I recently watched Bride of the Monster again. I love Ed Wood’s movies, he had a great passion. Not much talent or budget, but he tried his best.
I honestly think that M Night Shyamalan is the Ed Wood of this generation. Now and then he does make a good movie. The Six Sense is still very good, even when you know the twist. I love The Village and Signs, both very clever films. Split was very well done, as was Glass.
On the other hand, you have movies like The Knowing, After Earth, The Last Air Bender, and Lady in the Water. There are some massive stinkers in there and this brings me to Old. Is it a hit or a miss?
Old… Is How You Feel Watching This
Old is directed by the man himself and stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wofl, Thomasin McKenzie, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung and Aaron Pierre. It was written for the screen by Shyamalan and based on the graphic novel Sandcastles by Frederick Peeters.
I will start off by saying, this is a miss. A massive miss. A complete and utter miss. A stormtrooper level miss. The plot of the movie is:
A vacationing family discovers that the secluded beach where they’re relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day.
The cast is good, however, the acting is bad. Truly terrible in places. I was in shock, to be honest, at how bad it was. The introduction to Ken Leung’s character was awful as he says his name and what he does and he was completely lifeless. Then, from this point, it just got worse. I can’t imagine what kind of direction Shyamalan gave:
“Just say the lines…yep, that’s fine! On with the next shot.”
Honestly, I didn’t see any signs of direction anywhere, the cast was all dull, uninteresting and therefore I didn’t care about any of them. Neither, it seems, did Shyamalan. Some of the cast die off and that is the last you hear about them.
The story is an interesting one and annoyingly it keeps you watching simply because you want to find out what is going on, but then the third act spoils the entire thing!
The beach is an unexplained phenomenon that has been taken over by a corporation trying to advance science and medicine. I don’t know how the book played out, but this was so disappointing. A better ending would have been that the beach was never explained, but with more engaging characters to relate to.
Not only that but to escape from the beach people have to swim through, I kid you not, a magical ring of coral. This was bloody stupid to begin with. Then it seems anyone can hold their breath for about five minutes and swim through very sharp and dangerous coral which made it even more silly.
Majorly Stupid Plot Details
Everyone on the beach ages about a year with every 30 minutes they are there. So why doesn’t their hair or nails grow? Someone has the bright idea that this is because hair and nails are dead tissue, that’s why they don’t grow.
This is then completely undermined by a body that washes up on the beach and then starts to decomposed and rot. Dead tissue doesn’t age…apart from that dead body over there. I think the explanation about the hair and nails not growing was they couldn’t be bothered with wigs and false nails.
The young lad in the movie, Trent, is 6 years old. As the beach ages him he becomes Alex Wolff and he falls in love with Kara. She ends up pregnant. Now, I get that teenagers are prone to having sex, but Trent was 6! When I was 6 I thought girls were icky and I would pull their pigtails and run away.
There is a throwaway line where Trent and Kara say as they are aging it is altering their minds and how they think, but it didn’t make me feel any better about a 6-year-old boy and a young girl having sex and making a baby together.
Rufus Sewell, who I really like as an actor, is just confusing in this. It turns out his character has schizophrenia. This is a fact I had to learn from Wikipedia since it’s not explained in the movie. At one point, he starts asking about a movie that starred Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando and his wife starts to worry. However we, the audience, don’t know why and nobody ever actually says what the movie was. The Missouri Breaks, by the way. I looked it up.
His wife, Chrystal, disappears for a good 20 minutes during the movie for no reason. I like to think that the actress Abbey Lee managed to escape the compound where Shayamalan had all the actors chained up, but eventually she was recaptured and returned to the set.
Some of the photography was very good in the movie but some of it was just terrible. There was one scene with actors talking that looked like it had been filmed by a blind man who was just pointing the camera in the general direction of the voices.
Some of the shots don’t show the children aging so it’s a mystery to what’s happening to them. A mystery that was fully explained in the trailer, so there was absolutely no need for these shots to play out the way they did in the finished movie.
I was actually shocked at home bad some of the shots were. I have seen a lot better with a lot smaller budget. A real mixed bag as some of the photography was actually really good. This makes the mix jarring.
*End Of Spoilers*
All in all, Old is a terribly made film. It was an original idea and with better execution could have been amazing. It was such a shame.
The one thing that I did like was Thomasin McKenzie in a bikini, but that was it. The rest of the movie was a complete waste of talent, budget and the time in your life you aren’t going to get back after watching it.
I would say watch it out of morbid curiosity but set your expectations low. Very low. If I do watch it again it’ll be because someone has tied me to a chair and is forcing me too.