You won’t find much in the way of extravagant extras with The Village. The most notably absent extra would be a commentary by the writer/director/producer himself…but that might just be asking too much from such a busy guy.
There are a few short bits with interviews and clips from the making of the film that focus on the writing, making, sets, building the village, music, etc. Among the details you find out that the village was built from the ground up, the costumes were all approved one by one by the costume director every day of the shoot, and that they had a freak snow storm of 14 inches which melted the next day in a rain storm..phew. These extras are pretty informative and entertaining, but I would trade them all for one little commentary!!
- Home movies – As always a short glimpse back at the boy who became a Hollywood director. M. Night gives us yet another one of his short films made when he was a kid. With an Indiana Jones feel he had the eye for adventure even back then.
- Deleted scenes – With introductions from Shyamalan this is a fair offering of deleted scenes. Nothing too special, but still good to see some of original footage that could add to your understanding of a few characters.
The Movie: 7/10:
I’ll get straight to it. I really enjoyed this movie. There wasn’t one certain thing that kept me intrigued throughout this somewhat slowly moving tale of a village living in fear of “those we don’t speak of”, but I’ll try to pin point a few of my favorite things about it.
The story would be at the top of the list I suppose. I’m not sure though how to explain what interested me without giving away too much.
I can say that at the heart of it all it’s about love, heartache, bravery, and fear. That’s a broad range of themes to stuff into one story, but then again we are talking about M. Night Shyamalan after all. He has a flare for mixing the most mundane of human realities with extraordinary circumstance and always ending up with, if nothing else, something you have never seen before. Well, except in another M.
Back to the story. With all it’s semi-creepiness, this village is charming but there is something odd, something that nags at the back of your mind. It could be that they are at the mercy of some kind of creatures living nearby. Creatures who have left the villagers living in fear of crossing their boundaries, even for badly needed medical help.
Of course, that nagging feeling could be, and probably is, that unavoidable wait for the big “reveal” that all of Night’s movies have.
Come on, don’t deny it. We all ask the same question when confronted with a M Night Shyamalan movie, “What’s the big twist?”
All I can say is get over it and enjoy the film for everything besides the twist you assume is coming.
The acting is top quality, even though you wonder sometimes as Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt are chiming out their 19th century chatter if they are just rusty with old school dialect, or if they are weaving some master plan with their characters’ inability to string together very many words without sounding like a badly written play. I still say the performances are really good, with two stand outs. One of my favorites, Joaquin Phoenix is 100% perfect every time in my opinion. This is no exception. Ivy is played by an up and coming actress named Bryce Dallas Howard, who before this was credited with few parts but among them “redheaded girl in audience”, and “surprised Who”. She’s come a long way in her few years of performing and though there are a few cracks in her character from time to time, she does add a lot of vitality to an otherwise quite dark and dreary story.
The sets and costumes are contrived but have that idealist quality that Shyamalan is becoming famous for. He sees the world through glossy eyes where real life is an important prop, but he likes to tweak it just enough to make it look a little better that REAL reality.
Like I mentioned this story is a little slower than a lot of people will enjoy. I personally love a movie that doesn’t need to prove it’s worth by giving us an action sequence every two minutes. I have a brain in my head, I don’t need film execs deciding when I get excited or by what. I particularly loved the quietest scene in the move where Phoenix and Howard are sitting close together on a porch and have a discussion that, in all it’s subtlety and calm, is the birth of their love affair. In a faster paced film it would be lost and it’s just too good to lose.
Overall I have to be the odd woman out here and say that this is one of my favorite M. Night Shyamalan movies. Just see it for yourself and leave all your mental garbage about his other movies, what other reviewers have said, and what people who can’t think for themselves seem to agree on…they all are programmed to compare films by the same director they all contradict themselves by saying it’s not as good as the others because it’s the same, but it’s too different and he should stick to what he knows…. blah, whatever. Get over it people. It’s a good way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday night. Just don’t watch it with a restless big mouth pseudo movie critic wannabe who won’t appreciate the quieter moments.
Not much here in the way of value. You do get a few extras which add to the whole experience of the movie, but without any commentary it seems kind of like we are cheated out of the best part, Shyamalan’s explanations about every little detail throughout the movie that we missed. It’s a good rental for now, just wait for a special edition someday that will hopefully have more to offer for the $20 price tag.
Overall Score 7/10