Wednesday, October 25, 2006

M. Night Shyamalan Movies

Last night I watched Signs. Mel Gibson. Joaquin Phoenix. I heard it had done well at the box office and I had read a few good reviews. So, I put Signs on my DVD list.

I didn't like it.

It tells the story of an ex-reverend who's faith in God has been eradicated by the death of his wife. And then aliens arrive in his cornfield.

No suspension of disbelief for Auntie Tanya over here. The finest acting, I must say, came from the children. A little from Joaquin Phoenix. Mel Gibson? I am tired of Mel Gibson. Mel Gibson has stopped being an actor for me (was he ever an actor?) and has just seems to play roles like This Is What Mel Gibson Would Have Been Like Had He Been A Reverend. OR This Is What Mel Gibson Would Have Been Like Had He Been A Cop. Sorry, Mel fans, but I am not entirely convinced that the man can play anything other than a different version of himself.

Actually, while I really enjoyed The Sixth Sense, also directed by Shyamalan, I didn't really immerse myself in the others I saw either. Unbreakable I saw mainly because I like Samuel L Jackson. But Bruce Willis is another actor who is playing himself. I've also seen The Village, which I also enjoyed, but which I ruined for myself by guessing the outcome of the story within the first 40 minutes of the film. So I didn't really immerse myself because I knew what was going to happen. And I was right. Disbelief semi-suspended.

I am giving the rest of Shyamalan's films a miss for now. I do think he has some good stories to tell and for me, The Sixth Sense and The Village were well told. I am, however, disappointed, especially after Signs.

I still can't figure out what the hell point there was to that movie. At all. I looked it up on the Net and there's loads of yada-yada about symbolism and shit. I didn't get it. Sorry. Throughout the film, little hints and clues are dropped all over the place. I picked those up, waited for some amazing revelation and got nothing.

Would I recommend this film? Not unless it's on really late on telly and you are bored and don't have to rent it.

Maybe I just missed the point. Enlighten me if you feel there is a point. But for me, it was just a waste of my time. I kept waiting for the big pay off. There was none. Maybe it's just too subtle for my little brain.

In any case, no more Shyamalan for me for a while. I've had my fill.


  1. FINALLY! Someone who agrees with me about Mel Gibson. I'd say he's a terrible actor but that would a compliment to him and an insult to all other actors. I find he has the exact same expressions and scenes in EVERY film. The only thing that changes is the setting.

    Shyamalan...hmmm. 6th sense was very good. Signs, not so much. I didn't like the look of the Village so I didn't watch it. I think Shyamalan was expected to be the next great thing in film making based on 6th sense. Unfortunately, that's a lot to live up to and he didn't quite make it.

  2. I liked signs, bought it actually. The village and lady in the water are terrible, and i regret spending my time watching the darn things.

    Mael Gibson is only good in some things. Same with Bruce Willis. They are action guys, so when they play out of their genere it seems silly. At least that is what i thought.

    Shyamalan is weird though, and his movies always have hidden things and little messages. So for entertainment they suck, but to make for analytical study in psychology they are wonderful.

  3. I hated Signs. I was actually angry that I wasted my time watching it.

    I liked the sixth Sense and Unbreakable, but I like Bruce Willis, and you are right, he's playing different versions of himself.

    Village was ok.

  4. Hi all,
    I LOVE his latest movie, Lady In The Water. (didn't really like the Village)
    Don't let Signs prevent you from seeing this one. Much more upbeat than his others.
    As for the "meaning" in Signs, someone pointed out to me that it was their so-called shortcomings that saved them.
    The little girls weird thing about water, the boy had asthma so he wasn't able to breathe in the deadly gas...ect.

  5. The 6th Sense is excellent - even after multiple viewings (I've seen it 3 times and still love it).

    I liked Unbreakable, although it was a bit slow.

    I loved The Village - I related to it on a very personal level and even though I also guessed the end early in, it didn't ruin it for me at all.

    Signs was my least fave - although you're right 'thehealingroom', it is about their shortcomings saving them... and there is other interesting symbolism etc. I also like the tension and emotion that comes across (although I will agree that Mel is the worst part of it). For me, that film made 'horror' movie mistake number one - NEVER show the 'monster'! After all the build-up, seeing the alien was just dumb.

    Haven't yet seen Lady in the Water but am keeping an open mind about it.

  6. There is no point, Tanya, so you missed nothing. Directors like Shymalan embroider their press junkets with talk of symbolism and stuff, but they wouldn't know it if it came and hit them on the head.

    I always thought Shymalan was overrated. Even Sixth Sense was bloody obvious. Nobody was talking to or interacting with the guy... of course he was dead all along! And that kid was freaky-looking.

    * is kinda into the Shym, which means I have had to sit through Unbreakable (yawn), Signs (which I have almost completely forgotten, thank the Lord) and The Village, which I kinda enjoyed except for Adrian Brody. But if I never see another of his poxy films, it will be too soon. Especially if he puts Bruce "I can't act my way out of a paperbag" Willis in it.

  7. Hey Tanya. I thought Signs was okay. But I have a love/hate relationship with Shyamalan. I think he's a really good director making really shit films. And I believe his problem is that his stories are weak. I know that's not your opinion, and that's cool. But almost everything is so signposted.

    The twists in The Sixth Sense and The Village were too obvious. Unbreakable less so, but it was a bit pointless, if well played. Signs was just okay. To be honest, though, I think I saw it on TV and missed the first bit. I may watch Lady in the Water some day. But I would like him direct something he hasn't written, thereby concentrating on his strengths and not his weaknesses.

  8. Couldn't agree more about Gibson.
    Always reminded me of a Robin Williams mixed with Kurt Russell but with no talent.