Lady In The Water

Cover Art/Menu: 8/10
The box is shiny and does that thing that makes her eyes open and close when you tip it back and forth. So, that’s cool. No seriously, it’s a nice thing to see a DVD box that’s not just the same ol’, same ol’shite. I’m not that impressed with glimmering stuff, but with a movie about sea nymphs and fairy tales, it’s perfectly acceptable.

The menus are pretty blah, unfortunately. They tucked a few clips from the movie behind the navigation, nothing special, nothing to match the groovy effort put forth on the cover, that’s for sure.

Features: 7/10

  • Lady In The Water A Bedtime Story Featurette – Director/Writer Shyamalan reads his original children’s book that inspired the movie.
  • Reflections Of Lady In The Water 6 Part Documentary – Where does a story like this come from? M. Night Shamalamadingdong (as my adorable husband lovingly refers to Mr. Shyamalan) has an active imagination and an apparently stronger desire to tell stories. He explains the origins of Lady in the Water and we get a first hand look at his creative process from research to hiding away to write the final draft of the script.
  • Additional Scenes – There’s not much in the additional scenes that would have given more to the story. Most of them are just meant to give more background for some of the peripheral characters (or are they peripheral?)
  • Auditions – A few rough videos of people who auditioned for some of the less developed roles.
  • Gag Reel – On a set with monsters and sea nymphs, there’s bound to be some giggling.
  • Theatrical Trailer – Trailers are not extras!…(she screams dissipatedly into her pillow.

The Movie: 7/10
I have learned, in my aging years, to appreciate fairy tales. I might have liked them when I was a kid, but now I get why they are so enchanting and kind of haunting. The Lady In The Water might not seem like a fairy tale, but it’s a modern telling of an incredible story. It’s not an ancient tale of any kind. M. Night Shyamalan came up with the story over the years as he told it to his own daughters at bed time. It wasn’t in some hidden old book in an attic somewhere. It just sprung from his over imaginative mind, then it became a children’s book, and now it’s a movie.

A stuttering apartment complex maintenance man discovers a chick in the pool who seems to be somewhat mysterious. This story doesn’t have any hidden agenda or twists and turns, it is what it is. As our loveable, but somewhat troubled hero stumbles onto the truth about his new house guest it is unbelievable and beyond reality, but he believes it. We believe it. He takes her “story”, as he learns it from one of the residents in the apartments, and runs with it without hesitation.

I won’t tell you the plot or what to expect from M. Night’s latest adventure, but I will say a few things about how it all wrapped me up and took me for a ride along with the characters in the movie.

The truth about our newly found sea nymph’s reality pours out a bit at a time, but not too slowly and not too quickly. Maintenance man hears unbelievable things about monsters and giant eagles, and he wants to believe it, so he does. He begins to wrangle other tenants into the tangled fairy tale, and they believe it. The style of the movie is straight forward, mostly, with a lot of close ups and “what was that I saw” blurry things in the background, even though you know what you saw. There’s not a lot of visual trickery. It’s all in how we are sucked into the story, one chapter at a time through the people and the reflection of what we see of ourselves in them.

We learn more about Mr. Maintenance, more about the tenants, more about nymph girl, and as we get deeper into the wildness of it all, it’s almost like the more bizarre it is, the more believable it is. Well, that is if you want to let yourself get into it. I did. I jumped in and let myself get wrapped up in the heart of the story. People finding out who they are, and the potential they have for doing good in the world. That’s kind of sappy, but it’s a lovely sentiment.

The way Shyamalan can mix the over the top stuff like a sea nymph living under a swimming pool with the mundane elements of everyday life in a blazee apartment complex is what I dig most about The Lady in The Water. That might be the boring way to look at it, but that’s what’s so fascinating for me. It’s got the fantasy flare about it with vivid colors and dynamic shots with some bold compositions that break from most movies, but for the most part the fairy tale aspect sneaks up on you between the lines. It’s not crazy with cgi shots, very few in fact, and there is only one set that’s beyond reality in anyway, and that’s the lair under the pool, which we only see briefly before we are brought back to reality quickly and without much sentimentality.

I know I haven’t said much about the story, but that’s just because it’s one of those that you need to see for yourself. As for my opinion of The Lady In The Water, I loved it. I got taken on an adventure that raised my spirits, and made me have a touch of fear, a bit of sadness, and a lot of that heartwarming thing inside about how we all have the chance in life to make a difference if we just are brave enough to do it. It’s true ya know, we are just all too jaded to admit it these days. I’m glad Shyamalan has the guts to tell us with one of his movies.

Value: 7/10
For around 17 dollars you could add this DVD to your M. Night collection. However, if you are not too too sure of how you feel about his movies, but you just have to see it out of uncontrollable curiosity, rent it and then decide if you want to commit to the full whack of cash. I enjoy these movies a lot so I like the idea of some day taking a long Saturday to watch them all in a row. I’m not sure why, but that’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

Overall Score 7/10