Widower and lapsed priest Graham Hess is struggling to
raise his two children, with the help of his brother Merrill.
One night he discovers that an elaborate geometrical pattern
has been created in his cornfield. It is just one of hundreds
that have appeared all over the world. But soon far stranger
and scarier events test his family's resolve...
It would appear that Bruce Willis was unavailable to appear
in M Night Shyamalan's third enigmatic picture. One can easily
imagine Willis playing the luckless Graham Hess. This is no
criticism of Mel Gibson, though, who gives an often incredibly
Shyamalan standbys remain in place. These include an acting
appearance by the writer/director himself. His cameos have
grown progressively larger with each movie, and here we see
him in his most significant role to date in terms of its importance
to the movie's plot.
with The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, the film
concludes with the (unfortunately now fully anticipated) obligatory
twist. Shyamalan has become a victim of his own success, and
faces a no-win situation: he must either include a major twist
in each movie, thus inviting criticism for becoming predictable,
or risk disappointing his expectant audience. Once again,
the revelation is illustrated by recaps from earlier scenes,
in order to demonstrate just how clever his scriptwriting
is. But, although evocative in its own way, the conclusion
isn't as effective as that of either of his previous movies.
factor that has maintained its standards is the quality
of acting that the director coaxes from his child stars, in
this instance Rory Culkin as Morgan Hess and Abigail Breslin
as his little sister, Bo. Breslin is particularly charming,
providing many of the movie's funniest moments as the eccentric
little girl who is extremely particular about the quality
of water she drinks.
that's right - although there are a fair few jump-out-of-your-seat
scary and lump-in-the-throat poignant moments, this film also
contains a rich vein of humour. To his credit, Shyamalan deftly
mingles a wide spectrum of moods, swinging effortlessly from
Graham's bitter loss of faith to scenes of hilarity as Merrill
(Joaquin Gladiator Phoenix), Morgan and Bo fall prey
to UFO paranoia. Graham generates a few laughs too - for example,
when he makes a feeble attempt at impersonating a police officer.
works very well as long as it is telling a heart-warming tale
of family interaction. However, the extra-terrestrial aspects
of the plot are rather less convincing. We see very little
in the way of ETs, which certainly helps to generate terror
and suspense. This is old-style movie-making, with scary sounds
proving far more frightening than in-your-face gore or violence.
However, from the sketchy snippets we observe, the mysterious
invaders might as well as have been any old variety of mythical
monster. And, without giving too much away, the aliens' decision
to visit Earth in the first place lacks common sense.
get me wrong - Signs is an entertaining movie. But
it's no Sixth Sense. As I said earlier, Shyamalan is
a victim of his own success. From a lesser director, this
film might have been considered a classic.
than an hour of additional behind-the-scenes features take
us through the production process from script to screen, including
a multi-angle multi-audio presentation of the excellent "knife
and pantry" scene. Five deleted scenes include a particularly
scary one involving an alien in the attic. Finally, Shyamalan
presents an excerpt from his first ever monster movie, recorded
using a video camera. This is so amusing, I wish I could have
my reservations, the signs are that this disc is well worth
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