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Shyamalan: The Green Monster

I know that sometimes, here on EOL (PowersCosmic) I can take a pretty hard line with the folks that create content for the mediums of film and television. I know that I can, at times, seem pretty scathing, but I hope that my posts here are never without hope or at least a hint of the respect I have for the time, effort and talent that the people who write, produce or play any part in, film or television entertainment… Well, except for a couple of the boobs that work at FOX, those guys suck.

Sure, I’ve even taken a few jabs at guys like Paul WS Anderson and Uwe Boll at times and I’ve been a little unforgiving towards a few other directors and even some on screen talent. But people, if I ever come off like some of the assholes who’ve written about M Night Shyamalan over the past couple of years, please let me know.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of M Night’s work, in fact I’d even go so far as to say he’s probably one of my favourite directors ever, so, maybe I’m a little sensitive to some of the crap he’s copped since UNBREAKABLE failed to be THE SIXTH SENSE II in the eyes of movie pundits. But lately things have been getting pretty ridiculous and bloggy, wanna-be film critics have been spinning on their heals so fast that they surely must be making themselves dizzy.

During the development of LADY IN THE WATER, Shyamalan and Disney had a fairly public falling out (as detailed in the book ‘The Man Who Heard Voices’ by Michael Bamberger) over the content of the film’s script, eventually Disney and the writer/director parted company and Lady in the Water was produced by Warner Bros.

Disney’s production president Nina Jacobson’s criticism of Shyamalan’s script may have been valid, given Lady in the Water’s poor box office returns and its panning by ‘critics’ everywhere. To date Lady in the Water, which had a production budget of $70 million, has only grossed $72.8 million (worldwide) so, when compared to say THE VILLAGE, which grossed $256.7 million (with a production budget of $60 mill’), it’s pretty much acceptable to say that it was a *failure*… That is, of course, if the only value you place on a movie is in the accounting.

Now, here’s what’s been irritating me of late; Shyamalan took a pounding as a result of the fall out with Disney. Despite the fact that there’s a book floating about, which details a version of the deterioration between the parties involved, the reality is that we may never really know what actually transpired. We may never know what was really said or how much of it was the result of a collision between egos and bean counters. In the end though, it was Shyamalan who wore the blame for the split, at least in the eyes of film critics: Popular opinion says that it was his ego and his unwillingness to change his script that lead to the falling out, and he ultimately fell flat on his face because the movie (as defined above) failed.

Lets say that I buy all that. Lets say that I completely accept that the script, which paints movie critics as arrogant assholes who deserve to be eaten by mythical creatures, really deserved to be bagged… By critics. By the same critics who said that Shyamlan’s previous movie was crap too… You know, The Village: The one that made $256.7 million. Lets say all that is fine.

What isn’t fine is the way, in my opinion, that film blogs and personally-offended, wanna-be critics are now spinning the reports of Shyamalan’s latest efforts: Shyamalan may very well have learnt a lesson from the whole Lady in the Water saga, because when his attempts to sell his latest script (for a project currently titled THE GREEN EFFECT) met with rejection from all major studios, he took on their criticism and is reworking the project. No, that’s not what’s being reported: “Shyamalan’s new script sucks and no-body wants it” is essentially the drift of what I’m reading.

What’s the deal? He gets crap because he’s not willing to change his script… Now he takes the criticism onboard and makes changes to his script and he still ‘sucks’? I doubt that there’s a single script that has ever seen screen time that hasn’t been reworked a dozen times or more. The guy just can’t win with the bloggers and critics.

Perhaps some of these guys really do need to be eaten by mythical creatures?

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    silk purse out of another silk purse.
    Shyamalan is one of my (current) favourite directors and, although he’s a bit left of centre for most tastes, I think that needs to be recognised and viewed accordingly. I enjoyed ‘unbreakable’, ‘signs’ as well as ‘Lady in the Water’. Sixth sense has been ruined for me with the “I see dead people” shooting to number one on the idiot slogan pop charts.
    In my humble opinion, if there is an audience out there, then the viewing public and those who cater for them, including the critics (those that can; do. Those that can’t; criticise)
    should be prepared to recognise it and let it go! Why try and make something out of something that isn’t??

  • for shizzal
    Agreed. I don’t know what the deal is these days with everyone needing to be so combative about stuff, which ultimately comes down to a matter of taste.