Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Happening (2008)



“Science will come up with some reason to put in the books, but in the end it'll be just a theory. I mean, we will fail to acknowledge that there are forces at work beyond our understanding. To be a scientist, you must have a respectful awe for the laws of nature.”

            Yes, I have sat through The Happening. I sat through it in theaters when it was released too. Oh, and I also own it on DVD and I bought it the day it came out. I guess it is safe assume I am the only person who really liked The Happening. My one friend is ashamed of me for even admitting that I like it. The movie has a lot of faults but I liked the story very much because like many of M. Night Shyamalan’s movies it is different. Recently it has been very windy by me and I felt inspired to sit through the movie and scare myself a little bit.
            The movie begins in Central Park on a nice day. People are out walking with friends or family. The camera pans to two women sitting on a park bench. They are talking when one of the women hears someone scream she looks up and everyone around her is still. Her friend sitting next to her takes out a stick in her hair and stabs herself. Other people around her kill themselves as well. Not far from the park a group of construction workers jump off the building they are working on. The news reports that what happened in Central Park may be the work of a terrorist attack.
            News reaches a high school in Philadelphia where Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) is a science teacher. The principle calls all the teachers to the auditorium to let them know what happened in New York and that everyone is allowed to go home and be with their family. Elliot’s friend and a fellow teacher Julian tells him that his wife has family out on a farm and that he and his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) can come as well.
            Elliot, Alma, Julian and Julian’s daughter Jess get on a train heading out of Philadelphia. The train stops in the middle of nowhere. When Elliot asks the conductor why they stopped the conductor replies they lost contact with everyone. Philadelphia has now been hit starting in and around a park. As the passengers from the train are in a local diner they find that more incidences are happening only in the northeast up to Massachusetts. When the power goes out everyone hauls ass and runs out grabbing a ride with whoever will give them one. Julian finds a family who is going into Princeton, he wants to go because that is where his wife was and he has since lost contact with her. He leaves Jess with Elliot and Alma. The three get a ride with a man and his wife.
            Once the man and his wife get their things together and head out they are stopped when they come to a road with bodies across it. When they go to turn around by a military station one soldier is left out of the station. Elliot figures out that they need to be separated into groups so that the trees and nature will not attack them all at once. Unfortunately a group is attacked and one by one they kill themselves with the soldier’s gun.
            Now Elliot, Alma, and Jess are running for their lives. Nowhere is truly safe since nature is all around them.
            There were a lot of great scenes and shots. One shot I thought was brilliant is when Elliot and Alma are in a field and it pans to Alma’s jacket blowing in the wind against the golden yellow grass. I liked the black of her jacket against the yellow of the grass it was really nice. One scene that will always stick with me is when Elliot looks over a hill where he sees a man starting large lawn mower and the man just lays down letting the mower go right over him.
            Elliot and Alma have an interesting story. Alma was never really ready to settle down and she is just not happy in the marriage. Elliot cannot see why she is unhappy because he loves her. It is cheesy but through the whole event they come to really love each other again and the ending is all happy and mushy. There is a deleted scene that explains their relationship and why Alma is so upset. It explains a lot but it was left out for the audience see their relationship fold up and I guess to add a little mystery and let the audience make up their own ideas. The deleted scene was filmed great there were so many great angles and shots especially of Zooey Deschanel.
            Alright so the acting is not the best ever seen which is a shame because Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel are two very good actors. Sometimes the acting was almost embarrassing and Wahlberg and Deschanel are so miscast as a couple but if you can get past those The Happening is not a bad movie. I liked The Happening. I think it has a good story and an interesting concept. That is one thing I like about M. Night Shyamalan his stories are always original and different to everything that is out today. It makes you stop and think every time you see trees and grass blowing in the wind.