Saturday, November 15, 2008

M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening

I watched M. Night Shyamalan's latest movie The Happening starring Mark Wahlberg tonight. I've followed most of the movies he wrote since Sixth Sense. However, I have to admit that most of them were disappointing, or at least, did not live up to Sixth Sense. The Village and Signs were so-so. Unbreakable was pretty much a dud. Lady in the Water is ho-hum.

A typical characteristic of M. Night's movies are the twists in the ending. He usually has this surprise ending such as when Bruce Willis realizes that he was dead in Sixth Sense; or in The Village where Joaquin Phoenix's found out their village was just a wall away from the rest of the present day world and that their elders were just scaring them so that they will not venture far away. With The Happening, the ending was very anti-climactic. The plot development was actually pretty good and had me at the edge of the seat eager to find out how it will pan out. But the ending left me hanging.

Another M. Night "signature" is his cameo appearances. He always makes these short appearances in some scene -- just as Stephen King appeared as a graveyard caretaker in his Sleepwalkers; or Stan Lee in Spiderman. With The Happening, M. Night did not appear visually but he was the phone voice of the guy pestering Mark's wife (they're having marital problems).

Mark Wahlberg is a pretty good actor. He can play tough guy roles (like in the new Max Payne movie) or like the nerdy high school science teacher in this movie. John Leguizamo is also another versatile actor. Although I normally think of him as a comedian, his dramatic performance in the movie as the friend/co-teacher of Mark was pretty darn good.

I guess the overall message of the movie is that if we don't take care of our environment, someday it will lash back at us. The likelihood of plants releasing neurotoxins that disables/inhibits the human self-preservation attribute is very far-fetched although its an interesting concept.

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