Why so much hating on The Village? Spoilers!

In the thread about movies most recently seen bad movies:

There is a lot of hating going on for The Village.

I thought it was the second best M. Night movie. I thought Unbreakable was unbearbale and although I saw Signs I don’t remember any of it, so it couldn’t have been that great.

What I liked about it:

I never got bored.

I thought the overall concept of people living like it was the 1800’s to protect their innocense was interesting.

I thought the visuals were great.

I liked the Howard girl’s performance.

I liked all the twists, although the end twist was predictable.

There were a couple of points where I was pretty startled.

I guess I just thought it was overall a fun movie to watch.


I agree. I think people have raised the expectations of M. Night so high, they’re disappointed with anything lower than perfection. I’d rank The Village just below 6th Sense. The concept was unique, consistent and well directed. I’m also now thoroughly in love with the Howard girl, incredibly impressed with Adrian Brody’s range, my opinion of J. Phoenix has risen (I thought he was horrendous in Gladiator), and I’m glad to see veterans like Weaver and Hurt take on lesser roles.

I think most of the criticism comes because the twist takes people out of the movie experience - hey, guess what? It’s *supposed * to. Fine, the movie wasn’t as large or as grandiose as his others. It didn’t come out with a huge meaning of life ending. But it was a unique vision competently delivered.

I liked it, and I really liked the ideas that it explores. For example, that people are easier to control when they’re afraid (remind you of any certain administration? Just sayin’, is all.).

I also liked how duplicitous and really rather evil the elders were. They set up this utopia where innocence could be protected and people wouldn’t have to worry about crime. However, to maintain it, they have to committ crimes. Walker is set up as a beneficial man who cannot let someone die when he could be saved, but who does he send? His blind daughter, who cannot see the advances of modern technology, cannot report back about what she has seen, and cannot be motivated by these sights to call out the enormity of the deception or leave the utopia. And then these “beneficial” elders exploit the death of one of their members to further fuel the deception. It’s really rather sickening when you think about it.

I like the theme of the futility of escape. As shown in the movie, you can’t really escape reality - these people tried to escape modern day ugliness, but crime found its way to their doorstep anyway. You can’t escape the ugliness that is inherent in the human character, and by refusing to deal with it you may only make its occurrences more violent.

Yes, it’s not without flaws, but I liked it.

What crimes? Withholding medical treatment is not a crime (see: Christian Scientists).

I know that Orson Scott Card is controversial on the SDMB – I am somewhat sympathetic to the anti-Card* camp – while really not caring one way or the other, But having said that: He makes a case that the Village was stolen goods and that Shal. has done it before
*Uncle Orson Reviews: Mysteries, Sci-Fi, History, Thrills, Poems
By Orson Scott Card

I didn’t see The Village, but I did get a detailed synopsis of the story from my brother. And as I read his synopsis, I grew more and more furious.

Because the movie is, point for point, based on award-winning author Margaret Peterson Haddix’s 1995 young-adult novel Running Out of Time.

This is not a matter of subtle resemblances. Nor is the story one that might ordinarily arise in the general culture.

It is simply impossible to believe that M. Night Shyamalan did not take his movie from Haddix’s book. Especially because the “influences” Shyamalan cites in interviews are so ludicrous. King Kong? Please.


With The Village, however, Shyamalan has gotten cocky. The changes are relatively slight. The resemblances are overwhelming. And, most important, because The Village was made, no movie based on Running Out of Time can ever be made. He used up Haddix’s property completely.

And with two copied stories, it’s a pattern now. *
*more accurately the “Card is an ass” camp

I rather liked it. Very atmospheric. Great characters. The plot twist that nobody’s talking about (the blind girl will have to resuce the brave man) caught me entirely by surprise. Also, a retarded character who was not noble and pure hearted, contra Hollywood standards. A wonderful take on old-old-old school fairy tales, and a commentary on the use of fear as social control.

Still, the ending twist was so entirely lame that I really can’t blame folks who were soured on teh movie by it. I still liked it.

They made their own laws, and then broke them.

The went into the woods. They dressed up in the bad color and ran around scaring the shit out of the villagers (the latter might not be a crime, but it’s bad form). They (and Adrien Brody’s character, probably) killed animals, which one would presume in an agrarian community would be against the law, though it’s not explicitly stated.

I agree with Snickers view of the movie. I think the hypefest over MNS being some major genius leads to a backlash when one is confronted with the actual quality of his movies. Perhaps, as he matures, he’ll be able to deal better with the challenging subtexts that movies like The Village present, and will get away from the idea that lame twists make for a good movie. In the meantime, his movies have a good look, and the actors give good performances, and he knows how to set a mood (although it’s usually only one mood).

Can you imagine the outrage the day MNS releases a movie that doesn’t have a twist?

Also, your quoted text isn’t from my post - it’s Snickers’ text.

-That first section? The establishing scenes? Little shots of people being in the village? That sweet shot with the two chicks sweeping that porch, when the twirl around? Night was so in love with that sweet little flourish–the pirouettes with brooms and skirts, that he expects us to believe that it takes two women to sweep a porch the size of a kingsize bed. This sets the tone: Shyamalan will expect you to swallow ANYTHING he wants to feed you in service of taking the path of least resistance to a foregone conclusion.

-If you’re gonna seal yourself and a bunch of other hippie friends into a cult compound for ever and ever and ever, make sure you have enough bowler hats and striped gingham for the next three generations, but DON’T bring any medical supplies. Otherwise the director would have to come up with a better plot.

-The quickest way to get kids to mess around in a shed is to call it “the shed that shall not be used.”

-Say you’re the father of a blind girl. You’re about to tell her something important that will probably disturb her. You don’t want to freak her out. Here’s what you don’t say: “Try not to scream.” THAT’S what you say when freaking out the audience is far more important than anything that’s really going on onscreen.

-“I cannot tell you in words.” Um, howbout these words: “There’s no such thing as the baddies in red. We made them up to keep you kids in line.” Unless your focus as a director is a lazy way to freak out the audience again. Don’t find a smart way to do it, just go with your first idea, no matter how outrageously lame it is, like “I cannot tell you in words.”

-You’re in a watchtower. You hear a noise. You look down the hole in the middle of the platform and see a bad guy. What do you do? You close the trap door and sit on it, spinning around, in case it comes up the outside and over the open sides of the platform, right? Wrong. You close the door, and scoot all the way to the edge of the platform, with your back to the exposed open wall. Why? Because that’s how the camera’s placed; no other reason.

-M.NS set up Howard’s character as somewhat mystical: she’s blind, but not really: she sees differently, but she sees all. She has some limited psychic power then. Good: M.NS is setting this up to be important to the plot: something about her power is going to drive the plot twist, right? Wrong. He just put it in for texture; has nothing at all to do with the story. He sets us up for an SFish twist; Carrie or something; but then we see that he just did that so he could make those scences a little more atmospheric.

-It makes PERFECT sense that a hippie cult from the seventies would speak in phrases such as “what is your meaning?” :rolleyes:

-“Where will we hide this extra monster suit?” “Let’s hide it somewhere that makes sense.” “No; let’s hide it somewhere that’s convenient to the plot!” “Good idea!”

-“Let’s see. Do I, as director, want to squeeze in my increasingly obnoxious cameo in a way that makes sense, or is cleverness more important? I’ll go with cleverness; people will forgive me, even though it’s pretty damn unlikely that if you can see my face in the fridge door, I’m not gonna see the guy stealing medical supplies a few feet from my face, especially since I’ve made it clear that my character is a suspicious micromanager. I’ll also stock the fridge with a hospital’s worth of medications that can only be used by a doctor, because we hire only MDs at this godforsaken security guard shack.”

-Let’s make sure that everyone wants to leave the blind chick wandering alone in the woods. Especially her father. And lets make sure she gets back home unharmed, wandering blindly in the trackless woods.

-The ivy-covered “wall” that the girls finds at the end of her journey bounces back from her touch like an upended trampoline: it’s very clearly a wire fence of some kind. No problem. But wait, here she is on the other side, and no! it’s a brick wall.

there were more; I’ll rack.

Lissener, you said it all. haha.

I hated The Village. Muy dissapointing.

I loved it. My second-favorite, after Sixth Sense. I even enjoyed the twists. As to many things being arranged because it’s convenient to the movie: IT’S A MOVIE. Get over it. Yes, Shyamalan is still in the rough. I like that.

Oh, give me a break. That’s what MNS was trying to convey? Really? There’s not a remote possibility that one of the girls was sweeping inside a minute ago? Next time you rip this movie apart, leave this out - it’s irrelevant.

Where’s the problem here? If you’re going to bitch about this, at least mention the modern-era knicknacks in the boxes. It’s clear they were attempting to institute an historically accurate community - modern medicine wouldn’t exactly be kosher, now would it? Bowler hats and gingham can be recreated from homemade textiles in a couple generations when they run out - penicilin can’t.

You forgot to capitalize all the words to make it look like you think the name of the shed is “The Shed That Shall Not Be Used”.

Rule one of writing is “show it, don’t say it”.

How convenient that you fail to remember or mention that the kid portrayed in this scene is absolutely terrified of the creatures, and acts irrationally in their presence elsewhere in the movie. I certainly don’t expect a pissing-his-pants scared 16 year old kid to act rationally, why do you?

He does? She sees shades of color. So what. Lots of people who lost their sight as children do. What’s mystical about that?

No, but it does make PERFECT sense that a emotionally damage group of people, of whom only one of which is knowledgeable about pre-industrial society, who are trying to recreate such a society would alter their sentence structure to create an additional barrier to modern conveniences and norms.

Extra? You mean the costume that Brody gets? How is that extra - the elders that use that suit use it supposedly every day/night, and need to keep it on hand so it’s convenient.

It’s a debateable point, but I came away from that scene thinking that MNS’s character knew full-well what was going on, and knew full-well what was in the preserve.

Your point here is lacking. What are you trying to say?

There were brick posts between ivy-covered chain link fences. What’s your point?

Wow, Munch. Just. Wow.

You’re, what, a Republican, right? and somebody told you that Bush liked the movie? Your apoplexies of apologia are truly, truly unequaled to the left of Dick Cheney.

You have to work a great deal harder to fit those things in than MNS ever did shooting them.

Wow. Completely irellevant political bashing, plus an utter non-response to Munch’s destruction of your, well, I’ll be charitable and call them “nitpicks”. Way to go lissener. :rolleyes:

ROFL! Way to discredit yourself.

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I appreciate it about as much as an anal papercut.

The plot was a good idea I thought. They live in constant fear of those creatures, they stay out of the woods, etc. What I just hated was how he pretty much told the twist ending in the middle of the movie. So the creatures were a fake, everyone was told this lie. I also don’t see how it would work, I mean wouldn’t some teenagers climb the fence? Wouldn’t some kids go in “The Shed That Shall Not Be Used” as a dare? And what about when the Elders die? Would they let some other people in on the secret saying, “Hey, everything we have told you is a lie. The creatures were just us with costumes on. It’s really the year 2004, not in the 1800s. Since us Elders are dying out, we need you to take over the role. Oh yeah, you can’t tell anyone about this huge lie of a town.”

Uh, the twist ending was that the community was in the here and now, not 200 years ago.

I thought that was very well-explained. After Walker decided to send Ivy through the woods, the elders are meeting behind a building, angry at Walker. (This is also where we get the first clue that this takes place now, as people’s language and tenor change to modern dialect during this conversation.) Walker gives an excellent talk about “you can only possess something if you are willing to risk everything for it.” For Walker, it means risking both his daughter as well as the entire construct of the society, lest Ivy discover the truth and reveal it to the rest of the town. Clearly, before this point in time they had no plan to pass the truth down to other generations. My guess is they were hoping to instill enough fear into their children they wouldn’t have to reveal the truth at all*.
*Of course, they may have wanted to pass it down to someone, otherwise they wouldn’t have had kept memoirs and such in the lock boxes.

The political angle of my response was said with a wink and a nudge. It was probably uncalled for nonetheless, so I’m sorry I tossed it in there.

In any case, if you have to work that hard to make a fabric of nitpickable holes hold together, then there’s something wrong.

Bottom line is MNS is coasting; he knows there are enough people out there willing to bend over backwards to fill in his holes, so he leaves them in. The same cavalier attitude toward the details that serve to make up the story is a symptom of spielberg’s later coasting, so MNS is hardly the first one to follow that career arc.

And I didn’t respond to Munch’s response blow by blow because his blows were all eyerollers, and the last one was flat out wrong.

Also, forgot: it’s warm and sunny in the village, but freezing rain in the forest.

And this is TOTALLY a nitpick, but it’s consistent with the cavalier apathy toward details: the red flower the dancing sweepers see would never have appeared in such a place. It’s a domesticated hybrid that would never seed itself in such a place. There are, of course, native wildflowers that would have done just as well, but it’s easier just to grab the first red flower you see and use that.

IMHO, when a director starts displaying the “nobody’s gonna notice that” attitude toward details of HOOK-era Spielberg, they’re coasting. It only took three movies for MNS to get to that point; this, his fourth, is a coast from beginning to end.

Of course, they could have been keeping these memoirs for the same reason you and I do - sentimentality. Is it true that the most common answer to “What one possesion would you save from your burning house?” is “Picture albums”? I can see why they would hang onto these reminders of their past simply because they ARE reminders of their past - for themselves, to be burned upon their deaths…

I also liked the movie, by the way, as I wrote about in this thread. Other posters pretty much suggested I start wearing a tin-foil hat. (Can we make this guy’s ;j yarmulke silver? We seem to see more references to tin-foil hats than yeshiva boys…)