Friday, May 26, 2017

Lady in the Water Movie Review

Lady in the Water (2006)
Rent Lady in the Water on Amazon Video
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring:  Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, Jared Harris
Rated: PG-13

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

Apartment building superintendent Cleveland Heep discovers a water nymph in his pool and enlists the residents to help her get back home.

This tries to marry fantasy and drama with mixed results. The movie doesn't sell it. I can buy that for whatever contrived reason all the special people in the world live in this run down complex, but it seems silly that they all so quickly buy into what would appear to be the rantings of a mad man.
This has all the potential of a fun adventure, but it plays like a bed time story made up on the spot. That's what it is, but you'd think it would get refined from the bedroom to the screen.Skip it.

This famously, or infamously, is based on a bedtime story Shyamalan would tell his children. A children's book released in conjunction with the movie. It does seem like a movie he made up on the spot. It's a rough script despite a good concept.

What's special about this rundown apartment building? We don't get that answer and that's okay. It does seem odd that these cosmically important outcasts all end up in the same spot, but this building is for those people.
The movie almost tries to hard to make the characters quirky. There's a guy that exercises only one side of his body just to be unique. Developing these characters and how they ended up here, would give them a bit more meaning. The movie focuses on the improbably fantasy instead of the characters. If the question weren't how to get this water nymph back home, but why here, why these people, it would give the movie more meaning.

I'm sure Shyamalan didn't want to do another twist, but this story is ripe for a 'was it real' reveal at the end. Maybe it was a shared fantasy among forlorn people.

The movie's gimmick centers around a magical portal that opened in the complex's pool. I can buy a magical portal, but it's depicted as some kind of tunnel. While I'm nitpicking, a magical portal works better. How does this tunnel not drain water from the pool? Where does the tunnel go?
The most baffling thing is that one of the tenants knows the story of this water nymph and everything syncs up. She's a mystical guide that makes this all the more far fetched. The movie just doesn't sell this concept well enough. There are too many missed or ignored details.

Everyone just buys the Giamatti's story about a water nymph. It's a huge jump that should generate a little push back. I'd rather the movie focus on Giamatti pushing the residents to believe his tall tale. It's not like these people have anything better to do. What makes them special could be that they could be described as 'losers,' but the movie doesn't do that.

It's a good concept that isn't developed far enough.

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