May 17 2008

M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night ShyamalanIf you’re a fan of M. Night Shyamalan, you might as well walk away now.

M. Night Shamalangadingdong, as I like to call him, has made exactly one movie that I halfway like, Unbreakable, I find the rest of his productions unwatchable, over wrought train wrecks of ego over substance. I have talked about him exactly twice on this blog, I figured that was enough, but the commercials for his latest attack on the film going public, The Happening, are making me wonder how he even gets funding at this point.

True, up until his last film, Lady in the Water, all of his films have made money, but the positive critical acclaim has dwindled with each passing film. This new one is already getting some pretty negative press, and it’s still a month away from release.

Now, I’m going to go spoilery, so if you really don’t want to know what “the happening” is, go away… the plants are pissed off at mankind and decide to release neuro-toxin that causes people to kill themselves.

Yeah… that’s the whole movie from what I hear.

The thing that kills me about his movies is that I figure them out from his trailers usually. Yes, even The Sixth Sense. When people came to me and told me “the twist” that Bruce Willis was dead the entire movie, my reply was always, “Yeah, the trailer gave it away”, followed by a blank stare from them. Shyamalan has relied too heavily on his “twists” to make a movie work, and now it turned out the latest has no surprise twist and, guess what, it blows.

True, I am pre-judging a movie without seeing it, but the little bit of it I have seen just makes me cringe. I am also going by his body of work, and I sometimes wonder if it is just a matter of taste, or is it just that he really does have no talent? His scripts are always ham fisted in their delivery, he has a nasty habit of pre-announcing important plot points miles ahead of time (come on, in Signs, who didn’t see the baseball bat being important? He LITERALLY hung it on the wall!), and he has a bad habit of lighting rooms solely in shafts of light with heavy dust particles… we get it, it’s moody, now stop doing it!

What gets me is that it is almost as if people are afraid to say they don’t like his work, like it will be some sort of revelation about them to say, “hey, you know what? He really is horrible.” Luckily I have no such compunctions, but then again, I rarely censor myself about anything. For those of you who do like him, more power to you, everyone has different tastes and styles they enjoy, so knock yourselves out.

So, until Shyamalan finds this “talent” everyone keeps saying he has, please leave me out of his messes.

In case you’re wondering what prompted me to write this, it was this scathing review of The Happening. I’m not even sure scathing adequately covers it, to be honest. It’s written by someone who used to love his movies, and now draws a review to a close by saying:

Seeing a Shyamalan has become this horrifically abusive relationship where I desperately cling to the belief that if I keep loving him, he’ll stop hitting me.

How can you even top that? You can’t.

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