Friday, June 13, 2008

Film Review: "The Happening" (C-)

If there was one film that I've seen so far this year that I pretty much hated and wanted to walk out of, it's this one. And, I have to say, that surprised me, even if I didn't like "Lady in the Water" either. I still went in expecting a quality movie or, at least, an entertaining one. I didn't get either, and unless you're blind and deaf, neither will you.

First things first - M. Night Shyamalan should not be allowed to write his own movies. If he wants to come up with the stories or background, fine. But actual dialogue? Someone should stab him with a pen if he tries to get anywhere near a computer. I think he's a fantastic director, but I also think he takes on too much.

Don't get me wrong, there are a few moments in the film that were successful, but overall the film is boring, stupidly sentimental and outright ridiculous. I liked how the film started, especially the scene at the construction site. That thump of the bodies hitting the ground made me flinch and it certainly started the film on the right note (or bad, depending on how you look at it). But while scenes like this make sense, all of the gore in the later areas in the film seem like they were put there for no reason. Now, normally, I'm a fan of any kind of gore - I don't care why it's in the movie. But in this case it seemed like Shyamalan wanted to prove something, wanted to make an R-rated movie and tacked a bunch of scenes on that effected the pacing of the movie. Seriously? The scene where the kids get shot up? POINTLESS. And the scene with the crazy lady being effected by the ... wind? ... was laughable. I won't even get started on the running from the wind sequence, because I believe everyone already realizes how dumb that looked.

I firmly stand by the statement that this is probably both Mark Whalberg and Zooey Deschanel's worst movie (although I can't claim to have seen every single film they've both done). Whalberg sounded like he was always asking questions and that he had somehow been transformed into a human squeaky toy. He sounded asinine. Deschanel looked like a blow-up doll for the entirety of the movie and gave what felt like a half-assed performance. I wouldn't be surprised if Shyamalan told them to act that way, so I'm not sure who deserves most of the blame.

Now, I've got nothing against eco-terror or whatever it's been labeled now, but it just wasn't dealt with effectively here. The movie seems haphazard, awkwardly paced, and where it should be tense and fraught with energy it's simply lame and moronic. A great start, but everything after the first 10 or 15 minutes is forgettable, yet too dumb to forget at the same time.

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