LADY IN THE WATER
ZERO STARS/**** Image B+ Sound A Extras B-
starring Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bob Balaban, Jeffrey Wright
written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan
starring Lee Yeong-ae, Choi Min-sik, Kim Shi-hoo, Kwon Yea-young
written and directed by Park Chanwook
by Walter Chaw The creeping, inescapable feeling is that M. Night Shyamalan would like to be known as "M. Christ Shyamalan": a guy who wants you to drink the Kool-Aid; a messiah with a shrinking flock preaching a platform that his increasingly deluded, astonishingly arrogant fables are actually themselves the secret to world peace. He claims to hear voices--the first couple of times he did so (here in the stray interview, there in The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan, that abhorrent mock-documentary he did for the Sci-Fi Channel), I thought he was kidding. Hell, the first couple of times he did it, he probably was kidding. But I don't think he's kidding anymore. And there's no longer any currency in playing this ethereal shaman card. Prancing about like a mystic while shitting away millions of other people's money isn't a pastime with longevity: it's something only a zealot would do. I think he's gone off the deep end, hubris first, overfed to bloating on a steady diet of his own press and the tender ministrations of yes-men too afraid to set off Shyamalan's diseased persecution complex by telling him that while he might be good at a few things, Lady in the Water was unsalvageable. When Disney executives did approximately that, Shyamalan took his ball and went across the street to Warner Brothers.