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M. Night Shyamalan

August 6, 2007

On the set of Lady in the Water.

M. Night Shyamalan gets a bum wrap.  There seem to be three reasons for this.  First, everyone seems to think his movies should be scary.  I’ve never understood the justification of this concept, but it never fails.  Every new release from Shyamalan comes with someone complaining that the movie wasn’t as scary as The Sixth Sense.  I didn’t think it The Sixth Sense was that scary either, but even if it was, why do all of his films have to fit the same mould?

The second reason is that he keeps appearing in his movies.  This criticism is completely without merit.  His acting isn’t so poor that his typically meager roles would pose a detriment to the film.  Granted, his roles are becoming bigger with each film, but I still don’t see why he is unfairly castigated while other directors frequently appear in their own films.  Sure, most of them started as actors first, but I still don’t see what all of the fuss is about.

The third reason for his constant ridicule stems from his characteristic filmmaking.  After the monumental success of The Sixth Sense, it almost appears that Shyamalan is trying to duplicate the same model with his films in terms of a surprise or twist ending.  As I wrote that, I think I might be looking for fault where there is none.  Unbreakable certainly had a big turn of events towards the end of the movie, and so did The Village.  However, Signs and Lady in the Water don’t have any huge discovery.  Sure, characters make certain realizations, but isn’t that typical of any movie with a plot?  I still think Lady in the Water was a pretty darn good film.

He is making movies with elements of suspense, and therefore there need to be certain plot developments that are sustained throughout the movie.  To unravel mysteries too early in the film would make them untenable as full-length films.  Than again, I have liked all of Shyamalan’s films since The Sixth Sense, and am therefore somewhat biased.

Shyamalan is filming a movie called The Happening with another typically strong cast with the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, and John Leguizamo.  The film also follows his trend of using children or youth in integral roles with Spencer Breslin.  I have some doubts with this film though, as it looks like it may be yet another movie utilizing global warming as a major plot device.  Maybe it turns out that there are zombies roaming underground that are disturbing the Earth’s core and inadvertently causing havoc in the environment before they come to the surface to feast on the media-controlled masses.  Then the movie could feature a cameo from Haley Joel Osment as a zombie, and the poster could have his undead face with the phrase, “I eat dead people,” written at the bottom.

See.  Shyamalan gets ripped on all the time.  In reality though, I would love to see a Shyamalan directed zombie film.  He could make fun of himself like that in the movie, and totally get away with it as zombie films tend to have such silly moments.  Man, that movie would rock.

Shyamalan is 37.

Other birthdays: Michelle Yeoh, Vera Farmiga, Merrin Dungey, Catherine Hicks, Geri Halliwell, and Soleil Moon Frye.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 6, 2007 7:04 am

    I agree with ya, he’s pretty cool. I’ve liked most of his movies, and do think that people give him a bum rap. And yeah, that would be a pretty cool zombie movie!

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