My problem with M. Night has less to do with his movies (although I have not seen Lady In The Water) and a lot more to do with the man. Ego bothers me. It generally bothers everyone, but I believe that it bothers me even more so than the Average Joe. I'm more forgiving of ego when there's talent to back it up. But ego that far outweighs talent really, really bothers me. And that is my problem with M. Night Shyamalan. His falling out with Disney is now infamous and may or may not have cost Excecutive Nina Jacobsen her job because she dared to request changes on his Lady In The Water script. I can only hope that she got the last laugh when the final film was delivered.
Not unlike the Bret Ratners' and Michael Bays' of the world, M. Night has confused box office success with true talent. He was quoted as saying "except for Pixar, I have made the four most successful original movies in a row of all time." No doubt the guy can write and direct but he's certainly not the second coming in the filmmaking world. Take for example that M. Night was 29 years old when he made The Sixth Sense. Now compare that with Steven Soderbergh who was 26 when he wrote and directed Sex, Lies and Videotape or P.T. Anderson who was 28 when he wrote and directed Boogie Nights. When you start to compare the career of M. Night with those two, you start to get a sense of how average he really is.
I will say that M. Night's best work would have to be in his most forgotten film, Unbreakable. A character study comic book movie long before Sam Raimi, Christopher Nolan and Jon Favreau made it hip to examine the man behind the mask. And I did enjoy Signs, but my enjoyment of most of his movies has always been that of a really good made for TV movie. If I happen upon it, I'll sit and watch it - but I wouldn't seek it out otherwise. The fact that M. Night has been running from the label of "films with a twist" most of his career only shows that he hasn't given his audience any reason not to give him any other title. So in effect, he's a gimmick rather than a real artist.
Now he is going to deliver The Happening on Friday, which I can only assume was once the working title Green Planet, which he had a hard time selling to a studio. From the interviews of the actors, you can feel that past failures have done nothing to rock M. Night's confidence. Mark Wahlberg was quoted as saying that "M. Night is going to make it (his film) one way. Without concession." I don't know, maybe it's time for M. Night to do a little conceding.