“The Village” Discussion

M. Knight Shyamalan made another movie. I suspect his work will end up like Philip K. Dick’s work does for me; most of the early twist endings catch me off guard, but after a while, I get to know the creator well enough to predict the twists. Fortunately, so far, the ride to the twist is still entertaining enough to keep me involved. What do you folk think?

25 replies on ““The Village” Discussion”

  1. is says:

    gonna see it tomorrow.
    This one looks really good, as most of his are. I’ve been itching to see The Village since I ehard about it.
    Basically, MNS is a one trick pony, and that one trick is a really good one. I hope that eventually he will branch out into other movie genres, but even if he doesn’t, I’ll continue to keep an eye out for his movies.

    Judging by the previews, The Village one looks like a step up in scariness from “Signs”. I could be wrong. MNS likes to play with the mind more than grossing the viewer out with gore and more obvious shock value tricks.

    The only two movies of his that I haven’t seen are the first ones: Wide Awake (1998), and Praying with Anger (1992). Based on the ones I have seen, it looks like he really became known with “The Sixth Sense” and from there either had “Unbreakable” already started or didn’t pick up on the reason for “sixth”‘s success. Unbreakable wasn’t a bad movie at all, but it wasn’t necessarily in the same genre as “Signs”, and it wasn’t suspenseful. “The Village” looks to be a return to what he does best, with the “scary” notched up. Given that he’s directed so few movies, maybe he’s still in the process of finding out what he can do well.

    He wrote Stuart Little, which I thoguht was a great kids movie (clean, funny, good story with a moral). Obviously he can write…

    • mbourgon says:

      Re: gonna see it tomorrow.

      Unbreakable wasn’t a bad movie at all, but it wasn’t necessarily in the same genre as “Signs”, and it wasn’t suspenseful.

      More than anything, he’s got a habit for using “the twist at the end”. He can genre-hop all he wants, so long as the movies are good. The two films you mentioned were movies he made himself, for himself. They’re not “films” the way we think of them. Sixth Sense did so well ($672 million worldwide with a production budget of $40 million) that he was able to do Unbreakable. I remember that Sixth Sense was his “Ghost Story”, Unbreakable his “Comic Book Story”, and Signs his “Invasion Story”.

      I hope it’s good. I read Ebert’s review, and he trashed it for being a shaggy-dog story. It may be that the twist, for once, isn’t clever enough for the movie it’s in.

      • jayhawk88 says:

        Re: gonna see it tomorrow.
        So that would make The Village his Monster Story I guess?

        • valen1260 says:

          Re: gonna see it tomorrow.

          So that would make The Village his Monster Story I guess?

          Or his period piece. ;)

    • hitch says:

      Re: gonna see it tomorrow.

      The only two movies of his that I haven’t seen are the first ones: Wide Awake (1998), and Praying with Anger (1992). Based on the ones I have seen, it looks like he really became known with “The Sixth Sense” and from there either had “Unbreakable” already started or didn’t pick up on the reason for “sixth”‘s success. Unbreakable wasn’t a bad movie at all, but it wasn’t necessarily in the same genre as “Signs”, and it wasn’t suspenseful. “The Village” looks to be a return to what he does best, with the “scary” notched up. Given that he’s directed so few movies, maybe he’s still in the process of finding out what he can do well.

      He wrote Stuart Little, which I thoguht was a great kids movie (clean, funny, good story with a moral). Obviously he can write…

      he wrote the screenplay – the story of stuart little was more or less taken from the book by the same name.

      • Timeshredder says:

        Re: gonna see it tomorrow.

        I’m really uncertain about this one. The reviews have (generally) not been kind, and I am one of those (I know I may not be in the majority here) who regards Shyamalan as an excellent director whose scripts have slid steadily downhill since the excellent Sixth Sense. Unbreakable was okay, but it left me kind of cold

        Signs? I am still puzzling over the film’s popularity. The “family in crisis” stuff wasn’t bad, but by making the creepy-crawlies part of an alien invasion, he lost me. Neither aliens nor invasion made any sense (aliens have developed interstellar flight but can’t find their way out of a cupboard, and do not protect themselves against the fact that the planet they’re invading is heavily composed of their own implausible weakness), and they also problematized the film’s thematic elements (where is God for the other people who have died? Where is God for the aliens?)

        Huff

        I’m also 99% certain I’ve figured out the twist from the trailer. Of course, the twist doesn’t matter if the trip there proves worthwhile, but I really find myself wishing he’d just direct other people’s scripts for awhile, or else find himself a co-writer. I think if he focussed on directing for awhile, he really could establish himself as a new Hitchcock.

        • GrimSean says:

          Re: gonna see it tomorrow.

          I’m really uncertain about this one. The reviews have (generally) not been kind, and I am one of those (I know I may not be in the majority here) who regards Shyamalan as an excellent director whose scripts have slid steadily downhill since the excellent Sixth Sense. Unbreakable was okay, but it left me kind of cold

          I hope it’ll be good – partially because I’m supposed to be taking a cute girl to see it, and partially because I really enjoy Shyamalan’s work.

          Strange, though – I didn’t mind Sixth Sense, but I felt Unbreakable and Signs were better movies. There’s just something about the way he shot Unbreakable that really draws me in, and Signs is one of the few movies that have made me jump in the theatre (the only other one I can think of is The Matrix at the “Dodge this” scene).

          As to the weaknesses – I think that they’re less problems and more characteristic plot elements to his type of film. The twist in Unbreakable is obvious from the speech Samuel L. Jackson gives to Willis at their initial meeting at his gallery. Signs I view as an ode to the 50’s sci-fi flick, or even farther back to War of the Worlds, as I think there are obvious similarities between the death of the Martians in that and the deaths of the Aliens in Signs.

  2. robertgadlen says:

    Spoiler Free (I hope) review
    Well, I just got back from seeing this, and I have to say I was pretty disappointed in the plot. It feels to me (and feel free to slap me down if I’m wrong), that everyone should see the ending coming 3/4 of the way through the movie, and possibly even earlier than that. In the theater I was in, most of the people just groaned at it, they didn’t gasp.

    Other than the plot, it was his usual fare. The cinematography was excellent, the direction was good, and the acting was fantastic. Adrian Brody and Joaquin Phoenix were both great, and Bryce Howard played blind amazingly well.

    Overall, I’d say this is a rental at best, unless you’re in love with his stuff, then you should go see this in the theater.

    –Hob

    • is says:

      Re: Spoiler Free (I hope) review
      I agree totally. Good movie, but not great. 6 out of 10, slightly above average.

  3. joeshabazz says:

    Laundry List
    1) Signs was a horrible movie, you cannot expect me to belive that not one person in middle amercia owns a gun.
    1b) you would think intellegent beings who can jump over a building could kick down a door
    1c) If I were going to embark on a planet where acid fell from the sky on a routine basis I think i’d wear something resistant to it (oh and as far as we know it is impossible for life to form without water)
    but I digress
    2) I enjoyed “The Village” It made me jump a few times, it made me think, there was some interesting philosophy behind it, I think this is kind of like “what if M Night wrote an outer limits?”
    3) The “blind girl” was some of the worst acting for a blind person I have ever seen. She looks RIGHT at everybody, directly in their eyes. She runs though a feild and up a hill without tripping, climbs a bloody wall and the whole “i’m blind so I can sence things other people can’t” was one of the worst red herrings I have ever had to expereince. But I still liked the movie.

    • mbourgon says:

      Re: Laundry List

      1) Signs was a horrible movie, you cannot expect me to

      […]1c) If I were going to embark on a planet where

      Ah, another fan of Maddox, I see.

    • sjf says:

      Re: Laundry List
      I don’t have big issue with life being possible without water. Nor with water acting like acid. Water is one heck of a solvent, but remember there is a heck of a lot of water in the air. So an alien like that would need a breather, and a protective suit.

      My bigger issue is they have the technology to travel to another star, but they don’t have the know how to craft any sort of weapon?!!? Not even an axe or sword?!?

      • GrimSean says:

        Re: Laundry List

        My bigger issue is they have the technology to travel to another star, but they don’t have the know how to craft any sort of weapon?!!? Not even an axe or sword?!?

        I would direct you to the example of the Asgard on Stargate SG-1 for another alien species like this

    • valen1260 says:

      Re: Laundry List

      3) The “blind girl” was some of the worst acting for a blind person I have ever seen. She looks RIGHT at everybody, directly in their eyes. She runs though a feild and up a hill without tripping, climbs a bloody wall and the whole “i’m blind so I can sence things other people can’t” was one of the worst red herrings I have ever had to expereince. But I still liked the movie.

      I’ll agree completely. At first, I couldn’t even tell that she was blind, other than the obligatory cane.

      Having her blindfolded would’ve helped. Then, at the end, she could take off her blindfold and not really be blind, and see all she wasn’t supposed to see. What a twist! Somebody get me a pen!

    • y42 says:

      Behold the wonders of html!

      1. Signs was a horrible movie
        1. you cannot expect me to
          belive that not one person in middle amercia owns a gun.
        2. you would think intellegent beings who can jump over a building
          could kick down a door
        3. If I were going to embark on a planet where acid fell from the sky on a
          routine basis I think i’d wear something resistant to it (oh and as far as we
          know it is impossible for life to form without water)
          but I digress

      2. I enjoyed “The Village” It made me jump a few times, it made me think,
        there was some interesting philosophy behind it, I think this is kind of like
        “what if M Night wrote an outer limits?”

      3. The “blind girl” was some of the worst acting for a blind person I have
        ever seen. She looks RIGHT at everybody, directly in their eyes. She runs
        though a feild and up a hill without tripping, climbs a bloody wall and the
        whole “i’m blind so I can sence things other people can’t” was one of the
        worst red herrings I have ever had to expereince. But I still liked the movie.

      Or at least use <br> tags to spare us the big homegenous block of text :
      )

  4. valen1260 says:

    predictable
    Spoiler warning: You’ve been warned.

    I’ll go farther than 3/4 and say that you can predict the twist (that the Elders are the monsters) if you’ve seen the trailer and know anything about the genre. But the twist isn’t the twist. I think it was clever of Shyamalan to do his one trick twice. No one would ever suspect that. </sarcasm>

    In the end, I felt cheated. Not because I’d wasted $6.50 and two hours of my Saturday afternoon, but because we had no reason to believe that the movie wasn’t in 1897. He must think he’s so clever, but it’s just bad storytelling. There’s nothing, like in The Sixth Sense, that we can look back and say "I totally missed that clue!". We strum along, presumably where we should be, and then he hits us with "Haha… I fooled you."

    I love The Sixth Sense. Unbreakable was fun if you like comics, but basically was trying to thrive on the success of Sixth. Signs was absolutely awful, not only for the implausibilities already mentioned here, but because it was like there was supposed to be a point, but then the movie ends. I was going to boycott The Village, but the trailers just looked so good, and I like Joaquin, and I LOVE cloaks, so I bit, and now Shyamalan has my money and will use it to make his pony perform again. But I won’t be watching.

    • HyruleanPimp says:

      Re: predictable

      Spoiler warning: You’ve been warned.

      In the end, I felt cheated. Not because I’d wasted $6.50 and two hours of my Saturday afternoon, but because we had no reason to believe that the movie wasn’t in 1897. He must think he’s so clever, but it’s just bad storytelling. There’s nothing, like in The Sixth Sense, that we can look back and say “I totally missed that clue!”. We strum along, presumably where we should be, and then he hits us with “Haha… I fooled you.”

      See, here’s the funny thing – he spoiled it right at the beginning, and nobody noticed it. Did you pay attention at the funeral in the first 5 minutes? Spoilers:The tombstone said “1987”, not “1897”. Our minds found this unacceptable, given the setting, and everbody overlooked it.

      • valen1260 says:

        Re: predictable
        No, I didn’t catch that. I thought it was 1890-1897. Are you sure?

        It actually makes his story more interesting (How long have these people been living like this? With such a limited gene pool, no wonder Noah is the way he is.) and his ending even more ridiculous (not a surprise at all, which means the predictable twist was the only twist??).

        Of course, this more closely follows The Sixth Sense formula, only with less-entertaining results.

  5. valen1260 says:

    Sci-Fi channel

    Did anyone actually watch The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan on Sci-Fi? I got as far as the Ouija board before I could no longer bear the insult of the “documentary”. Blech. Why does Sci-Fi continue to make such crap? SF fans are some of the smartest ones out there, so why treat them otherwise with a commercial in disguise?

  6. ambientsoul says:

    come on
    I think you guys need to look past the plot and the twists. I believe that this movie is more about the concept at an attempted Utopia, and is designed to raise questions about whether or not it is morally right. Also to challenge the left wing commies idealistic rants about a new america, it’s a political commentary in a way.

    Also I don’t think you can really judge how good of a job the actress did playing the blind woman… since none of you are actually blind. Neither am I, but I think she did a fine job.

    The people that will be dissapointed with this film are the mass movie-goers who expected cheap thrills and gore. This is not a Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This is an intriguing concept wrapped in suspense, beautiful cinematography, stellar performances, and witty dialogue. Whether or not you figured out the twist early on, I have no doubt that you second guessed yourself at least once or twice before the end. I don’t doubt that Shyamalan knew that people would pick up on it. That’s why he took such care in making you doubt your assumptions with Noah’s suit.

    Here’s something to bake your noodle: did Noah know the secret? He laughed when he heard the screams, he laughed when they were coming.. yes he is mentally ill, but how else would he know to put that suit on when he found it?

    Shyamalan’s movie’s are more about concepts and ideas than how probable it is that an alien race would come to Earth without water protection. It’s ridiculous to read that far into his movies. Signs wasn’t about aliens, it was about faith, and fate. It was, “Everything happens for a reason” translated on screen.

    Look past the surface details people, Shyamalan doesn’t make Hollywood movies, he makes films.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: come on

      Also to challenge the left wing commies idealistic rants about a new america, it’s a political commentary in a way.

      Which left wing commie rants? The Village could be as much about the climate of fear, which currently in America has been dominated by right wingers

      Also I don’t think you can really judge how good of a job the actress did playing the blind woman… since none of you are actually blind.

      Huh? We’ve never seen a blind person?

      It’s ridiculous to read that far into his movies.

      Nope. Not when he puts so much time into establishing an alien invasion. Not when you’re trying to figure out why a movie left you feeling unsatisfied.

      Signs wasn’t about aliens, it was about faith, and fate. It was, “Everything happens for a reason”

      Wonder what the reason was for all the people who were killed in the film. Wonder where God is for the aliens. I thought it was a superficial thesis, awkwardly handled– not that a film has to have a thesis.

      Look past the surface details people, Shyamalan doesn’t make Hollywood movies, he makes films.

      Actually, Shyamalan has said that he made Sixth Sense after establishing in his own head the formula for a blockbuster. And that’s okay. As I said earlier, he remains an excellent director. I think he should give the scriptwriting a rest for awhile.

      • valen1260 says:

        Re: come on

        Thank you, most accurately-named Timeshredder, for saving me the trouble of shooting down all of ambientsoul’s “arguments”. :)

        Interestingly enough, I drew the same “Rule by Fear” conclusion as you (and, because the plot was so predictable, I did it before I even saw the movie). Though, just for the sake of argument, a perfect society will not exist among imperfect people. That is not to say that the occupants of The Village, specifically, were imperfect, but that humans, in general, are imperfect. Personally, I think stories that realize this, like the darker parts of Deep Space Nine and the amazing Babylon 5, are better than those that don’t, like TNG.

        Incidentally, humanity is why communism fails. I wouldn’t call communism “perfect”, but it is more ideal than practical.

  7. joeshabazz says:

    Signs, HTML
    The whole no weapons thing bothered me at first, but I think the kid while reading the book executes a nice little move with the explination “if the aliens use a weapon we’ll just use a bigger one, so the aliens will have to use an even bigger weapons, and that would continue until the earth is blown and then the whole thing wont matter anymore” (I paraphrase obviously). As for the HTML I have never bothered learning to use it, and i’m not about to start now.

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