Saturday, June 14, 2008

Film Review: The Happening

One of our first film reviews on Indiana Jones offered up five reasons for you to go and see the movie. It was apparent in the comments section that there were elements of the film that people found less than stellar. Therefore, in our subsequent film reviews we're going to use a new system that provides both the positive and negative aspects of the feature. The new review system will help one decide if they should go and shell out the twenty dollars it takes to see the movie. The first flick to utilize this new system will be M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening. Many fans are familiar with Shyamalan's twists, turns, and shocking endings from timeless pictures like The Sixth Sense and Signs.

His latest film, The Happening opens in New York City, but then follows the path of Philadelphia science teacher Elliott Moore (played by Mark Wahlberg.) After watching the film, here are five things the "V" list has to say about Marky Mark and the suicidal bunch.

5. Gripping Opening and Steady Pace

The Happening opens with a bang and never seems to let you go. While I found myself glancing at my watch during The Village and Lady in the Water, I never had a chance to look away from this movie. Much like Jerry Maguire, this film "had me at hello." I am convinced that M. Night Shyamalan has perfected his delivery with this film, combining the best elements of Signs with the personal feel of The Village. While I was never "scared" by this film, it certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.

4. Comedy!

M. Night is best known for being a master of suspense, but he can also deliver great comedic lines that will lighten the mood and make you smile. While there are few characters outside of Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel that get real screen time, you genuinely feel for these other random people, if only for their short and comedic interactions with the main character. How does Shyamalan manage to make hot dogs funny? Genius, that's how.

3. Preachy!
I can't really discuss much about this aspect of the film without ruining the plot. Just trust me when I say Shyamalan became a little preachy with an eco-friendly agenda. I understand that film (especially sci-fi) has long provided social and political commentary, but on this particular evening I just wanted to watch a movie. Why can't I enjoy a flick without having to hear about some political agenda or war related commentary? When I want to be educated and entertained I'll rent Bowling for Columbine or An Inconvenient Truth. Leave your private agenda at home Mr. Shyamalan, cause I'm not buying.

2. The Big Finish

While The Sixth Sense ended with a bang, The Happening goes out with a whimper. Don't worry, I'm not that guy! I won't ruin the ending of the movie for you. When it was all over I looked over at my wife and said, "S*&^ ! That's it!?" The conclusion left such a bad taste in my mouth, I have a problem recommending this film wholeheartedly. Since The Sixth Sense, fans of M. Night want to get hit with a sledgehammer at the end of the movie, but regretfully this will not happen with his latest film. Don't go into the movie expecting the big twist, or you will leave this one disappointed.

1. You can't look away (even though you might want to)

This is M. Night Shyamalan's first "R" rated film, and there's a reason. I wonder if they had a brainstorming session somewhere in the studio, only to manufacture some of the most disgusting and painful ways to die. While previous Shyamalan films dance around the concept of death, The Happening openly embraces it. Remember how I mentioned the pacing of the film is wonderfully done? The film's death toll has a lot to do with that. Death strikes at random and with such frequency that you never know what will happen next. While The Happening has its flaws, you simply must see this film. It certainly is not Shyamalan's best work, but it will leave you with an unsettled feeling, and that's a good thing. The "V" list gives The Happening 3.8 out of 5 Stars.

1 comment:

Michael said...

must see this...don't know when i'm gonna make it...arg...