Lady in the Water (2006)

dir. M Night Shyamalan

The Lady in the Water is but a simple fairy tale. It follows a water nymph Narf – in this case the almighty Madam Narf, named Story – in her quest to find the Writer, or Vessel, so that she may inspire his work of great political change (incidentally, this noble champion for the future of humanity is played by the movie’s director, writer and producer M. Night Shyamalan). Threatening her way are the nefarious Scrunts (sometimes referred to as JG Scrunts, no reason given), green wolf-like creatures who are committed to destroying her, although they only ever seem to leave shallow scratches on her legs, which are healed with the use of a magical mud named Kii. Story the Madam Narf is aided by the Tartutik, i.e. some mystical monkey-like creatures, and the great Eatlon, a big eagle who ferries her back to her home of The Blue World. But before she can make safe passage, she must be helped by the Guardian (a guy who only works out on one side of his body), the Guild (seven sisters, who aren’t all actually sisters), the Healer (a hapless janitor who has the power to attract butterflies, made evident by the fact that he saw one once), and the Interpreter (a young boy who unearths the destiny of the universe by reading the blurbs on cereal boxes). Of course, the quest to identify these great heroes is momentarily hindered by an evil film critic, who understands not the magnificent quest of the writer, and whose misguided meddling is only rectified after his own violent death, which he monotonously narrates as it unfolds. Typical of a film critic to be so detached, so soulless! All these people live in the same shoddy apartment block, where most fortunately also live a woman and her grandmother who are well-versed in the laws and prophecies of the Narf, referred to here as an “Eastern” bedtime story. Yes, just a simple, non-convoluted, humble, classic bedtime story. A typical compelling narrative and realistic characters. Not unhinged, confused, pretentious or ludicrous. Nothing to do with Shyamalan’s great big bulging ego whatsoever. Nope. Nothing to see here, move along. The Lady in the Water is just your average Shyamalan production which manages to make The Happening look sane and unassuming by comparison.

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