The Happening

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I could just leave it at that. One word. Boring. Or how about Waste-of-Time/Money? Well, the second half of the film anyways. The first half wasn't too bad, and the premise of the movie seems quite interesting. One bright sunshiny day, people in Central Park become confused and disoriented. Suddenly, they start killing themselves without warning and without reason. Construction workers through themselves off of buildings, cops shoot themselves with their own revolvers, one lady even uses a hair pin to stab herself in the throat. Believing it to be a possible terror attack using biological weapons, officials order the city evacuated. However, reports are soon coming in from all over the northeastern US that similar attacks are taking place. Where do you run where there's seemingly nowhere to hide from an enemy you can't see?

I was quite excited to see The Happening and after a hard morning of wandering around West Edmonton Mall (die tourists die!) where I managed to finally find a great pair of khaki's that fit properly (just about everywhere) and didn't cost me half my paycheck, it seemed like a great way to beat the heat. To be fair, it was a toss-up between this and Get Smart with Steve Carrell. Boy oh boy, did we make the wrong choice.

As I said, the first half of the movie was passable although not worth the $12.50 ticket price. Despite the terrible acting by Mark Wahlberg (go back to rapping ... please) and Zooey Deschanel (who hired her) the movie was progressing and had potential. The relationship between these two however started to become distracting, it was just sooo unbelievable. And there were repeated close up shots of Deschanel's big blue eyes looking completely empty rather than filled fear/love/hope/despair/etc that they were supposed to be conveying. Sorry I just didn't buy it. And Wahlberg as a highschool science teacher? Wait a minute, that's the problem! I didn't realize this was supposed to be a comedy! No...wait wasn't funny so... The rest of the cast was pretty good. John Leguizamo should really do more serious work, I thought he was the most believable - unfortunately we don't get to see enough of him. However, there is one scene with him, Ashlyn Sanchez who plays his daughter, and Wahlberg that brought a tear or two to my eye. Yep, he was great (as was Sanchez). It was also nice to see Frank Collision again. He's done a lot of TV work and small bits in various films but he'll always be the bumbling idiot from Elvira, Mistress of the Dark to me.

Now, I'm not a HUGE M. Night Shyamalan fan. I've seen a few of his movies: The 6th Sense, Signs, and the Village. For me, he seems to start off pretty well in the movies I've seen but once you see what it is you're supposed to be afraid of...crash and burn. Especially in Signs. That movie was ruined the moment you saw anything. I find it far more frightening when you can't see what's out there. The unknown. Now that's terror. And to be fair, you don't actually "see" anything in this film which is part of what appealed to me. I was prepared to be scared, terrified even. When it was over...I yawned. That's how disappointed I was. Once the people who've survived have an idea of what's wrong and how to deal with it, this film went rapidly downhill. By the end, it had turned into a sermon on how we should save the planet before we destroy ourselves. And frankly, I didn't pay to have someone preach to me. Even without the poorly done ending though, Shyamalan really missed the boat on this one.

Skip it.


Wandering Coyote said...

I'll definitely give this a miss. I loved The Village, but thought Signs sucked hairy balls. I still don't get the 6th Sense at all.

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