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.
Being that I am in the minority of actually liking Shyamalanâ€™s films, I felt it appropriate that I should give a review. I have not watched Lady in the Water or the Happening since their dvd/theatrical releases. Therefore in watching these edits now, it would give a fair unbiased opinion to see how it flows since most of the original scenes have left my mind (to some varying degree)
Honestly I really do not know why people dislike Shyamalanâ€™s films so much? They are not that terrible and certainly miles above most of the crap shoved down our movie watching throats nowadays.
I loved Lady in the Water and I really enjoyed the Happening. I looked forward to seeing this editorâ€™s work:
The disc opens up with a nice menu and watery or windy transitions for each edit. The menus are well done. I did not yet watch his commentary subtitled versions and I am sure it will pinpoint many of the smaller things I might have missed that he did work on for each edit.
The video quality is decent enough. All video and audio had no hard cuts or errors to speak of. I am using a regular analog 27â€ tv for viewing as well as sound. Each film edit on here is presented in Black and White, something I am a fan of.
I really wanted to see this new take on the Happening, so this is what I watched first.
Wow! This was one heck of an improvement over the original. The editing was pretty flawless and the filmâ€™s pacing was not hampered down. In fact I do not miss anything that was removed and likewise, if you never saw the film, you might be hard pressed to find what was taken away. The only problem I do have is the use of black and white. I tend to prefer films in black and white as it brings across a greater atmospheric feeling on the screen, however for the complete first half I felt it worked against it. It just did not feel right and should have been left in color. The second half of this worked well and the black and white use (especially during the sequence at Mrs. Joneâ€™s cabin) was very effective. I would have to double check my original, but I thought one scene towards the end was slightly re-arranged. The pacing really stands out on this and keeps the whole film going without any downtime. I think many that were disappointed with the original would find this as a breath of fresh air.
Lady in the Water:
I am glad I watched this one second. This feels very disjointed and does not make that much sense. It opens with strangers talking and saying things that normally one would not say in a conversation with someone you just found in your pool. It gives a very strange and surreal feeling. So far it reminds me of something I would see in a foreign art film. As this edit goes on, the damage to the filmâ€™s story and integrity increases. This is one film where it is critical for more characterization and back story. Instead due to the removal of many such scenes, you are given a general plot idea, but it moves way too fast and removes too much to be anything of interest or sense. It really killed the film and only 30 mins in I am having a hard time viewing it.
Ok look, I was only able to make it to 52 mins before I started skimming with the fast forward button. I just could not watch it any longer past this point. Even if the ending does work well, there is already too much damage committed that seeing the rest is not worth the bother. I am really sorry to sound like this, but this edit just fails horribly. Keep in mind I did see the film on dvd before and this edit only slightly makes sense with the knowledge of what is already going to happen. God knows how one would interpret this particular edit if they never saw the film beforehand?
The use of black and white on this feature does hamper it and removes most of the fantasy element by making it feel kind of dreary and dull in addition to my previous thoughts about what the editor removed. I just cannot recommend this half of the edit at all. In theory it was an interesting idea, but on the screen it just failed to translate over
Overall this edition is worth viewing alone for the great improvement with The Happening, but what a horrible mess for Lady in the Water