Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Sign in to follow this  
stephen_speicher

Shyamalan: The Village, etc.

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I thought this movie was too long and tedious trying to setup the twist ending, which I thought was a bit cynical and uninspiring.

I know this is very brief, but I don't want to spoil it for others by going into detail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought this movie was too long and tedious trying to setup the twist ending, which I thought was a bit cynical and uninspiring.

I know this is very brief, but I don't want to spoil it for others by going into detail.

This is the one criticism of this film that I just can't understand. What twist ending? There wasn't much of a "twist" at the end, and I don't think there was supposed to be. So what? Do people just expect the movie to have a twist ending because it was directed by the guy who did The Sixth Sense, and then are disappointed that it's not the exact same damn movie? I just don't get it. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To offer a contrary view: though the directing in this film is beautiful, in every other respect it is one of the worst films I've ever seen. The plot makes no sense--it's not a matter of there being a few plot holes: almost nothing in the plot stands to scrutiny. The suspense is repeatedly ruined by revealing things to us in the wrong order. And, though I don't think Shyamalan knows what he's doing, the film whitewashes some of the most wicked motivations and actions possible to human beings. He condemns certain notions in the film as misguided-but-good-intentioned that are in fact absolutely evil.

It's hard to be specific with criticism of The Village without giving too much away, so I'll leave it at that.

I pretty much agree with this post. However, I think that Shyamalan does know what he is doing. His plots may or may not stand up to scrutiny, but that is not his focus. It is more important that he properly convey his mystical or religious messages. Therefore, he will sacrifice plot integrity as long as the message remains in tact.

In Sixth Sense and Unbreakable the message was that everyone has a mystical fate-like purpose in life, and you will remain unhappy or frustrated until you understand your destiny and achieve it.

In Signs the message was that there exist these mystical signs or indications of future events, and you should embrace the mystical, or even religious, matters in life and have faith that everything happens for a mystical reason.

** WARNING -- PLOT SPOILERS BELOW**

The message of The Village is even more heinous and shows that Shyamalan is a truly sinister moviemaker. The Village tells us that when the mystical or supernatural does not reveal itself to us, then man must fabricate it himself and impose it upon others through force and fear, through deceit and dogma, because that is how to create and maintain the ideal moral society. Without force, fear, deceit, dogma, and the necessary faith and innocence, the society will turn to sin and the world into an unlivable hell. Without the fear of the monsters, the villagers would venture into the forest and learn about the outside world. Then the world would destroy their peaceful lives. Thus, for their own good, the villagers must be kept ignorant of the truth, and their minds must be conditioned with lies and fears.

Shyamalan tells us that ignorance of the world keeps people pure and moral. Aside from the obvious attempts to prevent people from going to the towns, notice that the one person who is known to repeatedly venture into the forest ends up going nuts and tries to kill the heroes. Also, the blind heroine, who cannot even see the village, is the best among the villagers. This is a classical use of blindness of the world as a virtue. The Elders, who can see and do know the truth about the world, are all deceitful conspirators who would watch their own children die before returning to the towns.

It was hard to overlook such a monumentally evil theme and stupid plot and concentrate on any value to this film. Afterall, The Village was run by a bunch of immature terrorists, and there was no hope in the end that the evil would be stopped--only that it would continue indefinitely. Notice that the heroine would rather maintain the secret about the monsters than tell her two fearful escorts the truth in the forest. She would rather risk her own life and the life of her lover than give up the dishonest secret of the village. That is pure sacrifice for dogma.

The only redeeming quality of the movie was the acting of the two lovebirds. The love story, itself, was pretty flimsy, almost wholly dependent on the superficial Christian-like view of courage, which is probably the only thing that anyone could find mildly attractive in such a place.

Anyway, thumbs down for me. And that is the last time I pay to see a Shyamalan movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading the description of the events of "The Village" by those who think it has an evil theme and a stupid plot, I'm glad I didn't see it.

Instead, I saw a movie with the same name by the same writer/director that had different events, nothing at all mystical going on, an ingenious plot cleverly revealed, in which those with a malevolent view of the world began to realize the error or their ways and those who were benevolent, innocent, and willing to fight for their highest values won in the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I pretty much agree with this post. However, I think that Shyamalan does know what he is doing. His plots may or may not stand up to scrutiny, but that is not his focus. It is more important that he properly convey his mystical or religious messages. Therefore, he will sacrifice plot integrity as long as the message remains in tact.

In Sixth Sense and Unbreakable the message was that everyone has a mystical fate-like purpose in life, and you will remain unhappy or frustrated until you understand your destiny and achieve it.

In Signs the message was that there exist these mystical signs or indications of future events, and you should embrace the mystical, or even religious, matters in life and have faith that everything happens for a mystical reason.

** WARNING -- PLOT SPOILERS BELOW**

The message of The Village is even more heinous and shows that Shyamalan is a truly sinister moviemaker. The Village tells us that when the mystical or supernatural does not reveal itself to us, then man must fabricate it himself and impose it upon others through force and fear, through deceit and dogma, because that is how to create and maintain the ideal moral society. Without force, fear, deceit, dogma, and the necessary faith and innocence, the society will turn to sin and the world into an unlivable hell. Without the fear of the monsters, the villagers would venture into the forest and learn about the outside world. Then the world would destroy their peaceful lives. Thus, for their own good, the villagers must be kept ignorant of the truth, and their minds must be conditioned with lies and fears.

Shyamalan tells us that ignorance of the world keeps people pure and moral. Aside from the obvious attempts to prevent people from going to the towns, notice that the one person who is known to repeatedly venture into the forest ends up going nuts and tries to kill the heroes. Also, the blind heroine, who cannot even see the village, is the best among the villagers. This is a classical use of blindness of the world as a virtue. The Elders, who can see and do know the truth about the world, are all deceitful conspirators who would watch their own children die before returning to the towns.

It was hard to overlook such a monumentally evil theme and stupid plot and concentrate on any value to this film. Afterall, The Village was run by a bunch of immature terrorists, and there was no hope in the end that the evil would be stopped--only that it would continue indefinitely. Notice that the heroine would rather maintain the secret about the monsters than tell her two fearful escorts the truth in the forest. She would rather risk her own life and the life of her lover than give up the dishonest secret of the village. That is pure sacrifice for dogma.

The only redeeming quality of the movie was the acting of the two lovebirds. The love story, itself, was pretty flimsy, almost wholly dependent on the superficial Christian-like view of courage, which is probably the only thing that anyone could find mildly attractive in such a place.

Anyway, thumbs down for me. And that is the last time I pay to see a Shyamalan movie.

******* SPOILER POST *****************

Mr. Swig's post just about sums it up. I believe Shyamalan is very talented but his work has serious philosophical problems. While I considered Unbreakable philosophically bad, I still thought it was the most original work released that year. I hated Signs absolutely and struggled through The Village. I mean, come on, the dialogue was awful. Yes, I know the dialogue was logically bad because it was contrived by the anachronistic "settlers," but that kind of naturalist gimmick for 2 hours straight??? And then, sometimes I couldn't even make out what they were saying.

Also, there is a really dishonest switch he uses in order to make you believe in Phoenix's character's heroism. Phoenix is heroic because he wants to leave the village and is curious about what lies beyond. Although Shyamalan tries to cloak this in altruism (Phoenix says he needs to go get medicine for the psychopath), the message is rather clear: Phoenix wants out.

So, to have Phoenix's heroine now leave the village only to return is a betrayal of Phoenix in a sense. If he'd been aware of her journey and had a way of reaching her, he'd probably have yelled, "Hey! Don't come back here! Save yourself."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read Misterswig's review and I would say that his points are valid. I read Betsy's reply and I can also see why she thinks this. Its interesting here that MisterSwig is profoundly anti-Bush and Betsy is much more forgiving of the President. Betsy is stressing the positive and MisterSwig is using a much stricter standard of rational/Objectivist perfection and virtue.

I have to say that at my present level on the "Objectivist Learning Curve" I am torn between both approaches. I saw The Village and I hated it for all the reasons that MisterSwig gave *but* I did see the reasons why a person of Betsy's predisposition would like it. I wasn't able to see this 4 or 5 years ago.

And this is the problem I have in making evaluations; from everything to movies to political candidates to historical figures; ie how to properly weigh all the various elements to come to a rational evaluation. I have no peace with this subject. I tend to be more forgiving of Bush and the Republicans and an absolute 'hardass' when it comes to movies and art. If it doesn't have a "Galt-like or Roark-like" element to it, I blast away. And heaven forbid there is some explicit philosophical errors; no mercy. But at least I am able to see a different way of evaluation.

Hopefully with more maturity and study I'll have less problems with this, but for now I really suffer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd like to start by thanking Stephen for starting this thread - it is the reason I decided to see The Village. My emotional reaction at this point (almost exactly 1 hour after the end) is positive. This is the first of Shyamalan's films I have seen, and now I want to see more. I would compare my feeling right now to the way I felt after finishing the first Robert B. Parker novel I read - "I'm so happy that there are lots more books by this writer for me to read and enjoy!"

I did not see any major problems with the plot. Although many things were not explicitly explained - the "memory boxes", yellow flags, the painting on the rock, the "bad color" - I was able to infer their meaning from the events in the movie. The motivation of the elders was also clear to me. They wanted to escape from what they saw as a malevolent world that had already destroyed much that was dear to them.

One specific moment that stuck out to me: I loved how Ivy used her mind to defeat the creature chasing her in the woods. Those of you who have seen the movie know what I mean, and if you haven't seen it, I won't spoil the scene for you. :(

Well, that's all for now. I will probably come up with more thoughts on this after a day or so. And I may see it again, with a date next time.

-- Chumley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...The message of The Village is even more heinous and shows that Shyamalan is a truly sinister moviemaker. The Village tells us that when the mystical or supernatural does not reveal itself to us, then man must fabricate it himself and impose it upon others through force and fear, through deceit and dogma, because that is how to create and maintain the ideal moral society. Without force, fear, deceit, dogma, and the necessary faith and innocence, the society will turn to sin and the world into an unlivable hell. Without the fear of the monsters, the villagers would venture into the forest and learn about the outside world. Then the world would destroy their peaceful lives. Thus, for their own good, the villagers must be kept ignorant of the truth, and their minds must be conditioned with lies and fears...

What are you talking about? How did you get that message out of this movie? The mysticism of the elders turned out to be a fairy tale, and they were shown to be severely mistaken at best and malicious at worst. He was not advocating this village as a good thing, and I can't imagine how you got that idea. The message of the film was exactly the opposite of what you attribute to it on almost every point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...the dialogue was awful.  Yes, I know the dialogue was logically bad because it was contrived by the anachronistic "settlers," but that kind of naturalist gimmick for 2 hours straight???    And then, sometimes I couldn't even make out what they were saying.

I thought the dialogue was great. It certainly wasn't "naturalistic." Some of the best dialogue was between Lucius and Ivy in the scene on her porch.

Also, there is a really dishonest switch he uses in order to make you believe in Phoenix's character's heroism.  Phoenix is heroic because he wants to leave the village and is curious about what lies beyond.  Although Shyamalan tries to cloak this in altruism (Phoenix says he needs to go get medicine for the psychopath), the message is rather clear: Phoenix wants out.

So, to have Phoenix's heroine now leave the village only to return is a betrayal of Phoenix in a sense.  If he'd been aware of her journey and had a way of reaching her, he'd probably have yelled,  "Hey! Don't come back here! Save yourself."

That's ridiculous. She doesn't want a life outside of the village without him. But now that she's saved him, the two of them are clearly not going to remain in the village forever. How is it supposed to be a betrayal of him to save his life, so that they can leave together at a future time?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There ARE two different versions of "The Village"! The events in the one I saw were quite different than reported here.

**** SPOILERS ********************

So, to have Phoenix's heroine now leave the village only to return is a betrayal of Phoenix in a sense.  If he'd been aware of her journey and had a way of reaching her, he'd probably have yelled,  "Hey! Don't come back here! Save yourself."

In "The Village" I saw, the heroine is desperately in love with the hero (Phoenix) and he will die unless she leaves the village to get him medicine and brings it back to him. It is her loyalty to him that brings her back with the medicine. After that, they will have the option of leaving or staying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd like to start by thanking Stephen for starting this thread - it is the reason I decided to see The Village. My emotional reaction at this point (almost exactly 1 hour after the end) is positive. This is the first of Shyamalan's films I have seen, and now I want to see more.

I think that by far the best film Shyamalan has created is Unbreakable. The story is a dramatic masterpiece and the acting is superb. The movie is so well-integrated that I simply cannot imagine taking out a single word or moment of action from the film.

Don't read any spoilers about that movie, and don't pay any attention to the naysayers here, just rent or buy Unbreakable and tell us what you think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

***** SPOILER POST *****************

I thought the dialogue was great.  It certainly wasn't "naturalistic."  Some of the best dialogue was between Lucius and Ivy in the scene on her porch.

The lines on the porch weren't special, and I'm talking about those I could make out. They gave each other meaningful looks and it was an emotional scene, but the dialogue made execution much more difficult for the actors.

That's ridiculous.  She doesn't want a life outside of the village without him.  But now that she's saved him, the two of them are clearly not going to remain in the village forever.  How is it supposed to be a betrayal of him to save his life, so that they can leave together at a future time?

In the final scene with his fellow elders, William Hurt's character (who, if I remember correctly, was a university professor in the real world) summarizes Shyamalan's philosophy with his observation that, if Ivy returns, it'll mean the village was worth protecting and preserving. If not, not. She returns; ergo, the terrible village is worth preserving.

I don't understand how anyone can fail to see the malevolence of the universe Shyamalan painted. These village adults were aware of the full context, knowing that any of them could have gone to the city to get medicine for the dying Phoenix (and still retained the secret of the village if that was the big concern). Yet, knowing fully well the physical danger of the forest and that there was a psychopath on the loose, they let a blind girl risk her life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And this is the problem I have in making evaluations; from everything to movies to political candidates to historical figures; ie how to properly weigh all the various elements to come to a rational evaluation. I have no peace with this subject.

Evaluating people is the most difficult intellectual task there is and the most inherently error prone. The reason is that we cannot read any else's mind but our own and we have to INFER the essentials (other people's psycho-epistemology and motivation) from insufficient evidence -- their observed actions. That's how a genius like Ayn Rand could be deceived by people like the Brandens.

I tend to be more forgiving of Bush and the Republicans and an absolute 'hardass' when it comes to movies and art. If it doesn't have a "Galt-like or Roark-like" element to it, I blast away. And heaven forbid there is some explicit philosophical errors; no mercy. But at least I am able to see a different way of evaluation.

When it comes to art, unless you are a professional artist or art critic, treat art as it was meant to be treated: as an end in itself. Go to art for entertainment. Look for things to enjoy. Get INTO the book or the movie and experience it and save the evaluations for AFTERWARDS.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of a work of art (including literature, i.e., fiction), is that it serves no practical, material end, but is an end in itself; it serves no purpose other than contemplation-and the pleasure of that contemplation is so intense, so deeply personal that a man experiences it as a self-sufficient, self-justifying primary...

Test: do you enjoy a book or play for its own sake?—or do you "enjoy" it as a means to an end, the end being that self-conscious sense of acquiring some virtue from it? Joy is an end in itself. My pattern of enjoyment is: I'm good, and if this thing has given me enjoyment, then it is good. Their pattern is: I'm no good and if this thing has made me better, then it is good.

Hopefully with more maturity and study I'll have less problems with this, but for now I really suffer.

Don't suffer. Just do your honest best. As you go on in life you will learn more about yourself and other men, gain a wider context, and elaborate your own hierarchy of values, but all along the way you can make the most of what you do know.

Stay FACT CENTERED. "What have I seen this person do or say that makes me like or distrust him?" "What is it in the story that I loved that makes me want to read that novel again?"

Above all, SEEK VALUES. Look for people you can love, respect, and admire. Look for art that delights and inspires you. If you find bad things along the way, avoid them or deal with them as necessary, but don't make evil a major focus in your life.

The difference between seeking values and looking for things to condemn is the difference between being moral and being moralistic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There ARE two different versions of "The Village"!  The events in the one I saw were quite different than reported here.

****  SPOILERS ********************

In "The Village" I saw, the heroine is desperately in love with the hero (Phoenix) and he will die unless she leaves the village to get him medicine and brings it back to him.  It is her loyalty to him that brings her back with the medicine.  After that, they will have the option of leaving or staying.

True, this is a possibility. But I don't think it's the intention of the filmmaker. You might be projecting your own view of what should happen onto Shyamalan's work.

In fact, in Shyamalan's cameo, the newspaper he was reading had nothing but bad news on the page we could see. Is that truly how the real world is? In America? Gimme a break.

Having lived under dictatorships where you are so oppressed that you begin to believe that freedom is an aspect of the afterlife or exists only in an alternate reality, it is really disheartening to see people like Shyamalan who should know better - I've read that his parents are immigrants from India and he himself was born there - salute this mystic-altruist view of life.

I mean, what was the village if not a communist-environmentalist enclave?

And, in that respect, we have Shyamalan to thank for one thing: he's shown us where the today's philosophy professors will take us if we listen to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I read Misterswig's review and I would say that his points are valid. I read Betsy's reply and I can also see why she thinks this. Its interesting here that MisterSwig is profoundly anti-Bush and Betsy is much more forgiving of the President. Betsy is stressing the positive and MisterSwig is using a much stricter standard of rational/Objectivist perfection and virtue.

I have to say that at my present level on the "Objectivist Learning Curve" I am torn between both approaches. I saw The Village and I hated it for all the reasons that MisterSwig gave *but* I did see the reasons why a person of Betsy's predisposition would like it. I wasn't able to see this 4 or 5 years ago.

And this is the problem I have in making evaluations; from everything to movies to political candidates to historical figures; ie how to properly weigh all the various elements to come to a rational evaluation. I have no peace with this subject. I tend to be more forgiving of Bush and the Republicans and an absolute 'hardass' when it comes to movies and art. If it doesn't have a "Galt-like or Roark-like" element to it, I blast away. And heaven forbid there is some explicit philosophical errors; no mercy. But at least I am able to see a different way of evaluation.

Hopefully with more maturity and study I'll have less problems with this, but for now I really suffer.

Argive99:

I want to add to what Mrs. Speicher wrote and advise that you get a copy of Leonard Peikoff's "Judging, Feeling, and Not Being Moralistic." I had avoided getting this set for years now, thinking that I was more an empiricistic Objectivist, as opposed to the rationalistic Objectivist, which is more commonly the case. I've found though that many mistakes I've made in my fours years in Objectivism could've been avoided had I bought this set much earlier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In fact, in Shyamalan's cameo, the newspaper he was reading had nothing but bad news on the page we could see.  Is that truly how the real world is?

That is a good example of one of the little touches in the film underscoring the theme. What makes this a very good film esthetically is that EVERYTHING in it integrates to, and underscores, the essential theme.

What makes it a good film, philosophically, is that it deals with an important moral theme -- The clash between those who are motivated by love and values (heroes Lucius and Ivy) versus those who are motivated by fear (everybody else) -- and the heroes take the right side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Argive99:

I want to add to what Mrs. Speicher wrote and advise that you get a copy of Leonard Peikoff's "Judging, Feeling, and Not Being Moralistic."  I had avoided getting this set for years now, thinking that I was more an empiricistic Objectivist, as opposed to the rationalistic Objectivist, which is more commonly the case.  I've found though that many mistakes I've made in my fours years in Objectivism could've been avoided had I bought this set much earlier.

Thanks for suggestion Zeus. I appreciate it. I'm off to the Ayn Rand Bookstore...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I mean, what was the village if not a communist-environmentalist enclave?

Jeez. I'd hate to see what you thought of Hobbiton in The Lord of the Rings. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jeez. I'd hate to see what you thought of Hobbiton in The Lord of the Rings.

if i remember correctly bilbo spent a fortune on his birthday party, it wasnt given to him because he needed it. it may not be a capitalist paradise but i wouldnt call it communist either :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That is a good example of one of the little touches in the film underscoring the theme. What makes this a very good film esthetically is that EVERYTHING in it integrates to, and underscores, the essential theme.

What makes it a good film, philosophically, is that it deals with an important moral theme -- The clash between those who are motivated by love and values (heroes Lucius and Ivy) versus those who are motivated by fear (everybody else) -- and the heroes take the right side.

Mrs. Speicher,

Please do not take my late response as agreement with your position. I'm experiencing some problems with my internet connection at home, and it's not comfortable to respond from work.

All in good time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mrs. Speicher,

Please do not take my late response as agreement with your position. 

I don't, nor should anyone else. Most arguments get to the point where each side has stated their opinions and reason and there isn't much to add even though they still disagree.

Even when there is still more to say, people have busy lives and responding on OO.net may not always be a high priority. (I know because I am facing my end-of-month CyberNet deadline and may cut out for a few days.)

Also, brilliant counter-arguments may take some time to formulate. Whether it takes an hour or a day or a month, a poster should feel free to add thoughts to any open topic at any time he chooses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is the one criticism of this film that I just can't understand.  What twist ending?  There wasn't much of a "twist" at the end, and I don't think there was supposed to be.  So what?  Do people just expect the movie to have a twist ending because it was directed by the guy who did The Sixth Sense, and then are disappointed that it's not the exact same damn movie?  I just don't get it.  <ahttp://forum.objectivismonline.com/uploads/emoticons/default_blush.png' alt=':blush:'>

The were two twists. (Highlight to read explanation:)

1. That the monsters weren't real.

2. That the world outside of the village was in fact our world. We were supposed to think that it was more advanced than the world of the village, but we weren't supposed to expect an SUV and penicillin. The contents of the locked chests are revealed at the exact same moment as we see the blinking lights of the utility vehicle. I considered the possibility that this wasn't supposed to be a twist, but unfortunately I'm sure it was.

I think both were handled poorly, this is not my major problem with the film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The were two twists. (Highlight to read explanation:)

1. That the monsters weren't real.

2. That the world outside of the village was in fact our world. We were supposed to think that it was more advanced than the world of the village, but we weren't supposed to expect an SUV and penicillin. The contents of the locked chests are revealed at the exact same moment as we see the blinking lights of the utility vehicle. I considered the possibility that this wasn't supposed to be a twist, but unfortunately I'm sure it was.

I think both were handled poorly, this is not my major problem with the film.

I assumed both of these things from the beginning of the movie, and it did not negatively impact my enjoyment of it. But perhaps you're right that there is some reason to think that these were meant to be twists. If so, then they were very poorly handled. But in any case, they were not the focus of the film and I still liked it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't, nor should anyone else.  Most arguments get to the point where each side has stated their opinions and reason and there isn't much to add even though they still disagree.

Even when there is still more to say, people have busy lives and responding on OO.net may not always be a high priority.  (I know because I am facing my end-of-month CyberNet deadline and may cut out for a few days.)

Also, brilliant counter-arguments may take some time to formulate.  Whether it takes an hour or a day or a month, a poster should feel free to add thoughts to any open topic at any time he chooses.

I'm glad you understand. However, in this case, it's not for lack of interest or money or ready supporting arguments that I'm being delayed. The COMCAST service in my county is experiencing problems. There's even a recorded message on their helpline to that effect.

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...