Signs

I like the movie Signs. I do. I truly, really do. But whenever I try to talk to people about it, it’s like everyone can’t help but point out the ending to me… trying to beat me over the goddamn head with it.

Yes, the aliens were defeated with water. Yes, water was their weakness. And no, it wasn’t stupid for them to go to a planet full of water.

As you can tell, I’m fairly flabbergasted at all the hate directed toward the movie. Hell, how everything was directed at one specific part. It’s sad because they are missing the true beauty of the movie.

Symbolism

Nearly everything in the movie came together flawlessly at the end. Graham Hesss struggle with his faith. His wife’s, Colleen’s, cryptic dying words. Merrill’s powerful swings. Morgan’s asthma. Bo leaving water everywhere. Ray falling asleep at the wheel. Earlier in the movie other types of signs appeared. Like signs the aliens were near: crop circles and lights. Through the symbols, everything is explained.

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I liked that.

The soundtrack to this movie was subtle, yet powerful. When I watched this movie, I didn’t notice the music until it was gone. The silences were incredibly pronounced, filled with tension. The decision Shyamalan made to not show the whole alien in focus until the end was genius. Not seeing the aliens made them so much more frightening and powerful.

And there were genuinely frightening moments in the movie… the film footage of the birthday party. That scared the hell out of me. You can’t claim you didn’t jump when that alien walked past. Joaquin Phoenix made that scene work by jumping back the second that alien appeared. Or the baby monitor going off and they all were trying to get a better signal for it. Or when they were looking at the book, seeing a picture of a burning farm that looked like their home with dead bodies on the lawn that looked like them. That was a tense scene. Or heck, while they were in the basement and the alien hand grabbed Morgan. The effects were kept to a bare minimum. Shyamalan let the story and environment carry the horror… and dear lord, it worked so well.

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Now here’s what I don’t like.

People keep on pointing out what they feel is a huge flaw in the movie. Water. People love pointing out that the water seems lethal to the aliens. Why would they go to a planet full of the stuff that hurts and/or kills them? It seems like a giant flaw.

It’s not a flaw. Let me create a scenario for you so you can understand what the aliens were going through. Imagine that you are stuck at Chernobyl at the height of the radiation. Heck, let’s imagine that the radiation is so bad, it will probably kill you if you’re exposed to it longer than a couple hours. It’ll hurt like hell if you are exposed to it for less period of time, but that’s tolerable. And… you’re hungry. No.. you are starving. And there’s a cheeseburger outside of your radiation shelter. Do you run out to get it?

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Hell yes you will.

This is why the aliens picked Earth. They eat living beings like humans to survive. Do you think the galaxy is magically populated with beings like humans? I’d assume no. And speaking of which, did you know that our solar system is located in a part of the Milky Way that’s not very populated? Seriously, it’s not. The closest star is around four light years away. Most of the other stars around us are between 10 and 25 light years away. We’re pretty isolated. So for these aliens to come to us, and it’s one hell of a long trip, it’s safe to assume a sort of Chernobyl situation where they are just too hungry to give a damn about the environment being hazardous.

As for why aren’t they wearing some sort of hazard suit. Well, I can only go with what the movie is showing. They can breath the air. They seem to be able to tolerate the temperature. They use camouflage and are fast as hell, so they use hit and run tactics rather than wage a full-out assault. They don’t bleed, so conventional attacks like bullets won’t really cause them much problems unless you hit a vital area. They certainly aren’t any stronger than a normal human being. Though people do raise an interesting point about a suit being helpful to them because water hurts them, I think a reasonable case can be made that they didn’t need the suits. They waged a hit and run attack, falling back when a successful counterattack could be waged. They aren’t fighters. They can be dismembered and bludgeoned, though bullets don’t seem to work on them as well as can be hoped for (though I suspect it’s hard as hell to get a good bead on them). They need to be able to move fast and have access to their camouflage. They can tolerate a little pain from the humidity in the atmosphere if it’ll guarantee them a meal.

So guys, will you PLEASE drop the pointless protests about the water already? I’m positive that alien was wishing he was wearing a suit when that water was being splashed on him. Though for the water killing him? I think it was a combination of the water and being beaten to death with a baseball bat.

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We’re getting close to Halloween and you have to watch horror movies. Why not take another look at this one? You never know… you might just like it.

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