I was recently alerted to one of the first reviews for M. Night Shyamalan's latest attempt to surprise us, Lady in the Water, and was pleased to see that it was extremely positive. I then went to Variety, however, and read another review that is still not convinced on Shyamalan.
Lady in the Water Reviews
Don't make up your minds on Lady in the Water just yet, as the first two reviews differ greatly. One claims that the film may be Shyamalan's best to day while the other understands why Disney passed on it.
It is always nice to start with the bad news first.
Vindication is rarely as swift or complete as that likely awaiting the Disney execs who passed on M. Night Shyamalan's latest effort "Lady in the Water." After Disney balked, the director carted the project to Burbank neighbor Warner Bros., then lambasted his former studio for a lack of vision in a tie-in, tell-some book. Disney's misgivings were well founded, as Shyamalan has followed "The Village" with another disappointment -- a ponderous, self-indulgent bedtime tale. Awkwardly positioned, this gloomy gothic fantasy falls well short of horror, leaving grim theatrical prospects beyond whatever curiosity the filmmaker's reputation and the mini-controversy can scare up.
Whatever you may have to say about M. Night Shyamalan, you have to give him credit for doing things differently than most directors with a couple Hollywood blockbuster under the belts. After exploring ghosts, superheroes, aliens and 18th Century villagers, he delves further into the world of fantasy, but instead of following routes laid down by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, he has created an original fairy tale that takes place in our own world. To say that it's a departure would be an understatement.
This is not M. Night Shyamalan's most immediate work of fiction, and I honestly can say that I have no idea whether fans of his earlier work will embrace this or be too confused by the departure. Those who truly want to believe that fantasy and magic exist in our world are given a wonderful story that is far more satisfying in terms of characters and original ideas than anything Shyamalan's done in the past.
Check out the full reviews for Lady in the Water by clicking on the bold links above (new window).
Lady in the Water comes to theatres on July 21st, 2006.