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Sailor Kenshin
08-01-2004, 04:03 AM
This does not contain spoilers, but I've been hearing some negative chatter about M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, and I need to counter it.

I just saw the film not an hour ago. When I walked out, I was still shaking. Back home, I dropped two forks and spilled a drink and just gave up. So here I am.

Do not allow scared, cynical reviewers keep you from seeing this true achievement in the art of filmmaking.

Who knows? Maybe later, I'll write a REAL review.

absolutewrite
08-01-2004, 05:34 AM
Thanks, Sailor! Oh, and
and spilled a drink

Was it milk? I hope you didn't spill any milk, 'cause then I'd have to cry over it.

Sailor Kenshin
08-01-2004, 06:01 AM
I'm tempted to say it was!

(but it was soda...):lol

macalicious731
08-01-2004, 07:46 AM
.... Sorry, Sailor, but I saw it and hated it. :(

Don't get me wrong - every single one of the actors had wonderful, realistic performances...

... but when it came down to plot points, M. Night lost considerably when it came to this one. I read a book with the same "twist" ending years (6? 7?) ago, so I had the ending figured out before the opening credits.

I thought it was drawn-out, predictable, and every "shock" moment was a cheap shot.

maestrowork
08-01-2004, 09:03 AM
I saw Manchurian Candidate. While the original was a classic, this remake is a decent effort.

I haven't seen The Village yet. Hopefully tomorrow -- but the reviews have not been kind from what I've seen...

mammamaia
08-01-2004, 09:02 PM
...if you can find it, see the 3-hour 'expose' of shyamalan that was a thinly-diguised but almost plausible tout for the movie!... now, THAT was a real masterpiece!!!

maestrowork
08-01-2004, 10:01 PM
that 3-hour thing was a hoax, wasn't it? And it pissed off a lot of people...

Sailor Kenshin
08-01-2004, 10:27 PM
I haven't seen The Village yet. Hopefully tomorrow -- but the reviews have not been kind from what I've seen...

See, that's what I'm talking about. M. Night has managed to anger the Hollywood elite, and they are after him.

The audience I saw it with uttered collective gasps at key points.

Oh, and the part about the plot? That it was predictable? The key to a great storyteller is that you know what's going to happen BUT YOU DON'T CARE. Because it has a sense of inevitability.

Ever hear the term "catharsis?"

I'm writing a review of The Village for another board. So far I've got 3 pages of single-spaced notes. The more you bring to the table in seeing the film, the more you get out of it.


So if you like car chases, gratuitous sex, explosions and contrived "surprise" endings, my guess is you won't find much in The Village. If, however, you enjoy the power of myth, understand a little bit about psychology, and appreciate a great storyteller, this is your movie.

maestrowork
08-02-2004, 01:01 AM
I have to see it to make judgment. But "Unbreakable" and "Signs" disappointed me -- especially "Signs." And I wouldn't call myself a Hollywood elite.

macalicious731
08-02-2004, 03:41 AM
Yeah, I didn't see the 3-hour thing. But it was a big hoax. I was kind of interested in it until Sci-Fi announced it was all a big lie. I've read a lot of articles about M. Night, and one in particular (Entertainment Weekly) made me think he's a big egomaniac - but that still didn't stop me from seeing his movie.


Oh, and the part about the plot? That it was predictable? The key to a great storyteller is that you know what's going to happen BUT YOU DON'T CARE. Because it has a sense of inevitability.

Ever hear the term "catharsis?"

Yep... I have. But I still didn't feel any from "The Village". And so far from the ending being "contrived" - that's exactly what is was. The entire movie is based around the "gasp" moment at the end when you realize what's actually going on. There's even a scene implanted in the movie that once the ending is discovered, it becomes entirely void - the only reason M. Night included it is to throw the audience off.

Car chases, sex, explosions... nope, not my type of movie. "The Village" is something I was really excited to see. The next on my list is "Garden State," but that's not playing around me anywhere...

Anyway, I'm certainly not trying to argue or anything. Everyone I watched it with hated it, too, but as I was leaving the theater there seemed to be a pretty even mix between who enjoyed it and who thought it was terrible.

Sailor Kenshin
08-02-2004, 04:37 AM
The entire movie is based around the "gasp" moment at the end when you realize what's actually going on. There's even a scene implanted in the movie that once the ending is discovered, it becomes entirely void - the only reason M. Night included it is to throw the audience off.

People who believe the Village was all about a "surprise" ending are completely missing the point. It was an allegory, a mythical telling of the hero's journey, a treatment of what fear means and what it can make people do.

It's also about ordinary people rising to meet extraordinary circumstances.

As I said, the more you bring to the table, the more you discover in the film.

macalicious731
08-02-2004, 10:47 PM
Perhaps I worded that wrong.

I think it's very easy to tell M. Night based his entire movie around the twist ending, so other, more important elements (everything you mentioned) are lost. I thought as a director he was too wrapped up with the ending to be concerned about anything else, and throughout the film it showed.

Anyway, that's all I'm going to say.

Sailor Kenshin
08-02-2004, 10:52 PM
And I had completely the opposite reaction.

maestrowork
08-03-2004, 12:45 AM
I felt the same way about "Signs" -- but apparently a lot of people enjoyed it. I thought it was totally manipulative and contrived, and I resented that.

Haven't seen the Village yet, but will tell you what I think.

spooknov
08-05-2004, 01:56 AM
I'm not going to comment on the Village because I haven't seen it yet. But, as for his past works, so far the only one I didn't care for was Unbreakable. You have to remember that Knight's key signature is the fact that he works from the ending back. He adds small clues through out the film that most don't pick up on until they've watched the movie a few times. I liked Signs and Six Sense. I was impressed with the details dropped in through the entire movie. I'm expecting the same from Village, but won't get my hopes up.

As for the documentary... I watched bits and pieces of it and the more I saw, the more I felt manipulated by Knight. I disagree with his approach for marketing. Not to mention the "director" of the documentary was a bad actor... It was so obvious he was scripted. I have to say I'd hoped he wouldn't go the commercial route. He has a unique voice. I hate to see him get lost in the Hollywood crowd. And based on principle, since he made the fake doc, I will wait until the movie comes out on dvd. Just because of the blatant attempt to increase movie sales.

Sailor Kenshin
08-05-2004, 02:18 AM
I didn't see the documentary, so I don't really care too much about it.

But it looks like "The Village" doesn't need any outside help! It's making tons of money. Apparently everyone's going to see it.

Night's writing and his whole approach to storytelling is well worth study.

maestrowork
08-05-2004, 08:07 AM
The second week is actually the measurement of a film's success. Remember "Hulk"? Big business the first week, then dropped over 60% the second. If "The Village" couldn't hold on for more than two weeks, it'll be a disaster for Shyamalan.

A friend of mine just reviewed it -- he didn't like it, found it predictable and manipulative. He loved the Sixth Sense and Signs... he's the kind of average Joe that loves movie and can easily be entertained. He wasn't impressed by The Village and thought it was Shyamalan's most pretentious and weakest film.

Interesting perspective...

macalicious731
08-05-2004, 09:44 AM
I have to wonder, Ray, about your friend's reaction to the film (as well as my own.)

I enjoyed Sixth Sense very much, found Unbreakable to have an interesting topic but most of the really good issues went untouched, and Signs was acceptable but nothing too special.

When it comes to the Village... have audiences grasped onto Shamaylan's 'formula' so well we are tired of the whole concoction? Is that why we're feeling manipulated - because his movies always follow the same thread, so we can identify more easily his persuasive hints in the film?

I keep thinking back to the 'Entertainment Weekly' article I read that interviews him. He talked about this formula, which he described as being the secret to a blockbuster.

After a few more of his films, is he still going to be as successful? Maybe one of the problems I feel is he's not raising the bar as a director, he's just recycling the same old plan.

Actually, his next project his to direct the film version of _The Life of Pi_, so I was glad to hear that bit of news.

evanaharris
08-05-2004, 12:44 PM
People who believe the Village was all about a "surprise" ending are completely missing the point. It was an allegory, a mythical telling of the hero's journey, a treatment of what fear means and what it can make people do.

The Village WAS all about the "gotcha" ending, and I'll tell you why:

Too much emphasis put on Ivy's ability to "See" colors, building up some kind of supernatural talent. It's just a red herring, there to throw us off the "reality" trail that the movie was on.

And I don't buy the "hero's journey" bit, unless you can point out how it's a specific arc, and not just a few generalities.

Now, I didn't hate the movie, but it also wasn't all that grand. For one thing, the dialogue was very stilted, even though it's supposed to be "period-correct."

It's okay, but it's not a triumph of filmmaking or anything. Too much about itself.

Sailor Kenshin
08-05-2004, 08:28 PM
I feel is he's not raising the bar as a director, he's just recycling the same old plan.

And I believe it's exactly the opposite.

Like I said, you get out of this what you bring into it. And if you can't see the classic Hero's Journey in The Village, I'm astonished.

maestrowork
08-05-2004, 10:56 PM
Katie, that's exactly what my friend said. We're so used to his "tricks" that he figured out the "trick" ending like minutes into the film, so the rest really bored him. Like you said, he felt that the film, like all his films, work from the ending up and that becomes predictable -- that Shyamalan is a one trick pony.

He also thought that Shyamalan's Hitchcock like cameos were a parody in itself -- that Hitchcock he isn't. He didn't care for the acting much except for Howard and Brody...

He loved Signs though, which I think was not very good.

I'm glad to hear that he's directing The Life of Pi... that would be a change for him. He's a good director... but his script writing has suffered through his own "how I can trick them" obsession. I guess we were spoiled by the Sixth Sense (which was great in almost every way a film like that should be)... it's hard not to be disappointed by his later films.

macalicious731
08-06-2004, 01:02 AM
He also thought that Shyamalan's Hitchcock like cameos were a parody in itself -- that Hitchcock he isn't. He didn't care for the acting much except for Howard and Brody...

Yes, I thought Howard was very good in her role, especially for a film debut! Brody was excellent... I liked Phoenix too, but his role isn't very big to give him really good marks for performance. I was watching Ebert and Roper and was astonished when Ebert said Brody had a terrible performance... but he didn't elaborate on how it was bad. And the Hitchcock thing... I dunno, hopefully he doesn't try that again with Pi? When I see him it's just another reminder: "Hey! I made this movie! Hey! Don't forget!" .. Kind of pulls you out of the story, especially with Village.

Sailor, the more I think about the film, I can't say my judgement on the actual movie has changed. However, the idea of the movie - the psychology, the fear... that's good stuff.

Sailor Kenshin
08-06-2004, 02:36 AM
I wanted to add that the Sci-Fi Channel's "documentary" is playfully reminiscent of earlier times, when film greats like William Castle were involved in a great deal of "ballyhoo" with their film publicity.

Cary
08-15-2004, 12:54 AM
I saw 'The Village', loved It !!! Yeah, It was a bit draggy in midstream, but the actors were superb, William Hurt especially. I figured It out a bit too soon, granted, but the twist an basic plot was fresh and interesting.The premise, new and interesting.Joaquin gave a great angst-ridden performance.Maybe too much angst...but thats O.K, I forgive him.I can understand an agree with many of the criticisms mentioned here, but still....I had to love It!!!!
Love an suckermarks, Carybelle

ChunkyC
08-17-2004, 03:31 AM
I really liked The Village. In fact, I have really liked all four Shamaylan films so far. Yes, the twist ending has become a trademark, but audience expectations drive that as much as his own desires when making a film.

I think he's in a catch-22: people expect a twist so they go in looking for it instead of sitting back and letting the movie play out. If he doesn't deliver a twist, he risks alienating the core audience he has built up.

I agree with Sailor in that there is a lot more to Shamaylan's movies than the twist ending.

spooknov
08-17-2004, 08:54 AM
I still haven't seen it...

The twist is expected from the audience. It is his trademark. I think the issue at hand is whether he is taking his twist a step further with each movie. Since I haven't seen it yet, (and won't based on principle as much as lack of funds) I can't say whether he adds to his plot. I'm really hoping he does. There has been a substantial lack in the horror genre of late. I'm so disappointed. What happened to the scare-the-pants-off-ya movies?!?

Cary
08-18-2004, 02:17 AM
I agree with Spooky !! Where are all the 'scare your pants offen of yas', movies ??? Dont they make um anymore ?? (snif, snif...):teeth What are us hardcore fans supposed to do ??? Carybelle

ChunkyC
08-18-2004, 04:58 AM
Hidey ho, Cary! Yeah, you and Spooky are right about the lack of scare-your-pants-off movies. The Village is certainly not one of those.

Andrew Spriggs
08-18-2004, 08:32 AM
The Village was a funny, funny, funny, not scary, funny, funny, not thought-provoking, cliche, funny, funny, I-want-my-money-back, I've-wasted-three-hours-of-my-life, funny, funny movie!

Cary
08-18-2004, 06:34 PM
Ouch !!! Yeah...I admitted, draggy in midstream. Cliche ?? I didnt get that...Still, I loved the actors and there charters so much, that all was forgiven..Not scary..but did have a bit of tension before the cat was out of the bag.Ive not seen any of his other films.I liked the storyline on the modern day folk wishing to live their lives in a more provential custom...ala cult practically..the idea of mind control through fear, to keep a rein on thoughts of villagers wandering away.I thought that was a unique approach.I hadnt seen It before, but then I dont get out much unless Im chasin animals...heh...:teeth Carybelle

maestrowork
08-18-2004, 11:56 PM
I finally saw it. I did enjoy it, after lowering my expectations.

I think there's a good amount of false advertising in it, and I think it may have hurt the movie. I think it's a good movie, but it is certainly not a "horror" movie as the trailers and advertising suggested. It's a drama, with a twist (sort of a like a long Twilight Zone episode).

I did figure out the ending (although not completely) early on. Again, like someone else said, I think Shyamalan has set himself up for high expectations -- that his film always MUST have a good twist. I agree with Katie, though, that it seems like he wrote the script backwards... he starts with the twist ending first, then works backwards to fill in the rest (including the characters...)

For example, in order for the plot (and ending) to work, he has to use a) a blind girl; b) a crazy guy in love with her; c) for someone to get mortally wounded... etc. So in a way, I find the storytelling contrived and manipulative. Clearly, this is a writer/director who knows how to plot. But sometimes he plots too much.

Still, there are plot holes that is quite jarring. I won't discuss here because it would spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it.

And Shyamalan's cameo is probably one of the most self-serving in all of his films. I kind of resent that.

Anyway, I did enjoy the film for what it is and what it is not. There are some very strong scenes, especially the interractions between the villagers. Bryce Howard is extraordinary. She is going to be huge (and Ron must be very proud).

I also like the "message" -- certainly irony about the whole set up and how things turns out...

I like it better than "Signs" and "Unbreakable" combined.


Edit: corrected some names

Cary
08-19-2004, 06:12 PM
Agreed Maestro, not horror by any stretch...suspence maybe ??? The build up was misleading, Shaymalans cameo...eehhh.I love Steve Kings cameos, quirky, cute.I fugure these days with the caliber of movies being shown, crappy film seems the norm, thats sad !!! Give me Slingblade !! I loved that movie !!
But even Billy Bob couldnt do It twice !! See !! See !!!
Love an suckermarks, Carybelle
PS-Sushi anyone ????:b

maestrowork
08-19-2004, 09:30 PM
Yes, expectations are a bitch. If you set 'em up, you need to deliver. I think a lot of people are disappointed because they thought it was a horror film, and end up with a suspenseful drama -- nothing wrong with that, just different expectations... and those people who don't like horror may never see it...

Sushi? Anyone said Sushi? I'm in CA now and I just had some amazing (and cheap) sushi. Just say the word, Carybelle. You still owe me a get-together!

Cary
08-20-2004, 02:08 AM
Yes, yes, I know, Im horribly tardy...swear to God It aint my fault!!! Ive heard of a California sushi, avacado,salmon, an greens maybe ?? I loves ma seafood....Aint sceered !!!:b Carybella
PS-Got all my notes too !!!!

ChunkyC
08-21-2004, 05:12 AM
Y'know, I feel like defending Shamaylan for his cameos, but as I thought about this last one, I realized that it was a cheesier bit than his others.

(slight spoiler alert)

He should have just been there in the scene straightforwardly playing a small part, as in Unbreakable or Signs. The reflection bit was too much. No need to be overly clever like that. The audience isn't that excited to see him in his own movie that they'd jump up and yell 'omigod, there he is!!'

He's got to remember that if another actor were to take his place, the movie would not be diminished in the slightest.

maestrowork
08-21-2004, 05:56 AM
Exactly. If he had just played it straight up like in all three of his "blockbusters" that would have been fine -- we expected a cameo from him anyway. But the "coyness" of filming only his back, then the reflection (meanwhile we know it's him -- his voice is unmistakable and we expect a cameo anyway) is simply tacky and egotistcal: "hey look at me, and how clever! I'm in my own film..." Or maybe he was playing up the "Sign" bit -- when the alien was revealed in the reflection on the TV set... but it simply doesn't work.

Sailor Kenshin
08-21-2004, 06:02 AM
Then again, it does.

ChunkyC
08-21-2004, 06:40 AM
If a lot of people are put off by it, then it doesn't work, Sailor. And a lot of people are put off by it, even if some aren't. Don't get me wrong, I really liked the film, but on this one point, a sly camera trick like that should serve a greater purpose than merely to reveal that it's M. Night sitting there. It doesn't serve the story.

The minute the audience sees his face like that, they are thinking about him and not the story that's being told. He broke the cardinal rule of storytelling in that he interrupted the story and therefore the 'suspension of disbelief'.

I think Shamaylan is a fabulous moviemaker. I have greatly enjoyed everything he's done, including his script for Stuart Little. I also have no problem with him adopting a variation on Hitchcock's appearing in his own films, by extending the 'stage dressing' extra Hitch employed into a speaking part for himself. Shamaylan's an okay actor too, and if he enjoys acting, more power to him. But in that one moment in The Village, he made a mistake, that's all. The film would have been better had the camera been somewhere else and we were shown his face without the reflection bit.

Cary
08-21-2004, 06:02 PM
Gotta agree with The chunky one, an sail on that boat there Sailorboi...Shamies cameo didnt work for me.When I see Steve Kings cameos, Its like" hey...thats Steve!!...oh my god, wadda charter !!!!!" The charter he portrays is soooo unlike him.That what makes a cameo MORE than just a gratuitous show of the author.... hes being an actor too !!:nerd Just my humble opinion.
Love an shadowy figures, Carybelee

Sailor Kenshin
08-21-2004, 09:41 PM
A lot of people? All three of you?

Well, I guess you set me straight!

(Everyone I discuss the movie with liked the cameo and appreciated its subtext).

ChunkyC
08-21-2004, 10:07 PM
A lot of people? All three of you?
We just happen to be the ones in this thread. There are others out in the wide world who feel the same as us, just as there are others out there who feel the same as you.


Well, I guess you set me straight!
No need to get defensive, Sailor. We're not trying to 'set you straight'. We're merely discussing the film and telling you how we feel about it. We're allowed to have a different opinion than you, aren't we?


(Everyone I discuss the movie with liked the cameo and appreciated its subtext).
Not true since we're discussing it with you and we don't agree. And I don't see where there's subtext in the cameo, which is the current topic. In the movie, yes, I agree there's a lot of subtext. But regardless, all it is is our opinions. Nothing to get upset over.

Everyone looks for different things in entertainment. Brittney Spears has legions of fans and I can't watch or listen to her for more than 5 seconds at a time. Eminem made me cringe with what I felt was a lifeless one-dimensional performance in 8 mile, yet the movie made millions off people who liked him in it.

The bottom line is, if an individual finds something or someone entertaining, then great! But just because one person likes it, doesn't mean it's perfect and that what another sees as a flaw isn't a valid observation.

maestrowork
08-22-2004, 01:00 PM
Sailor, you don't have to be defensive. Just because some doesn't like a certain part of the movie doesn't invalidate your views.

For me, it doesn't work. For you it works, good for you!

You don't have to be snippy about it. Unless of course, Mr. Shyamalan is paying you.

Many people *I* know also hated that "hey, it's me" moment. In his other movies, his cameo worked because his character was part of the story and he did it straight up -- no tricks. In "The Village" he yanked the moment right out with a "back of the head/mirror" stunt. We were supposed to look at what the other actor stole from the medicine cabinet, but instead, we were staring at the "hey, it's me" reflection. Yanked me right out from the story and served no purpose at all except for vanity.

Chaoc Kazdul
08-30-2004, 04:27 AM
I haven't looked through this thread in its entirety, so if I light some fuses, flog some dead horses, or otherwise bother you, please forgive me in advance.

This is all my opinion. Please don't eat me.

It wasn't my proverbial cup of tea.

I believe I saw a similar plotline in an old episode of the Twilight Zone, or Outer Limits... I won't explain it in great detail for the sake of those who haven't seen the movie yet-- essentially it was the same story, except it focused on one family instead of a village.

What bothered me the most was the dialog;
--Possible spoiler, I guess--
Their style of English was not indicative of the actual era. It worked fine during the beginning the movie, but when the twist was revealed it became a useless artifact. In my opinion, it would only have made sense for them to be speaking "modern" English.
--------------------------

There were too many "It was just the kitty" moments. As in:
Character hears a spooky noise in closet. Spooky music plays. Editing builds up to some confrontation. Character opens closet. Character finds kitty instead of monster/serial killer/kitty with rabies.

Playing with the audience like that borders on the "It was all a dream scenario"... I felt cheated.

Of course, toying with the audience CAN be an effective and valid technique, but it shouldn't be a crutch for the actual story. That's what it felt like to me, a crutch.

As for Shyamalan's appearance; I have nothing against it. It was just an easter egg. The person I went with had no idea that the guy in the reflection held any greater importance.

Hitchcock used to do it all the time, and it was usually humorous. IE getting shut out of the bus in his 1959 film North by Northwest. [Edit] I will say though that such cameos are better served in the beginning of the movie rather than the end, so that it doesn't distract the audience from the story.

With all of that said, I did enjoy the movie more than any other I've seen recently. It was better than most of the crap Hollywood is cranking out these days.

-CG

absolutewrite
08-30-2004, 08:15 AM
Please don't eat me.

:ha

And here I was, looking for a tasty snack. Darn!

Haven't seen the movie. Have no comments. I'll walk away quietly now.

Cary
09-04-2004, 01:14 AM
Im sorry Kadzul, I didnt see his appearance as an 'easter egg'..:grin ...boiled egg perhaps ?? Ha !! Oh yes, "Hitchcock did It all the time", but theres a huge difference, he was an icon !!! Everyone knew his name, wanted to see what he looked like..know what I mean Vern ??? Im with ya on the quality of poor movie fare being offered lately, so Ive lowered my standards a bit. Hey, gotta find that diamond in those huge piles of coal when ya can !!!! But yeah, there all pretty sucky..:p
Love an suckermarks, Carybelle

wwwatcher
09-04-2004, 11:04 AM
Hey Cary

I like your new board nom!

Faye