An uplifting tale for the ages.
Somewhat pondering in it's pace, I wish this DVD would have had a commentary track.
Lady in the Water is a present day fairy tale brought to life from M. Night Shyamalan. When Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) finds a lady floating in the water of the apartment complex he runs, he has no idea the impact that this is going to have on his life. As he gets to know this mysterious water nymph named Story (Bryce Dallas Howard), Heep and the rest of the dwellers in this eclectic apartment complex realize that they have all been summoned for a greater purpose: to help Story get home. This is easier said than done however as there are monsters and other beings afoot who are trying to do her in. While at times a little too long and somewhat drawn out, Lady in the Water is one those movies that can best be described as inspired.
There are many filmmakers, there are many craftsmen, but Shyamalan is a storyteller as well as a craftsmen and filmmaker. That is the reason why his films stand out and are little more special than other filmmakers.
Edited together in one chunk, do not watch these if you are adverse to poor picture quality and sub par sound. Do you watch them however if you were a big fan of the quiet interplay between Cleveland Heep and Story. These scenes were obviously cut because of their superfluous nature. While I really did like this movie, to have any more moments of expositional discovery from Story would have been beyond redundant. As it is, the scenes they have for us here play really nicely while not being directly a part of this film.
Lady in the Water: A Bedtime Story
M. Night Shyamalan reads from the children's book that came out as a product of this film. We see some of the illustrations and then he explains how this project came together. It was a story he told his kids but the main idea is that it's all about the mystery of what people have in their backyards. As he continues to read from the story, I really got how personal this tale was to him. While it might be flawed in certain ways, it's beauty is that it really has a respect for the human spirit.
Reflections of Lady in the Water
Done in 6 parts, my biggest complaint about this section is that I wish it was more in-depth overall. With titles like "Intro & the Script, " "The Look," and "The Creatures" we are given an insight into this projects gestation period from the early script stages to the final film. We are given insight into the characters, the importance of the locations, and are even given denouement with the final post production segment. I couldn't help but wonder if maybe the children's book of this movie shouldn't have come out first and then maybe this film would have been better received?
Widescreen Version presented in a "matted" widescreen format preserving the aspect ratio of it's original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs. One thing you can expect about an M. Night Shyamalan film is that is going to look good. However, more than any other film of his, this one employs more computer generated special effects while the rest were practical for his other films. Still, there is a very measured quality to this movie and I think that might play better on TV than in the theater.
English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 EX. Close Captioned. The audio for this movie was good but the big stand out was the soundtrack. As the director states in the supplemental features, he likes to kind of keep things quiet as he starts to tell the story, so much so that audiences have to lean to hear what he is saying. Oftentimes, this might make people think that there's less going on than is actually the case. I was very impressed with the sound design on this DVD as I feel it underscores the story quite well.
The front cover of this DVD features the face of Bryce Dallas Howard and the various story elements surrounding her. This looks identical to the one sheet that was utilized when this movie was first released. The back portion features more of the cast from the film, a description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list and technical specs. There is a cardboard, vinyl cover that goes over this case which features the same images and information. The biggest difference is that Howard's eyes move on the removable cover.
I honestly believe that if M. Night Shyamalan had made Lady in the Water as his first film, people would be praising his brilliance. Had The Sixth Sense been his most recent effort he would probably have the same critics deriding his recent filmmaking effort as misguided. You can never tell what the critics are going to do and think. There is no rhyme or reason other than the fact that Shyamalan has been very successful, and nobody likes to build up and destroy success like the press. While I am sure that Shyamalan isn't entirely blameless in regards to Lady in the Water not being a blockbuster success, to ignore the power of the film's message, the great performances, and the way that Shymalan has stretched himself (both behind and in front of the camera) is truly something to marvel at.
Lady in the Water was released July 20, 2006.