Thursday, July 17, 2008

Movie Review: M. Night, the Ugly

Sometimes a thing needs to be done just because it has never been done before. Apparently M. Night Shyamalan thought to himself: “Hey! No one has yet made a global warming—environmental thriller—torture-porn movie yet. I think I’m the man to do it!” What he failed to see was that combining three unredeemable waste-of-time genres into one does nothing to redeem the effort. Boy was The Happening a waste of time.

The story concerns—scratch that, there is no story here. The premise is that Gaia, or more specifically plants, have become fed up with the parasite that is humanity. They have come up with an airborne neurotoxin that causes people to kill themselves… in increasingly elaborate and non-sensicle ways.

Beyond the fact that the story is just barely enough of an excuse for showing disturbing scenes of people doing themselves in; and quite apart from the problem that this is basically pseudo-religious-global-warming propaganda; this movie is just poorly made. The acting is mostly terrible, the story is every-step-of-the-way predictable, the direction is way below Shyamalan’s level, and ultimately the film wimps out.

For an apocalyptic disaster film, the crisis simply ends too easily. For a torture-porn movie the camera turns away far too often. For a M. Night Shyamalan film, there are no memorable visual scenes. And for a socially conscious “message” film, what is the message? Nature good—humans bad?

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