Friday, April 16, 2010

Review: The Happening

Director M. Night Shyamalan
Staring Mark Walhberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo

I just happened to catch this one on tv so I can not say what the dvd or blu-ray have to offer so if someone wants to fill us in that would be helpfull.

Walhberg plays teacher Elliot Moore who begins the movie by positing to his class a question as to why all the bees are disappearing. The day is disrupted by a supposed terrorist attack on Central Park where people inexplicably start killing themselves in the quickest method they can accomplish. Jumping off buildings, shooting themselves, driving their cars into get the point. The effect spreads so fast that it soon becomes apparent that it is not terrorists but natural causes. Walhberg manages to escape the effects with his wife and a friends child, but only just, and eventually waits out the worst in a remote farm-house. It is determined that the plants where or may have been the cause but everyone is skeptical because it only happened in the US Northeast.

Now Shyamalan could have left it right here and left you wondering and thinking and generally agreeing that though derivative at least the movie made you think. But the director just can not resist picking at the ending like a child at a scab until he bleeds every bit out of the idea.

"Happening" is at best a retread "Day of the Triffids" with a sprinkle of "the Birds" - with Night depending more on the horror aspect or the suicides. He not only telegraphs the ending but tells you point blank that he is going to do it! Nothing new here. We have the bad ole humans destroying Gaea and must be stopped - yawn.

If its on tv and you're too damn lazy to change the channel, then go ahead and watch, but rent? Own? nope. pass. Give it a 4 for some of the acting and visuals....


Dorn said...

My wife and I were talking about M. Night just yesterday. He reinvented the grand finale in Hollywood. But, I think most movie goers would agree that the ultra-mega-super plot twist got very quickly after Sixth Sense. The thing I love about all of his movies is that he's willing to take a mainstream concept and turn on its ear in a way that is very intriguing. I eagerly anticipate every movie he puts out. I have to say though that I think he doesn't quite follow through with the editing process. I'm not referring to the actual video editing, I mean his movies need a critical eye who will tell him it needs help. Many of his films, whether it's story problems or the anticlimactic feel or just crap characters, could have used some tweaking or revision to make them better. That said, I'll be watching the Last Airbender in theaters like the loyal nerd that I am.

Beam Me Up said...

I respect the fact that you enjoy M.Night's movies. I really do have problem though with a discerning eye. At the risk of alienation (I have no interest in flaming) one does not need a discerning eye to recognize a turd. The reek alone gives it away. I am not saying The happening is a piece of shit but the nods and the winks to Birds and Triffids and so on is patently lame. We are evil if we are not green is getting old. And so on. This is not a memorable movie, it's not even a particularly good movie. You can't call it predictable because he literally tells you what's going on half way through, so even his trademark "twist" is left moldering. This effort can't even hold a candle to Sixth Sense. I think this conversation has possibly egged Nelson at New Farmer Films to join us again. That should be fun.

Nelson said...

I shan't be egged! M. Night Shamaladingdong hasn't done anything that much interested me after "Sixth Sense" and I don't know what I would say. Shouldn't he be doing cable TV by now?