Am I supposed to laugh at the preview for the new M. Night Shamalayan movie??

I’ve seen that movie enough times to be able to recite dialogue. But I don’t. I keep meeting people who seem to think that the ability to memorize a movie somehow makes them clever and interesting.

The plot twists have always been secondary to character development in Shyamalan’s movies – at least, until The Village. With The Sixth Sense, I enjoyed a second viewing as much as the first, because knowing what was going on gave me a different perspective on the characters.

With The Village, it seemed like Shyamalan had fallen for his own publicity, and was elevating the “twist” higher in importance than the essence of the story. Instead of a way to reexamine our perceptions, it felt like a stupid gimmick.

When I saw The Village, about halfway through I started thinking, "Jesus Christ, don’t tell me this is actually set in the modern day. If so, these people are idiots or insane, and it’s a really stupid “Twilight Zone” twist. (And not the good “Twilight Zone” episodes written by Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson – I’m talkin’ Rod Serling, hit-you-over-the-head, completely arbitrary twist.) It’s a shame, because the premise had potential. He should have just forgotten about trying to surprise people, and revealed pretty early on what was going on – because there were strong themes that could have been explored there. (And maybe we could have found out why the Elders decided to banish contractions from their speech.)

Let’s give this movie a chance before dumping all over it, though. It’s usually pointless to try and critique a film based on a trailer.

Lady in the Water is supposed to be a fairy tale, not a horror/thriller film like his earlier efforts.

Unfortunately, they seem to be marketing the creepy vibe instead of the fanatasy vibe. I really liked Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense, but not his other stuff. This one looks interesting, though.

I can’t wait for this. I’ve loved all Shyamalan’s other movies and don’t think he’s overrated one iota (underrated, if anything). I’ve only seen the teaser because I shut my eyes and close my ears and hum whenever the actual trailer comes on. From a distance, the poster is one of the most beautiful posters I’ve seen in years, but I can’t look at it closer because I’m afraid there are spoilers in it.

I’m pretty confident I’m going to love this one too.

Say what you will about Shamalayan’s plots, but the man has absolutely mastered atmosphere and to a lesser extent, character.

You may think the revelations about the aliens in Signs are completely retarded (I disagree, but that’s another thread, which we just had), but that movie was scary as hell. Scariest movie made in America in a good long time, I’d say. The man made me screech and jump out of my seat in a movie theater. I never do that. And he did it with a reference to this famous hokey footage of Bigfoot, for Christ’s sake! I watched the movie and I felt yep, this is what it would be like if aliens invaded. Huddled in the basement. Father desperately trying to keep his family together. Everyone cowering from creatures that they couldn’t possibly hope to understand.

The man’s trademark is taking hokey premises (ghosts, superheroes, aliens, fairy tales) and applying a layer of verisimillitude and realistic reactions to it.

I agree with Baldwin that the plot twist in the Village (at least, the big twist at the end, the other plot twist caught my completely off guard and mad ethe movie more enjoyable). But I don’t think it was so much people believeing his hype so much as he observed that the Sixth Sense, which had a much stronger more central twist than Unbreakable and Signs, was better recieved, and tried to stick closer to that formula. I wish he wouldn’t. I hope there isn’t a big “everything you thought you knew is wrong” type twist in Lady in the Water. I wish he’d do an adaptation, and apply his talents to a stronger plot than he seems capable of writing himself.

I also wish he’d stop putting himself in his movies. He’s one of my favorite directors, but the guy can’t act for shit. If he must appear, just do a walk-on. Tarantino learned his lesson, why can’t Shamalayan.

Signs and the Villiage… he should call his company Short Bus Productions.

I liked Sixth Sense (although I had heard the twist before seeing it on cable) and Unbustable even more.

Didn’t see Signs or The Village. But I’ve read all about Village and I think a lot of people take it too literally. The whole movie is meant to be an analogy. Of what depends on who you ask. Some say religion, i.e. keeping the people in line thru fear of a fake evil, the outside world representing the unsure truth as opposed to living in simpler, stable ignorance etc.

I agree that Mr. Shama-lama-ding-dong knows the visual craft of film better than most. This latest effort seems to show that (to me anyway)…

The Sixth Sense was good, everything else has been more of a dissapointment than the last.

“Mr. Twist” needs to branch out.

No, what’s retarded is:

[spoiler]1. Aliens who can breathe (with no visible air tanks) in Earth’s atmosphere, presumably evolved on a similar world and have similar biochemistry, but are afraid of open water. (Alien Nation is guilty of the exact same stupidity.)

  1. Aliens who will openly attack and stir up a highly industrialized, well-armed civilization just to kidnap a few people at random for no apparent purpose.

  2. What’s **ultra-**retarded: Aliens whose role in the story, when you come down to it, serves no purpose but helping a doubting minister find his faith again :rolleyes: – and that for no good reason, either. (If God was watching out for your boy, why would He give him asthma as a defense mechanism against poison gas? Why not just steer the ET’s somewhere else?)[/spoiler]

How long ago? A one-month forum search on the keyword “signs” turns up nothing.

:confused: Tarantino’s performance was the best thing in From Dusk 'Til Dawn! Not that that’s saying much.

To be fair, in Alien Nation it wasn’t any old water but water with a salt content approaching that of sea water. Still dumb, though, just not retarded.Do we really need to spoilerbox this stuff, by the way?

He was good in Pulp Fiction too. A better example is Kevin Smith, who plays a (mostly) nonspeaking character because he can’t act. He did pull off the Chasing Amy speech pretty well, though.

For obvious reasons I see no need to box your post. I just didn’t want to spoil plot points in Signs for anyone who hasn’t seen it. (Not that anyone who has read this far in this thread would think of seeing it.)

I just HAD to check the link to see if you were going to “Splash” or “Neverwhere”…


I’m a big M. Night fan. I think many of you are just haters.

Mainly, I think the “twist” hate is ridiculous. It seems to me that M. Night haters just love to crow about how they’re way too smart and observant to “fall for” them. Well, that’s missing the point entirely.

There was no twist in Unbreakable. Isn’t it pretty standard storytelling to have the villian be known to the hero apart from the big crimes? I’m not really sure what the underlying point to that movie was, but it was his first effort anyway.

The Sixth Sense was partially reliant on the twist, which was intentionally put in there as a “gotcha ya!” But that movie was more about grief and not being able to let go; getting hung up on the twist is to miss the underlying point.

Signs was about faith. Getting hung up on details about the aliens is missing the point completely. I suspect he made their weakness so blatantly silly simply to make it perfectly clear that you shouldn’t be focused on the aliens at all.

The Village was a love story, plain and simple. The goofy monster business was merely backdrop for the lengths we’ll go to for those we love and the loves we’ve lost. Really, when I hear people pin the smug meter railing about how easily they saw the twist coming, I wonder if we saw the same movie. It’s about as retarded a nitpick as complaining that you knew that Dorothy’s trip to Oz was a dream because it was shot in color. Could you imagine somebody saying that they thought the Wizard Of Oz sucked and the filmmaker was a hack because of that obvious and glaring tell? Who the hell cares what you see coming? If your enjoyment of a movie is based solely on being surprised, then I suggest you don’t watch any movies, because they alll tell the same damn stories. It’s all about presentation, and M. Night is master of that.

I can’t wait for the new film; Bryce Dallas Howard owned The Village. (Along with Joaquin Phoenix, who is pure gold.) I can’t wait to see the performance he gets out of Paul Giamatti. And I won’t worry about whether or not there is a twist and how obvious that twist is, because the unexpectedness of the twist will be completely unrelated to the quality of the film.

I mean, really. Did you think that Fight Club was an essay about mental illness? It just occurred to me that those who get hung up on the twist of a movie share the same mindset as the studio suits who only care about a movie’s hook.

I’ll agree with the complaint about him inserting himself in his movies. (Reminds me of Spike Lee.)

He was stupendously awful and jarringly out of place in Signs. I don’t remember him in Sixth Sense. His appearance in The Village was way too cutesy-sly for me. And I only vaguely recall Unbreakable anyway, so even if his part was mentioned I probably wouldn’t remember it.

He really needs to stop doing that.

But it was a very, very bad way to tell a story about faith.

You know, Shyamalan gets a lot of shit he doesn’t deserve. As a writer he clearly gets off on mid-story changes in perspective and context. But I firmly believe that this is not some “gimmick” he is deliberately placing in his movies to sell a bunch of tickets. If that were the case, I think he’d be better at it.

Depending on the film, these perspective changes might be huge, seismic shifts (The Sixth Sense) or little ripples secondary to the larger story (The Village). At some point - and I believe this is mainly the fault of the studios’ marketing departments - critics and viewers have declared that “the twist” is where Shyamalan’s films are made or broken, and that is just not fair.

Although all of Shyamalan’s movies are marketed as thrillers, only The Sixth Sense qualifies in this category. If there is any thematic consistency, it is that of psychological explorations of realistic people in fantastic situations:

  • Unbreakable: a man with a failing marriage discovers he’s a superhero.
  • *Signs *: a former priest reassesses his faith during an alien invasion
  • The Village: a blind woman’s quest to save her true love threatens the foundations of her sheltered community.
  • Lady in the Water: hell if I know, but I’m guessing it’s something about parenthood and lost innocence, etc.

In the above, the first part of the description is far more important to the plot than the second. The “twists” are all simply story devices to bring the hero/heroine’s motives and into sharp focus. It doesn’t always work that well. Despite Menocchio’s protests to the contrary, I think Signs is a deeply flawed film (not in the least because it stars my most-hated actor of all time, Mel Gibson), but I do agree that most of the reasons people state for hating it are all way off base. The Village, on the other hand, was a very moving love story, IMO. Sure, I saw the “twist(s)” coming a mile away, but that’s not the point. The point is that the stories (usually) are compelling, and are always a lot more original than the vast majority of formulaic dreck Hollywood vomits out every week.

However, bottom-line-focused studio marketing departments care only about getting The Sixth Sense crowd to buy a ticket to the next movie. So, they pretend the films are thrillers and they hint at some big shocker of a mystery, so you better go in the first weekend so as not to have the plot “spoiled!” No wonder audiences and lazy critics feel betrayed. They walk in expecting The Sixth Sense III and they get a love story? A meditation on faith? WTF?!

I’m not surprised that Shyamalan describes Lady in the Water as a fairy tale - that’s pretty much what all of his movies are. I wish people would give the whole “twist” thing a rest and just give his films a chance to succeed or fail on their own.

Or, ya know, what Ellis Dee said. A few minutes earlier, while I was composing my cogent arguments…uh, and stuff.


What up, Ellis? :smiley:

No, you’d probably get it.

unbelievably minor spoilers

Our hero decides to test whether he has psychic powers, and so calls aside the guy he sensed was doing drug-dealer stuff in the stadium’s bathroom. And after a thorough pat-down, well, it turns out the guy isn’t carrying anything. And so there’s an awkward silence. And the suspect wishes him luck at catching real drug dealers, and then ambles off.

He does it because Hitchcock did it, and the pretentious idiot really believes he’s the new Hitchcock. (A director who had more genius, wit and directorial flair in his pinky than Shamalayan in his whole body.)

You are correct, I do remember that.

I stripped the spoiler boxes out of your post, 'cause, well, the movie’s almost 2 decades old now, and if you ain’t seen it or the TV series, tough. Yo’re forgetting that the aliens were essentially genetically engineered slaves used by some other race we never saw in the film, and that they’d been engineered to be addicted to certain drugs (they also got drunk off sour milk), so it’s entirely possible that they were genetically engineered to have an adverse reaction (namely death) to being exposed to salt water as an easy way to keep them under control. They start getting a little uppity, and their masters just hose 'em down, ala The Day of the Triffids. Any that survive are gonna be more careful about pissing massa off in the future.