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The Village (Widescreen Vista Series) (2004)

A movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

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I'm Sadly Disappointed

  • Jul 31, 2004
Rating:
+1
Pros: Great story idea, fantastic ending, fitting atmosphere, great actors...

Cons: ...who had no chemistry. Story needs more "filling"

The Bottom Line: Unfortunately, I nodded, and you probably will too. It's a great story idea, but you'll want to wait for this one on video.

I have been seeing previews for the Village for who knows how long, and have been eagerly awaiting its release in the theatres. Directed, written, and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, this movie looked to be a definite thriller. Previews were skimpy, and it was hard to tell just what the movie was going to be about, but isn't the suspense of finding out what draws us in?

The movie begins with a rather dreary atmosphere. We're introduced to many of the village people (ha, sorry, just had to say that), including several elders, as well as Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), a shy, fearless man, Noah Percy (Adrien Brody) a mentally handicapped man, and Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard), a blind but seemingly omniscient girl. You soon realize (if you didn't already know it coming into the theatre) that something is different about this old village; there seems to be a fear of the woods instilled in everyone. There is an alliance of sorts, "those we don't speak of" live in the woods, and as long as the villagers don't cross into the woods, "they" won't cross into the village. But what/who are those-they-don't-speak-of? And why are the village people (I'm going to keep doing this, you know) afraid of them?

One of the things that makes this film good is that we don't see those-they-don't-speak-of for awhile, we only hear them, keeping our suspense high. The fearless Lucius Hunt dares to cross into the woods one day, only a few yards into, sure, but that's all it takes... that night one of "them" is spotted, and the next morning there are warnings left on the doors of the villagers. Perhaps Lucius didn't realize how serious "they" were...

If you thought this was the main plot, you were mistaken. We realize that Ivy and Lucius have a little thing for each other, though all it ever seems to be in this film is little... and that pleases Noah. You see, Noah is jealous of their relationship, and this love-triangle is a large part of the story.

"The plot thickens" (I really think I'm funny today) when it becomes clear that someone needs to go to a nearby village for help, and who better to go than a sweet, innocent blind girl, who "they" just might feel sorry for? The movie reaches a high point when Ivy finally makes her way through the woods, but that's all I can say.

As is becoming clear the more films he makes, M. Night Shyamalan has a thing for surprises. Also having come up with the great (in my opinion) film The Sixth Sense and the okay film Signs (also starring Joaquin Phoenix), you probably knew something was going to turn around in this story, and oh yes, you would be right. This turn-around is what makes me add a few stars to my rating, because although I enjoyed the movie overall, there were too many things that annoyed me about The Village.

Maybe I was expecting too much, but even so, this film was a bit of a let-down. The beginning was all right, but the large amount of characters introduced was a bit confusing, as many of them were never expanded upon very much. Also, while the love triangle of Ivy, Lucius and Noah is obvious, the chemistry just wasn't there, though they all did nice jobs in the movie. Adrien Brody did a fantastic job with his part, and as grandpa_riot said in his review, the confrontation scene between Lucius and Noah really woke me up...

Which brings me to the most disappointing thing... the pacing and action factors. It's odd, because the story is a great idea, the actors were great, and the atmosphere was terrific, but the pacing in this movie in many parts (especially the middle, which is a horrible place for pacing to go bad) was just plain bad. I have to admit, I was nodding during parts of The Village. I was really alert in some places, like the beginning (of course), or when "they" made appearances to warn the village people, and when Lucius and Noah confronted each other. The suspense was really great in many of these scenes, and many of the movie-goers, myself included, jumped, screamed and made other exclamations (epinions won't let me type them ;)) expressing our delight. But overall I was not as impressed as I would've liked to have been. I think one thing that might have helped would have been more dialogue instead of just silent or near-silent interactions between characters.

I think M. Night Shyamalan had a great idea, but it just may have done better as a short story or film, or if he could have added more for the middle instead of boring the viewers. This is a movie I would suggest seeing if you enjoy odd stories, the supernatural, or M. Night Shyamalan's other movies, but if you're just looking for a good movie to see in the theatre, don't waste your money; wait for it on video. This was a hard film to rate, because while I would see it again, I just don't think it will live up to many people's expectations.

Recommended:
Yes

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November 18, 2010
Excellent review, although I actually kinda liked this flick.
 
November 15, 2010
Featured this review! welcome to our community!
November 15, 2010
Wow, thanks! I'm still trying to figure things out. Appreciate the feature spot!
 
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More The Village (2004) reviews
review by . November 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Spooky fun
Life in the tiny 19th century village of Covington Woods is idyllic; the townfolk live in harmony, completely isolated from the distant Towns that are feared and never visited. The only problem is the constant threat of the hideous, red monsters that lurk in the woods and send the villagers rushing to their cellars every so often. Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard), the plucky, blind daughter of elder Walker (William Hurt), has fallen in love with strong and shy Luscious (Joaquin Phoenix), son of the Widow …
Quick Tip by . October 19, 2010
I liked this more than the rest of my family did. They seemed to feel cheated by the ending. I felt like it was inevitable and nicely done.
review by . July 28, 2009
After films such as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs became huge successes, M. Night had pretty much established himself.  An article in Newsweek went so far as to name him the next Steven Spielberg.  By now Newsweek is probably denying they ever said that, but they did.  And most of us wanted to truly believe that.  In terms of directing, there's really not much wrong with M. Night.  Truly not.  He usually has good camera work and a good atmosphere about his …
review by . September 09, 2009
   I know that this movie has a lot of bad reviews because many people did not like the ending. But I did. Though I kind of figured out some of it the first time a creature makes its appearance, I had no problem with it.       The acting is first-rate! The movie seems to flow very well. It never seemed to get boring. There is some nice comic relief such as when a group of youths play "chicken" against the creatures by going into the woods and seeing how long …
review by . June 20, 2006
M. Night Shyamalan definitely did himself a disservice in releasing "The Sixth Sense". Brilliant as the film was, its "twist" ending was so powerful that audiences the world over expected nothing less from the talented young director. And so, Shyamalan has been trying with every single outing since to recapture that sense of awe.    Although many have made scathing remarks about the ending of "The Village", it is perhaps his most perfect since "The Sixth Sense"; though by no …
review by . January 23, 2005
Nay-say what you will, M. Night Shyamalan is consistent in his apparent mission to encourage his audience to look beyond the obvious to discover aberrant alternatives to the explanation of nature, including humans and their motivations. THE VILLAGE is a very good movie if taken as another chapter in Shyamalan's odyssey. If it doesn't have the shock jolt that his early successful film THE SIXTH SENSE had, then perhaps it is more because we as audience are beginning to understand his take on reality …
review by . January 17, 2005
"The Village" is the latest heaping helping of creepiness served up by M. Night Shyamalan. There are plenty of twists and turns(as expected), and an excellent ending, but the guts of this story run a little thin.    I won't spoil this story for anyone by saying what will happen, but I offer a brief synopsis of what's going on in the film. A small village of people are living in an area surrounded by Covington Woods. As long as they do not cross into the woods, the creatures that …
review by . January 15, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
In THE VILLAGE, the people in a small, rural Pennsylvania town of yesteryear have a pact with creatures who live in the woods surrounding the village. The townspeople stay out of the woods and the creatures stay out of the village. But then the creatures begin appearing in the village. No one knows why. Strange and unusual events occur more frequently until an attempted murder is made upon one of the village's most promising future leaders, Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix). In order to save the young …
review by . August 03, 2004
Pros: Good Cast and Setup.     Cons: Bad pacing and absurd finale.      The Bottom Line: A grand premise destroyed by absurdity.     Deep within a lush meadow a thriving community is enjoying a communal dinner following the passing of a young member of the town. The smiles and laughter that emerge from those seated at the table hide that fact that the town lives in perpetual fear of an unspeakable evil.   The towns residents are …
About the reviewer
Laura Elizabeth 'Anderson' Brack ()
Ranked #321
I'm brand new to Lunch and looking to get settled. I write on epinions.com as laurashrti, and enjoy writing product reviews.      I'm a 27-year-old library employee working … more
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Wiki

Even when his trademark twist-ending formula wears worrisomely thin as it does inThe Village, M. Night Shyamalan is a true showman who knows how to serve up a spookfest. He's derailed this time by a howler of a "surprise" lifted almost directly from "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim," an episode ofThe Twilight Zonestarring Cliff Robertson that originally aired in 1961. Even if you're unfamiliar with that Rod Serling scenario, you'll have a good chance of guessing the surprise, which ranks well belowThe Sixth SenseandSignson Shyamalan's shock-o-meter. That leaves you to appreciate Shyamalan's proven strengths, including a sharp eye for fear-laden compositions, a general sense of unease, delicate handling of fine actors (alas, most of them wasted here, save for Bryce Dallas Howard in a promising debut), and the cautious concealment of his ruse, which in this case involves a 19th-century village that maintains an anxious truce with dreadful creatures that live in the forbidden woods nearby. Will any of this take anyone by genuine surprise? That seems unlikely, since Emperor Shyamalan has clearly lost his clothes inThe Village, but it's nice to have him around to scare us, even if he doesn't always succeed.--Jeff Shannon
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Details

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: January 11, 2005
Runtime: 108 minutes
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Touchstone
First to Review

"I'm Sadly Disappointed"
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