I want my money back.
I'm easily amused and entertained by movies. Especially M. Night Shyamalan movies. I've liked everything he has written/directed/edited/producted/etc- even The Village.
I thought Lady in the Water was terrible. I realize there's the whole "What a twist!" element to all of Shyamalan's previous films and I knew going into this one that there wasn't a twist. It's a fairy tale. The lady is a "narf" (a water creature), there are these dog-like "scrunt" things that want to kill the "narf" and a triad of ape-like creatures that are totally evil.
Okay, so let's just believe all this as readily as Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) does.
# # #
Cleveland: What's your name?
Story: Story. I'm a narf.
Cleveland: What do you know about narfs?
Young Soon: They're creatures, blah blah, scrunts want to kill them, blah, need to be taken home by an eagle.
Cleveland: Okay, we'll get you home, Story. I'll go outside and challenge one of the scrunts to a duel while we wait for a giant eagle to swoop down out of the sky and grab you. Let's get the Guild or the Seven Sisters together and a Healer and-
# # #
Whoa whoa WHOA! What are all the people at The Cove smoking? Why is Cleveland and everyone else in the apartment complex so ready to believe and participate? The answer would be: Because they're meant to. They were drawn to be at The Cove because Story was there and they're "destined" to help or whatever.
That's a total cop-out.
If you want this to be real, you gotta have some skeptics sprinkled throughout the crowd, repeating, "You guys are crazy. This is crazy." Then in the end when they see it's all real, they don't say anything but are profoundly changed for the rest of their lives. In the case of this movie, EVERYONE is like, "Come on, yeah, let's do this, I'm the Guardian of the Madame Narf and you're the one that sees prophetic messages in mundane things!" At only one or two points did someone actually say, "Are you sure this is all for real? Like, doesn't this sounds a little crazy?" Of course, you can make the claim that once you're physically AROUND Story, you believe because she makes you feel something inside.
But that's a total cop-out too.
Young Soon's mom knows too much about Narfs and their mythology. It was a bedtime story she had heard from her own mother but it turns out that it's all true. Verbatim. Everything she was told was completely accurate and could be applied to the current Story Rescue Mission. Say these words, do these things, this needs to happen.
Isn't that convenient?
What about all the bastardized Grimms Stories? All fables and mythologies have been augmented over time like a word whispered along a group of people playing "Telephone". But Cleveland can go to Apartment 214, ask "What are scrunts and how do I stop them?", get an answer- AND IT'S TRUE?
Sing along with me- Isn't it convenient, don't you think?
M. Night Shyamalan has a bigger role in this movie (in which he's a writer and his words will affect the course of the world (hello, ego-masturbate much?)).
There's a film critic in the movie who would make self-&-scene-aware comments that pull you (the audience) out of the fairy tale and make you aware of the fact that you're watching a movie. Does Shyamalan want us to be committed to the story (and to Story) or not?
Here's my final take on the movie:
- The mythology is confusing. Basically the entire movie is summed up in the first three minutes of the film.
- Everything that happens is too convenient.
- Story came from the Blue World. Well how'd she get here? Why was she living in the pool for so long? Where'd that door in her Little Mermaid Fortress of Solitude go?
- The triad of evil apes just happened to be in the trees by The Cove? Why? Because the scrunts where there? Because Story was there? Are there other narfs on awakening missions around the world?
- "Madame Narf"? Shut the fuck up.
- The only characters I cared about were Cleveland (and that was only after an incredibly telling reveal about 2/3 through the movie) and Young Soon and her mom (only because they're Korean and Young Soon is my mom's name). Everyone else was too believing, too fake, too predictable.