Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Signs



I borrowed Signs from Jason and Shannon on Sunday - WOW!
I had forgotten how good this movie was. If you've been reading my blog lately, you'll have noticed how I've become obsessed with movies that have characters that feel real in it. That is one of the reasons that I love Signs - it's about a real family.

Signs is M. Night Shyamalan's take on what would happen if our world were actually invaded by extraterrestrials. How would people react to that? Shyamalan takes original ideas and works them until they're a great movie. Signs may be my favorite.
Graham Hess is a former Episcopal priest that has lost his faith in God after a car accident in which his wife died. He lives with his two kids, Morgan (who has a bad asthma condition) and Bo, who has a 'thing' about how her water tastes.
His brother Merrill also lives with them. (Merrill has five minor league baseball records.)
I love the way the characters are introduced. All we know is that is (or was once) a nice family, when the camera opens up on a picture of Graham, his wife, Colleen, and Morgan and Bo.
Graham wakes up and feels that something isn't quite right and then hears screams.
Then Merrill wakes up and falls of the bed. I can't get over the way that works - so easy and so effective. There aren't any introductions to these characters except for that picture, and then they go running through the corn stalks (and thus get the idea - or fact, really - that they live on a farm) to find Morgan and Bo.
I like how he didn't try to incorporate a bunch of their history right at the beginning. We find that out later, but for now knowing that there is just the four of them there is enough. I also like how he did the crop circle right at the beginning. This sets the story in motion.
Signs is so great because it is like an old movie in that you don't see the creature very clearly for very long. All you see are shapes and a few images. Nice. We don't know what this thing looks like....so we imagine it. Plus, at the beginning of the movie, the theme of the song (a three note motif that is repeated all throughout the movie - in the scary parts, sad parts, happy parts......) starts playing while they roll the credits. Kind of like old movies.
I love how everything in it is there for a reason - Bo's little quirk about her water, Morgan's asthma, Merrill's strike-out record. It all works together to save this family and restore their faith. That's why I like Signs - real people and an amazing plot that is well put together - one of the best I've seen in a movie or a book.
The Village or Lady in the Water would be my next favorite. Signs is better because it's about people that we can relate to. The music is also so beautiful (and creepy, and spooky, and......)
If you haven't seen it, then you should. These things are fun and fun is good. :)
Really though......I can't get over how good it is.
Anna

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