Unlike flyboy, I had seen (and detested) The Happening before, but never Lady in the Water.
The Happening: Great job! It becomes a compact little thriller of perfect lenght (one longs for the classic film days in which 60-minute-long movies were allowed in theatres) which could almost be part of a Twilight Zone type series. B&W works fine for this despite the minor mood ring thing, the buffoonery is gone, and the lover subplot is thankfully nowhere to be seen, by which it all is no longer as much of a poster-film for The Sacrosanct Institution of Marriage, Total Sexual Exclusiveness Division. Sadly, nothing could be done about that turd “love conquers all” ending, and Marky Mark is still as believable as a science man as I would be as Marilyn Monroe. But I did enjoy the movie this time around. Quite a bit, actually. The only technical downside is the abrupt music cut at the very end of the final credits.
Lady in the Water: I’m afraid I can’t be anywhere near as kind, but, as this is the only version of it I have seen, it probably has more to do with the original being bloody awful than with the faneditor’s work. The story can be followed, but it is barely logical, worst aspect of it being the ease with which everyone accepts the fantasy of it all. Yeah, right. B&W doesn’t work nearly as well in this one, probably because of all those night sequences (B&W night photography is a very specific process) that makes all details merge into the background, while The Happening was all set in daylight. Editing seems quite well done, but there are two moments that make me go WTF: one is that “key” thing, which we first see when Giamatti covers it so the Asian girl can’t see it, the existence of which had been mentioned but it hadn’t been properly visually introduced; and the other is a short sequence of Giamatti in a pajama eating a cookie in front of the Asian girl and her mother. Where did that scene come from, and what the hell is its purpose? Otherwise it’s technically well done, but I found the movie just plain atrocious.
DVD menus are good looking and the transitions are original, even if I wonder why the title menu for “Lady” was kept in color.
My rating of 7/10 is for the Happening part of this edit. While I still didn’t think the movie was very good, it was much improved over the original, there’s just not much of any good material to work with. So, my score is mostly for the effort and improvement, than for my enjoyment of the end result. I did think the black and white worked really well in some scenes, but felt a bit flat in others.