Having just returned from watching M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening,” I would like to make a few things perfectly clear.
1. I love plants.
2. I have always loved plants and always will love them.
3. It is my foremost goal in life to make the world safe for plants.
4. If it were up to me, I would be a plant.
Anyone who has not yet seen this movie should stop reading now, because I am about to give away the plot. (Brief pause while you turn off your computer.)
Mean and Green
Basically, what happens is that for some unexplainable reason, plants start killing people. Well, actually, the plants don’t do the killing. They simply release a neurotoxin into the air that causes people to act confused and then kill themselves in an awesome variety of gruesome and creative ways.
There is a smidgen of science behind the movie’s premise. Plants can communicate with each other using chemicals. For example, if a forest comes under attack by ravenous caterpillars that devour the leaves, the first trees attacked may release chemicals into the air that are detected by other trees. These trees then pump toxins into their leaves that kill any caterpillars that eat them.
Makes you wonder whether you should eat that head of lettuce, doesn’t it?
Ever since Shyamalans’s first big hit, “The Sixth Sense,” (which was a great flick that should have won the Oscar), his films continue to show the same irritating failing – he can’t figure out how to end them. In “Signs,” an alien civilization with vastly superior technology to ours decides to conquer Earth and is well on its way to doing so when they all suddenly croak. What killed them? Water. They can’t stand water.
Gee, wouldn’t you think that aliens advanced enough to travel faster than the speed of light to get here would know that 70% of the Earth is covered by water? Heck, I learned that in reform school.
Well, in “The Happening,” the attack on people starts in New York City’s Central Park, as the majority of attacks do, and spreads up and down the East Coast from New England to Maryland. Trees exhale, winds blow, and people dispatch themselves by the tens of thousands. The attack goes on for a couple of days and then just as some talking head on the TV predicts using a ridiculous graph he appears to have generated on an Etch-A-Sketch, they reach a peak the next day and then just stop. Just like that.
So how do the authorities respond? By quarantining the area? By developing a vaccine to immunize people against more attacks? By injecting people with chlorophyll so plants will think we’re just like them? No, you silly person! They decide that since the attacks have stopped, they’ll probably never happen again, so everybody can just go home. Sorry all those people killed themselves, but no sense in dwelling on it. Time for school!
Too bad Shyamalan didn’t talk to me before writing this movie. It’s obvious why the trees in Central Park were mad. They loved the free concert given there by Simon & Garfunkel and were tired of waiting for a return engagement.
I’d write more, but the window just blew open and I can’t remember why I’m writing this —