The Happening

I saw it last night while at Succinctrix’s.  It was much better than I thought it would be, but not Shyamalan’s best work.  That, I firmly believe, was still The Sixth Sense.  It’s true what all the naysayers naysaid.  There’s no big twist ending as there often are in his films.  It is the plants.  But this didn’t bother me so much.  I mean shit, that’s a tense situation when plants are out to get us.  Where do you go?  What do you do?  As depicted in the film, not much and nowhere.

As usual, I find Shyamalan’s dialogue completely pedestrian and unimpressive.  I found myself wondering if anyone ever did coverage on his scripts and marked the dialogue as high.  It’s not witty, not funny, not clever.  In fact, I firmly believe that on the page, it’s probably pretty tough to tell the difference between the characters judging solely by what they say.

For me, there was also a bit of a lack of tension because I knew Marky Mark would survive.  To some degree, this isn’t Shyamalan’s fault.  Most American films have their headlining actors survive.  But I held out a smidgen of hope that maybe Marky would at least be hurt.

The big Huh? was Mrs. Jones.  She totally came outta left field.  It was neat that there was a character who wouldn’t necessarily be aware of what was going on with the rest of the world, and more important, wouldn’t care, but she was such a crazy, old bitch for reasons that were never fully disclosed that it felt like a different movie.  In fact, I’m 100% sure that had I submitted such a script to the professors at AFI, they would’ve given me that exact criticism.

But that was really all that I had a problem with.  Oh, and the individual scenes I found unmemorable.  But that’s most movies.  I wondered what would happen to all involved and I was interested.  I think even cared a little.

Oh, and this was yet another film that used my theoretic device of the 8-year-old girl.  Whenever a film needs to build audience sympathy VERY quickly, they have some darling, 8-year-old girl be in danger.  The girl is usually white, but not always.  Now why American audiences care more about 8-year-old girls than ANYONE else, I don’t know.


~ by Anton A. Hill on March 15, 2009.

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