“George, George, George of the Jungle, watch out for that tree.” That quote kept going through my mind while watching this movie. Well, that, and how much better it’d have been if it’d been a zombie movie. As with all of Shamalan’s movies, The Happening was intensely character driven, evidenced as we follow Marky Mark and his wife (and some secondary characters) as they try to outrun…trees. I had read online before going in to see this movie about how this was Shamalan’s preachy “Global Warmin Is Bad, mmkay” movie. Sure, there was some “we’re a threat to the planet” thrown in but over all I believe the intent was to have an overall feeling of dread as people mysteriously began killing themselves all over the northeastern United States. Apparently, trees and plants, sensing the danger humanity represented to them, began releasing some form of neurotoxin into the air causing people to go absolutely apeshit and begin offing themselves. Hmmmm.
Ok, ridiculous premise aside, the movie wasn’t so bad. This feeling I have about the flick might have something to do with the fact that I actually went and saw Lady In The Water. That movie, my friends, is a giant piece of all you can eat mexican night shit. So I went in with low expectations and came out thinking “Hey, it wasn’t so bad.” The acting was solid, though Marky Mark’s wife seemed a bit…stale. John Leguizamo even put in a very convincing father role.
I say that this movie would’ve been better as a zombie movie because, as the movie focused on the characters more than the killer toxic tree event, I was reminded of earlier Romero zombie works where we focused upon a group of characters, all with quirks and differing personalities of their own. Had it BEEN a zombie movie, it would’ve been a hell of a lot better. Much of the movie is rather dull, but there are a few scenes that come to mind (like when a guy just walks into a tiger pen and lets them rip his arms off…bad kitty, and when construction workers start falling from the sky, splattering all over. Oh yes, and there’s a wonderful bit of “hot potato” with a police officer’s gun and some scenes of kids getting blown away).
I suppose I’d say it’s a good movie to go out and see if you’re bored, or rent whenever it comes out, but not one to necessarily rush out like ravenous ghouls to see. If I had some sort of point system, it’d probably rank a 6 out of 10. Check it out if you’re bored.