Signs -- Definite Spoilers




There. I’m a little better now.

Pepper Mill and I, having left MilliCal with my parents last night, took a rare night at the movies and went to see Signs

Damnit, I liked The Sixth Sense. I thought maybe Unbreakable was an aberration, that M. Night Shyamalan would be back in mode. But Signs was awful. And all the critics are in on the act.
To be brief – the performances are good. Shyamalan is a director’s directors, and, for the record, I like his directorial tricks. But the movie was unashamedly, unabashedly dumb.

This isn’t science fiction, or fantasy, or horror. It’s the tale of a minister’s redemption. He is redeemed through the actions of a benevolent deity – M. Night Shyamalan.

I should know that when they get brief with their titles they’re trying to simply overload them with symbolism and significance. Rod Serling did this with “Steel”.

The bad science fiction cliches in this film just rack up:
1.) The Aliens who can cross space with science far superior to ours, but when you finally meet them, they’re inarticulate, naked, claw-handed monsters incapable of intelligent thought.

2.) The Good Guys who plan ahead far enough to board up their house against invasion, but not to stock it up with extra batteries, candles, etc.

3.) The Monsters that are Killed with Ordinary Water!!! – a la he first movie version of Day of the Triffids, and a lot of bad SF books that I can’t name right now.

4.) The tear-jerking story of The Railroadman Caught Between the Cars, brought back to maudlin life.

5.) The apparently random clues scattered around the film that lead up tyo the denouement. Only they aren’t parts of a coherent, single vision, they’re the parts of a Rube Goldberg confection that sort of lurches around in unwieldy motion. It’s Mouse Trap as a movie plot.


I suppose I can see what you’re talking about, but… COME ON!

It was good. It was suspenseful, and when it wasn’t, it was funny. Alright, the last scene (SPOILERZ), where they finally show the alien, was bogus. No matter how loud the girl behind me screamed, it was stupid. The alien was completely not scary when you finally saw all of him.

Can some mod edit the screams so that this thread becomes readable again? Thanks!

I agree completely with the OP. (Aside from the screaming. It was more laughably bad than frustrating.)

Individual scenes were great. Well-directed, mostly very well acted (although Shyamalan is a much better director than actor), and at times touching or creepy. But overall there really wasn’t any cohesion to the movie for me. There were too many cliches and plot holes for me to buy the overall plot.

Still, it was enjoyable. There’s just something about a cheesy alien getting thwacked with a baseball bat that’s satisfying on so many levels. Overall the movie was better than a lot of drek I’ve seen in the theatre.

There were things about it I liked. The idea of showing a world wide invasion from the point of view of one family who has very little idea what’s going on is effective and (although this is a weird word to use regarding this movie) realistic.

But…his wife’s dying words are a message from God that proves he’s watching out for us and there are no coinstences?
And not just evidence that she knew his brother was a baseball player? It’s evidence of divine intervention because THEY NEVER WOULD HAVE COME UP WITH THE BRILLIANT PLAN OF HITTING IT WITH A BIG STICK OTHERWISE?!?


(And anyway, if there’s a god watching over the universe, why didn’t he watch over the aliens and tell them to pack raincoats?)

Saw it last night. And what I saw was a cliched sci-fi flick, approached from a completely novel perspective. A huge, earth-shakingly massive event, seen in microcosm. Like a schlocky sci-fi horror film was going on in the lot next door, and some of the extras are stuck in a small, strange part of it on a tiny little set nearby.

Shyamalan’s obsession with the idea of real people (or, more accurately real movie people) stuck in fictional movie events intrigues me. Unbreakable asked the question, how would a real superhero react to having superpowers? This one asked “What if the cast of a family movie of the week got stuck in an alien invasion pic?” And I thought the result was amusing.

I liked the fact that, instead of going for one big plot twist in this one, Shyamalan went for a series of small plot twists, all brought together by the alien attack. A bunch of small character quirks, revealed at last to have been a grand cosmic scheme to equip these characters to deal with a certain, extremely unlikely, situation.

One of the (possibly unintentional) side effects of this was, as you noted, that the faith that the preacher regained wasn’t in god, but in M. Night Shyamalan. It struck me as… odd.

Overall, I liked the movie. It kept a creepy, weird tone about it, which was augmented by the obviously shell-shocked family, still grieving for their loss. It kept a logical internal consistency, as long as you didn’t expect it to reflect reality. And it resurrected, however briefly, one of my favorite genres of cheesy films.

My boyfriend, however, hated it.

On the subject of the “crushed engineer” story, Snopes lists it as being of indeterminate origin, and I couldn’t find an archived article on it here. Has Cecil ever written about this one? If not, he’d be the man to do it.

I thought it was great, mindless summer entertainment!

I really liked it and in case you havn’t figured it out M. Knight is different.

His characters are not out to get the ‘girl’.

They are not out to get the ‘gold’.

They are trying to get ‘it’.

His characters are looking for their place in the universe. They are looking for meaning in their lives.

That said.

I thought the kids were not very good at the begining of the film but got better as it went along.

I think M. Knight should have let a real actor play the role he did.

I think finishing the flashback during the climax was wrong.

I think this is the best re-do of The Birds ever.

I was really creeped out how Phoenix and Gibsom really looked like they could be brothers. (although a long time between births)

The movie makes a lot more sense if you think of the ‘aliens’ the same way some fundamentalist Christians do - that they are really demons. That would help explain their irrational behavior, unusual limitations, etc.

Signs was well acted, and it was fun to watch, kinda of frightening, and pretty spooky. It’s just a struggle to feel satisfied walking out of the theater when the plot twist in a two hour long movie is the existence of God.

 A clumsy God at that.  To prove his hand in the outcome of all cosmic struggles, he kills a preacher's wife, whose last words prompt a minor league baseball player to hit an alien over the head with a bat.  Would Mel Gibson * really * not thought to have his brother attack the alien if his wife hadn't said it?  It seems fairly obvious. 
I thought, with the great build up leading to the climax,  and the added footage in Gibson's flashback, that I was really in store for a great surprise.  Alas, it was just God jumping out from a closet with a flashlight and yelling "Boo!"

Well I just got back from a matinee showing. There were only two other people in the theatre so that was nice. Aside from that I wish I had read this thread first. Tomorrow I’ll take a shot at Minority Report, hopefully with better results.

I really liked the movie up to the last five minutes, then it turned into a tract. I expected to see “A Jack Chick Production” pop up at the end. Why couldn’t it all be a coincidence? If only instead of believing again, Gibson’s character decided that everything was just very good luck and when on with life the movie would have left a better aftertaste with me.

BTW, did anyone find it odd that a character named Merrill used water to help beat his foe (Marill is a pokémon character that uses water attacks). Maybe I’m just a geek for noticing it. Maybe its’ another “piece” Shyamalan threw in. I’d put money on the first one.

I liked it. I wasn’t expecting much, though, not being a big fan of Unbreakable and never having seen The Sixth Sense. Still, I thought it was good wholesome creepy fun.

I thought Mel was stifling a sneeze in one scene, but it turned out he was “acting” an emotional moment.

Liked the movie. My sweetie thought Bruce Willis would have been better in the Mel Gibson role. I thought Danny Devito would have been better in the Merril role.

Just kidding.

I saw the movie Friday and really liked it, though I was disappointed by all the hype …“it’s not what you think”.

It was what I thought. The aliens were real, and a crisis helps a man regain his faith. I didn’t think that God allowed his wife to be killed just so she could gasp out last words that might be helpful when remembered later when killing one single alien.

This movie gets my nomination for best outburst by an audience member. The little boy has been reading the book, listing the attributes of aliens…small bodies, vegetarians, etc. Later, trapped in the house, listening to the dog barking frantically outside, we are all tense as we hear the dog get silenced…and then a voice from the back of the theater says,…“well, that blows the vegetarian theory!” The whole theater cracked up!

Peper Mill’s reaction was to turn off her critical sense and view it as mndless entertainment. After the movie she opened up and tore it to shreds.
I mean, I like Shyamalan’s sense of style in direction, too. But I simply cannot turn off my critical faculties that far. Aliens who can cross space, bt can’t figure out to get a sledgehammer and bash in a door? Or cut the electrical cables to the house and really screw with the minds of the people trapped inside? Aliens who conveniently dissolve in water (what must their homeworld be like?) who invade a planet that’s 3/4 water!!! (my thanks to Pepper Mill for that one.) You simply cannot watch this movie if you have any imagination. The idiocies keep popping up like Claymore mines and hitting you in the face.
This idea of invasion seen from a personal point of view has been done before. Lots of times. A family that barricades itself in a house by boarding up the winows, and evetually etreats to the basement to escape the baddies? You haven’t seen Night of the Living Dead or its remake? I’m sure M. Night has.

So, if you liked it, your only options are either to a) be lying, or b) not have any imagination.


Naw. I’ll still take door number three.

I really enjoyed “Signs”. It made you think, it was fun to watch and leaves you with a good feeling. I have a different take on the “God let his wife die to save the son later on” way of thinking. To me it was more of a “God takes our crooked lines and makes a straight one”. God doesn’t cause an accident to prevent a future problem, instead He uses the accident to help the familiy with a future problem - the main problem not really being the aliens, but the lack of faith.
Much to the same point - God did not “cause” or “allow” the 9/11 attack - but God helped support the rescuers as they worked, God conforts the families , and God is there for those who were killed.

I know some people say “God helped me ace this test” or God kept me from dieing in that storm" but I am always wary of such thinking - too much of God helping would lead away from free will - but God supporting us with direction (Bible, traditions, prayer) and being there for us to help us through the disasters and problems in life(even if “helping us through” involves - ‘Welcome to heaven - here’s your harp’) is more in line to what I believe.
On those terms - the movie works for me as a spiritual fable - like one of Christ’s parables if not as succint. The meaning is more in faith in God and the support of loving family/friends. The aliens are just representing the storms and trials of life.


Loved the movie. From a MOVIEMAKING perspective, it was wonderfully done.

To be honest, the obvious plot holes simply didn’t bother me; it seemed to me in every case that they served a purpose. The picture was creating a situation with a specific atmosphere, playing on a specific theme, and it worked. I thought movie was excellent from the first frame to the last.

I find it curious that people seem to think you have to AGREE with a movie’s theme to enjoy the movie. I think the notion that nothing is a coincidence is laughable nonsense. However, as a theme that ties a movie together, it’s as good as any other, and made for an interesting film.