DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Film Review: Lady in the Water

Lady in the Water (PG)
Dir. M Night Shyamalan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Let me tell you a strange bedtime story of weird and wacky things that go ‘splash’ in the night. Come with me to the blue world, a place populated by Narfs (water nymphs), Scrunts (ferocious predatory wolf things) and the Tartutic (three simian beasts made out of trees)… No, I’m not making this up I swear – this tale springs from the fervently bonkers imagination of M Night ‘Sixth Sense’ Shyamalan who made it up for his children.
Lady in the Water is highly divisive with many people just not buying into the kooky childish mythology or feeling let down by the only moderate scares on offer here. And even those who are prepared to go along with this uncompromisingly odd brain splurge could be forgiven for joining those still feeling let down by The Village a couple of years ago in thinking that this is his worst film to date… Unfortunately I’d have to agree but even saying that I did enjoy parts of Lady in the Water, (I mean what’s not to like in a scene where the know it all film critic tries to talk his way out of a confrontation with a monster - only to get mauled to death anyway!?).
One of the main problems is that whilst the excellent Paul Giamatti battles heroically to overcome the cumbersome script and brings real feeling to his care-worn caretaker character, everybody else seems to have regressed to a state of non acting ability. Also you’ll have to make your own mind up about how Shyamalan’s role of ‘misunderstood genius writer who will change the world’ relates to his own view of himself… After meeting him this week I am just about prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and file this as a valiant failure.
So it is that ‘Story’ the Narf (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) has little to do but look confused and get attacked by the vicious scrunts. And when one character says: “This is like a scene out of a horror movie,” you wonder if they may have been adlibbing a bit too accurately? Alas it looks like time is running out for a happy ending to the M Night Shyamalan series of films unless he finds a much stronger project to bounce back with – perhaps recapturing his magic with Unbreakable 2 or The Seventh Sense?

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action öö – bit soggy
Laughs ööö – some nice flashes of genius
Horror ööö – couple of nice jumps and some kid friendly menace
Babes ööö – Bryce Dallas Howard is yummy

Overall öö1/2 (a near miss - but still worth seeing)

Matt Adcock meets M Night Shyamalan

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Carl V. Anderson said...

I'm the voice of dissent. Really enjoyed this one. Shyamalan can't act...no doubt about that...but I thought this was a very entertaining, fun, fairy tale film.

Fence said...

I think I'm on the positive side too. I wasn't sure I'd be, because I found the begining strange and slow, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it. But it certainly isn't for everyone.