12 June 2008

The Happening

Sorry. Can't talk about M. Night Shyamalan's film without spoiling it. Those who haven't watched it please beware. I've warned you ...

A new film directed by Shyamalan, The Happening just can't be compared to The Sixth Sense. It's an apocalyptic film about a new plague that makes people lose their will to live and attempt to kill themselves. However, after the film finishes I'm sure a lot of the audience will still feel that they probably need more information about the plague. It's not clear what causes it and why it lasts for just a day ... Of course, explicative attempts have been made by way of dialogues and news clips, but they just don't add up. We feel like there should be more to it than just some plants oozing some toxic gas.

Another point that needs mending is the cheesy love story between Elliot and Alma. I just don't see that they have any chemistry together. Their relationship suffers because of Alma's character. She's a bit weird with her glaring eyes and rather eccentric personality, while we're not given enough details how Elliot is seen as irresponsible. For me, he's quite a nice guy throughout but it's her that needs mending. The fact that the plague stops when both of them decide to come out from their hiding place is just too cheesy and embarrassing. I just can't believe that this can still happen right now in the twenty-first century when coincidences and happy cheesy endings only happen in those films that set out to be cheesy and shamelessly romantic. The Happening doesn't set out to be like that and I couldn't help but feel disappointed.

In comparison, The Mist is far better both in its deployment of mystery and in its political message concerning the existential condition of humankind and the fear of the unknown. What is the message of The Happening? Sometimes nature works wonder and sometimes it may make you want to commit suicide. Or it's we who have destroyed nature and it's her turn to destroy us. Well, have we heard this a million times already? But Shyamalan's means to get this message across still needs mending.

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