Against my better judgment (we do such things for those we love), I went to see Lady in the Water because my husband wanted to see it. At least if I warn you, losing those two hours of my life does someone some good. I can mitigate the sensation I'm feeling by telling myself that I took one for the team.
It wasn't as bad as the critics have made it out to be, but I left the theater pissed off. I was disappointed. Signs left me pretty cold, and I'd put this at maybe a hair above that one. Plain and simple, I've seen better from this director. This is far from Shyamalan's best work.
99% of the time, I hate it when authors and directors break the fourth wall, and this movie fell firmly within that 99% majority. I hated the fact that Stephen King ruined the latter books in The Dark Tower story by doing it, and I didn't like it here. I think it was a miscalculation on Shyamalan's part to cast himself in a supporting role in this film, because it's very distracting. He's a visible director, and a significant portion of his audience (myself included), is going to find it annoying to keep going "Hey, that's M. Night Shyamalan. Oh, hey, that's M. Night Shyamalan." It's not that he's bad, he's not, it's just that every time you see him, it reminds you not only that you're watching a movie, but that it's his movie. He also has a character utter a line about "this is the part in a movie where X would happen ..."
If you're trying to get people to suspend disbelief and go with you into the fairy tale, it's probably best to not keep kicking them back to reality. I wanted to suspend disbelief. I really wanted to immerse myself. I wanted to give the director the benefit of the doubt and like his movie, but his choices kept breaking my immersion, which was exasperating.
The entire plot is somewhat thin. There's a lot of build-up without a lot of payoff. To Shyamalan's credit he at least stretches his formula a little bit: there's not much of a twist ... it's so minor that I'd hardly call it a twist at all.
You can wait for ... accidentally catching this one on television one night. No, not HBO -- just television. It's not horrible: I'm not saying avoid it entirely, but I found it very frustrating in that "I want to smack you because you should know better" sort of way.
At least Paul Giamatti was good: he gave a lot of warmth to his character.
M. Night, the next time you want to direct a fairy tale, stay behind the camera and give Neil Gaiman a call. He writes some very good ones.
It's almost August, and I still haven't seen anything better than V for Vendetta this year.
As a side note, I saw Robots this weekend on DVD. It looked good, but had a fairly simplistic story line. I'm more forgiving of that in a kid's movie, but I could've done without all the unexpected scatological humor.