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)
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
- 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?
- 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!