Monday, July 14, 2008

Hey, Scaredy Cats--Give The Happening a Break!

I finally saw The Happening over the weekend and it left me wondering: What is all the bitching about? Could it be, gods forbid, that Phil Gramm is right? (Okay, I just slapped myself for that one.)

Seriously, I thought it was a good movie. It’s not a GREAT movie, but it’s good. It’s suitably intense and horrifying. SPOILER ALERT! I’m about to give away the whole movie, so do not read any further unless you REALLY want to know! If you still want to see the movie, I can recommend it with a clear artistic conscience. Just don’t read any further.

I’ve heard people all over the place saying with mock horror things like: “Ooooo . . . it’s the scary plants!” or “Oh my god, the grass is attacking! Run for your life!” Come on, people. No one had a problem with the man-eating vines in The Ruins. There is certainly cinematic historical precedent for plants that kill: When I was a kid, Attack of the Mushroom People (1963) scared the fungus out of me and my little bro! 1963 was clearly a landmark year for killer plants—it also gave us Day of the Triffids, which I still hear people talk about. And how many versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers are there? Off the top of my head, I can count four! And when that tree crashed through the window and grabbed up Carol Anne's brother in Poltergeist, don't tell me you didn't scream like a little girl. So, WHY do so many people have a problem with these killer plants? Personally, I think these folks are in denial.

Mushroom people and pods from outer space just aren’t that believable, now, are they? But an ecological event of the type shown in the movie? That’s believable. It or something very similar really could happen. Life forms on this planet do adapt; they evolve in response to their survival instinct, survival being a key word there. Considering how abusive we have been and still are to the planet and its other inhabitants, we probably should be scared. To slightly alter some consumer manipulation from the distant past: “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature!”

Believable stuff is just plain scarier than the unbelievable. Hence the need for mockery. It’s hiding the real fear.

Armchair critics everywhere (except me) are also complaining about Mark Wahlberg’s performance. I thought his performance was more than acceptable. I think the problem is that we’re all used to seeing our Markie Mark as a tough guy, a cool guy, but in this film he’s, dare I say it, a science nerd. The public has apparently typecast Wahlberg and won’t be happy unless he’s shooting someone or blowing up something or doing something with his shirt off. Come on, let the guy stretch a little! He’s probably capable of so much more.

I do have to admit, though, that Zooey Deschanel’s performance was a little on the weird side. I mean more weird than usual.

Anyway, M. Night Shyamalan, I still love you, dude! Don’t mind all the whiners out there. They’re really just scaredy-cats.


Anonymous said...

rupaul? doesn't work for this one huh...hmm...I am compelled to post since no one else seems too. See, at least one person is out there paying attention to something you write. :-)

Cindy Mc said...

You're right--it doesn't work for this one! Good answer on the last one, though. And thanks for paying attention to what I'm writing--intermittent though it is! Too busy and too many movies to keep up! Since these last entries I've seen Hellboy II, Mamma Mia, The Dark Knight (OMG), and The X-Files movie. Why am I telling you all this? I don't even know who you are! I must be lonely. Awww.

Making the Baby said...

A student of writing. though blogging is not my stong point and creating one is even more dentrimental to my health.

Making the Baby said...

Batman is maybe the best comic book movie I've ever seen and not just because of Ledgers portrayal of The Joker. I am a huge fan of movies in general, but there has not been another movie that has jerked me by the collar and slung me forward for nearly 3 hours non-stop since...LOTR The Two Towers opening sequence.BOOM! Oh, oh and the moment The Joker shows eveyone his magic trick!BAM! EXCELLENT movie. I give it five Batarangs and I'll even throw in a holy academy award Batman! The Joker is wild. I do miss the da da da da da da da theme though.

Cindy Mc said...

The Dark Knight truly is incredible. And Heath Ledger's Joker is breathtaking.