After a big disappointment on seeing "Click" on Monday (Oh. My. God. No more American Comedies anymore, no more Romantic Comedies, no more pure Romances, no more Horror or Drama. It's all just too bad.) I was heavily reconsidering if I should go and see a film again today. Negative cinema experiences always make me very reluctant to see another film anytime soon.
I'm glad I did go and see 'Lady in the Water' today, though.
I understand that most people are disappointed by the film. I also understand that this is mostly due to the fact that they expected something else - a horror film. Yes, if you're misinformed and want a horror film instead of a fantasy/fairytale then you won't be very happy (on the other hand, if I had judged the film solely by the trailer I'd have expected more horror as well, and wouldn't have watched it at all because of that). It's a shame that the trailer didn't highlight the strength of the film, namely the beautiful, bedtime-story quality which reminded me of Peter S. Beagle's "The Innkeeper's Song". I'm undecided of whether I like the book or not, and the film stands in a similar position. The pacing is slow, especially in the first half of the film before more action settles in. If you expect Fantasy special effects you're in the wrong film. It's all realistic - which I like. I was delighted to see healing/resurrection without blue sparkles and blinding light. That was wonderful.
You can also see that obvious CG was only used when it was absolutely necessary, i.e. for the fantasy animals (the hyena/wolf type creature, the apes and the giant eagle). The advantage being that these creatures were well done and did not have the typical CG look.
The story is slightly predictable (as fairytales typically are), but in a nice way. You expect something to happen, but are not 100% sure, so when it happens you get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. In the end, the film comes down to the character and their actions, and what they are willing to do and sacrifice. The film begins with one lonely person and ends with many people working together. Seeing this is the ultimate joy of the film.
It's a beautiful film. Probably not one that I would watch twice or buy on DVD, but one that made me happy and urged me to keep sitting until the credits were over and I was forced to leave. A film that has atmosphere and conveys feeling for more than 110 minutes, if you let it.