I just saw Signs on DVD. Part of the reason I didn’t like it, admittedly, was that I had larger expectations for it. Not too large, mind you, just larger than the movie turned out to have. I expected a twist at the end. There was no twist, just the playing out of what the movie called coincidence, but in reality was a set up by M. Night Shyamalan. But the problem with the set up was that there was no reason to care. The causes and events that play a vitally important role in the climax of the film were picked because they played a vitally important role in the climax of the film. The audience is just strung along.
This was only part of the problem, though. What really bothered me about the movie was the total break down of believability. The film held my interest long enough to make me question whether or not the aliens had a terrestrial explanation. We were supposed to feel ambiguity, because fantastic events kept intruding on the main characters’ normal world. But as the film progressed, we were asked to accept that these events were unfolding because of an alien invasion. So the crop circles were a method of navigation used by an interstellar attack fleet? Sure, they can find our needle in a haystack of a planet, no problem, but they can’t coordinate landing over major cities without giving us weeks of advanced warning, and luckily every city is within miles of the cornfields that they used to plot their courses. And is there no better planet to harvest for food? For a hydrophobic creature, they sure picked the wrong big, blue ball of water to land on. And were they not aware of mighty axes that we Earthlings wield? Because that probably would have helped them get through the doors that they were so confounded by.
But there is an explanation for the stupidity of the alien race that crossed thousands of light years just to be beaten back by baseball bats and glasses of water. See, M. Night Shyamalan is a great director (not writer, just director), and like all great directors, he loves movies. So this movie is just a collage of movies that he always wanted to make. So we have the paranoia of War of the Worlds, the creatures from The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the weakness of the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz. What we don’t have with Signs is a good movie.
4 replies on “Sings Point to Dumb”
I agree. The movie was week. However, I found the b-movie quality of it entertaining
I am trying to change my habit of not critically analyzing films to death. I realized I do this all the time and my friends really get pissed.
However… I have to say it….
A hydrophobic species would never ever land on a planet that is covered by 3/4 water, with animal life that itself is composed mostly of water.
The aliens could never have touched the humans without being burned.
Ok. I return to “not complaining” anymore.
RE: “I expected a twist at the end. There was no twist, just the playing out of what the movie called coincidence, but in reality was a set up by M. Night Shyamalan.”
I think you missed the pointto the end entirely. The point was to question wether or not it was a coincidence or not. You had a man that had lost his faith, yet at a crutial time all the events in his life lead up to help him in that moment. Was his wifes dying statement a coincidence or a prophetic instruction for a time she knew would be coming? Was his sons athsema a bad break or a gift intended to prevent him from being harmed by the ET’s gas(/spore/whatever it was) attack? Was the daughters issue with clean water a freaked out kid, or an intentional personality trait to set up the room for that moment from the beginning. The point to the end is “Is there coincidence at all or is life ordered and aided from the outside?” But yeah if you miss that key point the mivie is rather pointless…
Well, CP, maybe I missed the point, but Deus ex Machina is a weak plot device in any story, and is rarely used so blantantly. Rather than assume that this movie asked an important question about faith and guiding destiny, I’m content with believing that the movie was written with the end in mind and Shyamalan wrote the coincidences to fit it. That’s poor writing. Foreshadowing is a wonderful literary device, but the obvious set-up here was much less than that.