NOOOOvember 2013: The Village

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So far, Gary Lee from With a Friend Like Gary has shared his frustrations about the original Carrie, Eric Isaacs from The IPC has vented about Prometheus, and I’ve expressed my disappointment for a couple of films, too (Quantum of Solace and X-Men: The Last Stand). You can view all of these in the NOOOOvember 2013 Archives. But now it’s time to add one more letdown to those archives: M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village.

A lot of people groan when you bring up Shyamalan, but here’s the thing: until The Village, I loved the guy. The Sixth Sense is a masterpiece, I really like Signs, and I even enjoy Unbreakable well enough. But then The Village happened. Sadly, it was the beginning of a downward spiral for poor M. Night, and he has yet to recover.

***WARNING: SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW***

 

The Village (2004)

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Synopsis: “The population of a small, isolated countryside village believe that their alliance with the mysterious creatures that inhabit the forest around them is coming to an end.” –www.imdb.com

The Excitement:

  • M. Night Shyamalan is directing this? Awesome! He always has cool, supernatural ideas with clever endings.
  • An old-timey village with creepy monsters in the woods? Um, OF COURSE I’m in!
  • Wow! This film has quite the cast—Joaquin Phoenix, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Brendan Gleeson, and even Adrien Brody fresh off his Oscar win for The Pianist. Ought to be some solid performances here!
  • It looks like an interesting, atmospheric horror. If Shyamalan has anything to do with it, I’m sure the script will be great, the characters will be well-developed, and the ending will blow us away, right?

The Disappointment:

  • This film is not the horror that the trailer advertised. It’s hardly scary at all!
  • A mentally-handicapped guy becomes the villain. He terrorizes the town, stabs a dude, and then meets a twisted yet annoyingly convenient end. Um. I mean I’m not one to harp on being PC but…is that okay?
  • Bryce Dallas Howard is the main protagonist in this film, and she’s great, but everyone else is kind of wasted. Joaquin Phoenix is out of commission halfway through, Sigourney Weaver is barely seen, and Adrien Brody has surprisingly few shining moments (despite being the aforementioned mentally-handicapped villain). William Hurt’s character is given the most attention after Howard’s, but frankly I don’t care for him much.
  • Okay, pretty much everything else I have to say hinges on the film’s big twist, so if you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know it yet, go away…Are they gone? Good. Don’t want to ruin anything, but…THEY’RE FREAKING AMISH??? SERIOUSLY??? Pretty much everything that happens in this film is to protect that secret, but I don’t it’s an especially satisfying twist.
  • The monsters? Fake. The “elders” who founded the village don costumes to keep the children from discovering a world of violence and television and Wal-Mart beyond their super sheltered existence. Lame.
  • This is getting technical, but it bugs me so I’ll ask: where did the old-timey talk come from? If this film is set in modern times, they would’ve founded the village in the ‘70s or ‘80s, yet they speak like they stepped straight out of the 1800s…
  • The elders took a vow never to return to life outside their village, but c’mon—you can’t take a trip to town to save lives?? I don’t care how much you hate 21st-century America and value your lifestyle. If your children are dying, you would take the freaking trip!!
  • There is no way these people could realistically pull this village off today. The world is too small and no amount of money could keep every curious person away.
  • Here’s the biggest thing: at the end of the film, the elders seem to realize that no matter where they go, they can’t really escape tragedy and violence. It happens everywhere, even in their allegedly safe village. So they have to decide if they want to continue their sheltered life. But then the film abruptly ends leaving NOTHING DECIDED. What are we supposed to learn from The Village? I have no clue. Unless the lesson is to never trust M. Night Shyamalan again.

So there you go—yet another rough disappointment for NOOOOvember 2013. I’ll be bringing another one your way soon! But a review of Thor: The Dark World may come first. 🙂

P.S. Anyone is still welcome to contribute to this series should you so desire! Just let me know!

P.P.S. WordPress has made me unfollow people!!! I noticed today that I was no longer following blogs I always pay attention to. I have no idea why this happened. I’m going through all of the blogs I love in a fit of paranoia and making sure I’m still following them, but if you happen to notice that I’m no longer following you, let me know and I will correct it!

P.P.P.S. Okay, this is getting obnoxious, but a lovely gal named Madison asked if I wouldn’t mind mentioning her site, Hollywood Memorabilia, where you can purchase all kinds of cool signed movie posters, scripts, photos, etc. If you’re into that kind of stuff, check it out!

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21 thoughts on “NOOOOvember 2013: The Village

  1. This movie had so much potential and was just a big fat dud. I mean – WHY did they talk like that? That was stupid… great post!

    • Thanks, dude! And RIGHT? It could’ve been so cool, but then it just WASN’T. Massive. Letdown. Part of me still hopes that Shyamalan of the late ’90s/early 2000s will return some day…

    • Hehe. Uh oh. I didn’t MIND The Village that much… It was Lady in the Water and then The Happening that made me go WTF?! I won’t watch his stuff anymore. No more chances, Shyamalan! I’m done!

      I love this series, btw. 🙂 I still want to do one for you and I’m totally stressing about what movie to choose. Same as with Shitfest – I have no clue what to watch! 😦

      • Oh don’t stress about it!!! I don’t want NOOOOvember to cause stress–I want to relieve it by letting people vent!!! Haha. I’ll be thrilled with whatever you submit. 🙂

        I vaguely remember Lady in the Water, but I know it too was a disappointment. And I haven’t seen The Happening, but I know it’s atrocious.

  2. Another perfect inclusion. This movie is just awful, and you are totally correct on the dialogue style.

    This review, by the way, reminds me how excited I was for After Earth, no matter the reasons not to be; it just looked so cool. Assuming you’re not filled up on M. Night, I could add that to the series.

  3. I didn’t mind this one as much. While I will admit the final twist is a bit of a lamer, the rest of the movie still had me on-edge and totally in its mind-set. It’s just that the pay-off was weak. Good review.

    • The end is by far the biggest fumble, but I didn’t love that it seemed like it was going to be super creepy and then wasn’t…More mystery than anything, and a lame one at that.

  4. The thing is, the movie would have been so much better if the twist wasn’t a twist at all. The whole concept of a community living in extreme isolation to the point of fabricating an entire mythology to keep people from leaving and encountering civilization is a pretty awesome idea. So awesome, in fact, that it could have taken The Village in countless interesting storytelling directions. Yet, because he fully embraced the box people put him in, Shyamalan ham-fisted a “surprise” ending that destroyed any hope of the film reaching its potential.

    And just a couple more thoughts. I think Unbreakable is his best movie, and I have learned to really dislike Signs.

    Gosh, I keep on enjoying NOOOOOvember 🙂

    • Yayyy to enjoying NOOOOvember! Haha. I’ll have to give Unbreakable another watch. I remember liking it, but it’s been years since I watched. Not a Signs fan huh? I love that one! One of Mel Gibson’s last good roles before he went bananas (to put it mildly).

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