(Review originally written at 14 July 2010)

Never expected this movie to be good but I certainly did also not expected it to be as bad as it turned out to be.

Guess somewhere deep inside of it the movie had some potential and some original ideas but the movie just doesn't ever do something good or interesting with it. It's not really an entertaining movie, not a tense one at all and not mysterious enough or fantasy like. It basically feels like a quite pointless movie to watch, that is a lot but is also nothing at the same time.

With "Unbreakable" M. Night Shyamalan delivered a realistic super-hero movie. With "Signs" he delivered a realistic science-fiction movie (till the last minutes at least). With this movie he tried to deliver a realistic fairy-tale. His approach totally failed though, which is not only due to his misplaced directing approach but also really due to its story, which he also wrote on his own by the way.

Sorry, just nothing really makes sense in this movie. I can go along with some imaginative storytelling, with strange worlds and magical characters but this movie is just lacking in all and it's story is just plain silly. No one seems to think its strange and unlikely at all that a water nymph suddenly appears and everybody decides to help out, without asking any questions. It's obviously that M. Night Shyamalan tried to put all kinds of deeper meanings to the story and characters in it, about believing in stories and making your own and everyone and everything has a purpose in life but absolutely nothing about it works out. It instead makes the movie more silly and also certainly slower. Just can't really think of a right audience that might end up liking this movie. The movie was probably intended as magical and maybe even uplifting but M. Night Shyamalan ruined all of his, potentially good, own ideas.

Due to its directing approach the movie also visually was a disappointing one. The movie tries to be less Hollywood like and more independent like. Sounds like a good idea but it makes this a very self indulgent one that is all too aware of itself and of the different style it tries to create. This is most apparent in the distracting cinematography with some annoying and above all pointless camera-angels, that really take you out of the movie. The special effects were also really disappointingly bad. Simply not acceptable for 2006 movie standards, especially not when you have such an high budget to work with, as this movie had.

Paul Giamatti is a good actor and while he also is still good in this, I just think that he is one of those actors that is always better off playing the secondary character. I don't know, he just isn't that interesting as a main lead, which might also be really due to his looks. M. Night Shyamalan obviously tried to make a star out of Bryce Dallas Howard, after already have cast her in his previous movie "The Village" but he instead almost single handedly ruined it, by making her character extremely boring and give her absolutely nothing interesting to do. A positive note on its casting; I did like Jeffrey Wright and Bob Balaban in this. M. Night Shyamalan also once more gave himself an acting role in this movie, with a big difference this time that it is quite a large role. And no, he just isn't much good in it.

Don't know what is worse; M. Night Shyamalan acting, writing or directing for this movie.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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