamalan down and then pummel him with a beehive attached to a tree branch, while Lovecraft himself stands off to the side yelling “You’ve got NOTHING on me, punk!” at MNS.

  • JoshDM

    Haven’t you people ever heard about letting dead movies lie? Seriously.

    Bury this flick deep.

  • David B.

    … and, if you have to have a tombstone (I rather leave it in a pauper’s cemetery with no marker at all), have it say:

    “Here lie the remains of M. Night Shyamalan’s arrogance and mediocrity. It was all he had left.”

  • JoshDM

    … until he does his rumored Unbreakable sequel, which will annihilate any goodwill fostered by the original.

  • JB

    Damn … you guys seem angry!

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