For years I’ve been telling my friends and family about a belief I’ve had ever since I was in grade school.
It goes like this – something is going to happen in my lifetime. Something that is going to cull the herd, so to speak, something that is going to change life as we know it forever.
Frankly, there are too many of us on this planet, and one of two things has to happen or we face extinction. We have to get off world, expand into space, or the population has to be reduced.
That’s my theory though. But look at the way the world is going. We keep expanding, using up our resources. New diseases are popping up, ones that we thought we had under control are re-emerging, terrorism, you name it.
Mother Nature is eventually going to have had enough of it, and will do something, be it the change in weather (which we’re already seeing), or what I mentioned above. Things will change before the entire planet becomes a barren wasteland.
Clearly, M. Night Shyamalan was thinking along these exact same lines when he came up with the idea for this movie.
Now, onto a different train of thought… M. Night Shyamalan is one of my favourite directors. He has been since he directed his first movie the Sixth Sense. His second movie, Unbreakable really hit home because it dealt with a genetic defect that runs rampant in my family.
And he did Signs, which has since been one of my top five favourite movies of all time. Although I do have to admit that even though I was surprised by the ending of The Village, I have to admit that I found it dull as all get out.
Then there was his last flop, Lady in the Water. Hey, pretty much everyone I know hated the movie. I took it as exactly how Shyamalan said to take it… a fairy tale for adults. Thus, I liked it.
Now, The Happening sure isn’t his best work, by far, but it isn’t bad. In fact, I’d say it was about average.
As per usual, the only spoilers I’m going to give away are the ones that you would have seen in trailers.
First, it is the directors first R rated film ever, and for fairly good reason. This is NOT a movie for kids. Even my thirteen year old was a little disturbed by some of the scenes, and I have to warn you, the opening scene is very violent.
Don’t think violent as in torture porn violent, but it can be very disturbing to watch. Thankfully there is little in the way of actual blood and gore. Thankfully, the worst of the gore happens off screen most of the time. You can safely eat your popcorn without fear of losing your lunch while watching it.
The only real big name actors in the movie are Mark Wahlberg and John Leguizamo. Zooey Deschanel plays Mark Wahlberg’s characters wife. The only thing that I recognize her from was the mini series Tin Man which aired late last year on the Sci Fi channel.
The acting was just ok. There wasn’t anything that really stuck out in my opinion about it, with the exception of Mark Wahlberg. I found that he came across as genuinely concerned about what was happening, and terrified at the same time. Although truth be told, there were a few scenes that were supposed to be intense that I found funny.
At its heart, the movie is about survival. Surviving an event that has life changing consequences, and a warning. Yes, of course the movie is pure fiction and it was fun, don’t get me wrong, but it reminded me heavily of the fifties when movies were made, warning the populace of the ‘Red Menace’.
Back then it was of course in the form of monsters from the depths – usually spawned by radiation, or invaders from another world (think Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or The Thing from Another World).
So, was it M. Night Shyamalan’s warning about the consequences of our actions to the planet?
Meh, who knows? Maybe I’m just reading too much into it. After all, he himself said that it was nothing more than a fun B rate movie with a big budget.
Be warned though, there are a couple of scenes that will make you laugh, but now that I think about it, that wasn’t the reaction they were looking for. However, there are a couple of genuine guffaw’s in the movie that were put there to break the tension.
Yes, it was quite an intense movie. As I said earlier, it’s not for children.
So, do I think the movie was worth seeing? Yes, it was. You certainly could waste your cash on other films out there, like the Hulk or Indiana Jones, but if you’ve seen either of those movies already, then by all means, take this one in.
Will it be a blockbuster? No. I do believe it will make a fair chunk of cash over the summer though, which hopefully will lead Mr. Shyamalan to write and direct another movie. After all, I am still a fan of his work.
The reaction I got from the people around me was, for the most part neutral. I heard at least one person whine about wanting his money back, but other people seemed to feel the way I did. It was an average offering.
One last thing to note – I must be blind, but I didn’t see Shyamalan in the movie. Usually he has a cameo or a small role but I missed it this time around. Maybe someone out there will have caught it where I missed it.
2.5 out of 5