I'm a pretty big fan of M. Night Shyamalan. His movies are the only ones I look forward to with anticipation. In fact, he's the only director who can consistenly lure me into spending 10+ dollars to see in a first-run theatre anymore.
So of course I was at Lady in the Water on opening night, and while I can't say I was disappointed, I also have to admit it was the least of his films thus far. I didn't want to say so right away because sometimes you have to think about it a bit, but now I'm sure. It's not that it was bad. It was still better than most of the regurgitated drivel that comes out of hollywood these days. But it was no Village or Signs, that's for sure. (Those are my favs)
Now, let me qualify my comments by saying that I don't want to be one of those people who compares every M Night film to Sixth Sense and if it doesn't amaze them with a cliffhanger then it was a waste of time. But one has to admit that half the reason they to see a film is because of certain expectations. And when I see M Night's stuff I expect good directing, creative film-making, good characters, great sound, layers of meaning, and a compelling story.
This movie had all of that, except perhaps the latter.
My problem with the film I think mostly came down to not knowing how to watch it. Was this a Thriller? A thinker's drama? A horror? A comedy? A fantasy? A spoof? Truthfully I think it was all of those at once. If I had to pick one I'd say it was mostly a comedy. I laughed more than anything else. That's fine, but it took me 3/4 of the movie to figure that out. As a result I think I might enjoy the movie more the second time around.
It's not like they didn't try to warn me though. They billed it as a bedtime story. I just didn't realize they were serious. The description is dead on. As far as I know however, this is the first film of the genre, at least that's geared to adults. As a bedtime story this movie was great.
Think about it. It's a light hearted myth. It's sort of scary but like any good bedtime story it stops short of anything that will give nightmares. It's got weird characters. The plot doesn't have to be water tight. The telling of the story is more important than the story itself. And it has a main character who goes through a crisis of sorts and comes out all the better for it. Bang on. A bedtime story, and a great one at that.
But a great movie? I don't know. Maybe I'll just say it was good. What do you think?