I will watch ANY movie by M. Night Shyamalan, and when I saw this Blu(e)ray on a store shelf, I bought it without needing to read the synopsis or anything else.
I do not regret having purchased this, but I do have questions and criticism, but before I delve into the dark, I want to repeat that I enjoyed watching the movie. The bonus material was also enjoyable, especially the exploration into Shyamalan’s filming style for this movie.
Before I get to the spoilers, let me state that there were some interesting situations that were created by the aging process, and there were some compelling group dynamics. I won’t spoil those.
The more I thought about the movie, the more I poked at some holes. When I watch a movie, I want to be immersed in the world. I make a deal with the movie, as a viewer, to believe the rules of the story world. I do not watch as a critic.
The people who are on the beach are unable to leave, but wouldn’t that barrier make them unable to enter? I will watch the movie again to see if I missed an explanation, but I suspect that if there is one, it will be cheesy. For the story to work, people can only leave via a tunnel, an exit that will likely result in drowning.
The premise of the movie is that evil pharmaceutical people are experimenting upon unwilling recipients, which would never be allowed in the real world because of ethics (not a philosophy – it’s a part of the design of an experiment). Maybe there has been a fake story of how a medicine was discovered (that hides how a person being raped by an elephant produced the particular form of adrenaline… but the official reported story is that elephants that were rescued from poachers had blood tests, and the adrenaline that was produced while having a tusk removed proved to be an incredible medicine for humans).
The beach ages people very quickly. This is used to test medicine on a fast track, rather than waiting decades to see the result. In real life, experiments are performed on creatures that have short life spans because of the quicker results, but this more has to do with seeing many generations, like if you make a pill that increases dick size, would that altering of genetics have results down the lineage of the big-dicked creature?
Each doomed person (experimental rat) is given only ONE dose, disguised in an alcoholic beverage. Isn’t this silly? “Wow, we can examine what happens to a person throughout his entire life span from just a single dose.” In this movie, a woman was cured of epilepsy from a single dose. Well, relatively cured. I think she was estimated to have been cured for sixteen years.
The more I thought about the movie, the more I suspected that plot-points were forced and weak justifications were put into place to make the story flow according to the main ideas, with everything stitched up in a neat bow at the end of the movie, which came off as “contrived.”
I eventually came to the conclusion that this, like many works by the director (and others in science fiction) were enveloping their ideas in story-situations that expressed the personal idea (of the creator). Much material in movies in unrealistic, like fiery explosions in space, or blood spurts from a gun shot. Fiction can be realistic, but fiction is not meant to be a newscast of a real event. It is meant for the reader or viewer (or listener) to enter the world of the creator.
Changing my perspective made me look at the movie the right way – to enjoy the dream of Shyamalan, a dream experienced at Night. (Get it?)