After going to see M. Night Shymalan's new film, "Lady in the Water," I realized I had a chance to write a review for this blog before Colin gets to it. Yay!
I enjoyed the movie very much. Don't listen to the critics--they dont' know what they're talking about because they don't know what it is supposed to be. Like Shymalan's other films, it tells the story of another world breaking into our own. In this movie, a sea nymph, or "narf" named Story is brought from her Blue World to our own in order to inspire a writer (played by the director) to pen a very important book. This narf ends up in the swimming pool of an apartment complex where the author lives, until she is discovered by Clevelend Heep, the manager and maintenance man. Her job is to deliver her message and be taken back home by a giant eagle. Hunting her is a rogue beast, called a Scrunt, a minion of the forces of evil in her world who is trying to prevent her from making it home.
It is clear from the premise that this is a fairy tale, and I think if you go expecting a fairy tale you will be very satisfied. Thematically, it is a simple story, based on a bedtime story Shymalan told his daughters to illustrate how everyone has a purpose in the drama of life, no matter how strange or unlikely this purpose seems. Cynicism, embodied by a film critic of all things, is mocked. Because of what it is, it is not as deep, complex or artsy as some of Shymalan's other films, but it clearly isn't intended to be.
THERE IS NO TWIST, nor is one intended. It drives me crazy that critics always think Shymalan is trying to make another Sixth Sense. I heard a group of people behind me at the theater all whisper, "So where was the twist?" when it was over. Argh. There are a few minor things that bugged me, that I thought could have been executed more effecitvely, like the idea of seeing messages in cereal boxes, or Story's mannerisms. But on the whole the plot is full of fairy-tale elements adapted creatively to twenty-first century Philidelphia.
Even though it is more of a family movie, cinematography is not given the short straw. The movie is beautifully and peacefully shot. The motif of water is always present with the swimming pool or sprinklers, or in the moments of calm silence where the camera watches the characters from the water, and this combined with the beautiful camera shots leaves the viewer feeling refreshed. Not all is tranquil, however; the suspense scenes of the hunt of the beast are well-crafted and exciting. Shymalan can use anything, even sprinklers, to make his audiences jump. Shymalan excels at making the mundane very humorous, and such scenes (intentionally) abound in this film. The acting ranges from solid to excellent, with the best performances coming from Paul Giamatti as Heep and Bob Balaban as the film critic.
The only reason it is PG-13 is suspense and scary images, so it is appropriate for adults, teens, and older children. It is a delightful film to watch when in the mood for a fairy tale, and I hope y'all enjoy it.