I just saw Lady in the Water... And I'm not sure how to react to it.
I'm going to put this in a spoilers box, just in case... I didn't give away too much... but I do mention things that you might not want to hear about yet.... You've been warned.
M. Night has a bigger cameo in it than his other movies and is a substantial player in the events. That said, he stole the scenes he was in. I think he was the most human character in the film - the rest were stereotyped or bizarre, lower-income minorities in a run-down apartment complex. Shyamalan's character shows real insecurity in his work and the need for a guiding force.
In the end, Lady in the Water's climax is a big - meh. I'm sure something much more clever than a party with a live band could have been cooked up. I don't know if this weak idea was cooked up to show something that these people might've done if these were real events, but since we all know its not real, I'd prefer something a bit more clever. Nevertheless, I was on the edge of my seat when the Narf was on the brink of doom.
Again, I'd like to point out Shyamalan's acting in this film. Its truly one of the main things that truly felt compelling in it. Also, Bryce Dallas Howard's premonitions of the future were compelling. Speaking of Howard, its interesting that she is the title character but isn't really the focus of the film. In fact, I'm not quite sure what the focus was. Is it her? Is it Paul Giamatti's character? Is it M Night's character? I don't know. Maybe we're just supposed to get a message from it: that something in this world needs to change.
I liked M. Night's first two films tremendously: The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were wonderful, to me, and I felt the otherwise cheap, stereotypical Hollywood aliens in Signs were an incredible let down, and despite the texture and feel of The Village, it was a complete laughing stock. Of course, these are my opinions, so it really boils down to your preference.
Lady in the Water isn't scary. I don't believe it was meant to be scary. Its more of a suspense, than anything, I suppose. If you're going to see this film for thrills, don't go. You won't get them, and you'll be incredibly disappointed. I went going in knowing that this wasn't another typical Shyamalan "scary" movie. The creature design is interesting, but nothing spectacular. I wasn't laughing at "dog" creature like I was laughing at the Aliens in Signs or "Those We Don't Speak Of" in The Village. The eagle wasn't cheesy - I was thinking it would come off as totally cheesy/lame like the Eagles in the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, but it was fine. The monkey creatures at the end were kind of laughable though.
Anyway, I went to the 4:15 showing. The theater didn't fill up. Maybe it was still too early in the day. Or maybe after The Village, audiences are bored of Shyamalan's style.
Who knows? But what I do know was that a showing of Pirates of the Caribbean was posted as SOLD OUT when I bought my ticket for Lady. Also, there were lines forming for the next showings of Pirates of the Caribbean when I left the theater. Third weekend in release, and shows are STILL selling out and lines are STILL forming.