This is topic Shyamalan movies in forum Discussions About Orson Scott Card at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by lynn johnson (Member # 9620) on :
I just rented The Village; then I read OSC's comments from '04. He believes Shyalaman lifted the story from a book by Haddix, _Running out of time_. Very disturbing. I am going to get the book from the library, but in the past, OSC has been reliable.

He then suggests that _sixth sense_ was likely lifted from his _lost boys_ book. I read the Wikipedia entry and this plagerism issue wasn't discussed.

Any comments? Is _lady in the water_ adapted or lifted without attribution? What about _unbreakable_? The idea of such a director claiming credit instead of properly acknowledging his sources("written, produced, directed by M. Night Shyamalan") is very upsetting, since I liked his work. Haven't seen Lady in the Water yet.
Posted by Morbo (Member # 5309) on :
Welcome, Lynn! [Wave]

I liked The Sixth Sense, and it doesn't seem to me to be plagarized from Lost Boys.

However, after watching Signs recently, I don't think I'll bother with any more Shyamalan films. I thought that was one of the worst films I've seen in many years. The whole premise is just beyond silly--alien invaders would use hand-to-hand tactics? [Roll Eyes] Barf.
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
He then suggests that _sixth sense_ was likely lifted from his _lost boys_ book. I read the Wikipedia entry and this plagerism issue wasn't discussed.
Correction: even if he did lift his story from Lost Boys (which I don't believe), it would not be plagarism.
Posted by BaoQingTian (Member # 8775) on :
No kidding, invading aliens should only be allowed to use super powered ray guns or phasors set on stun.

Maybe the presence of water in the air rendered their weaponry useless [Wink]
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
People are different I guess, I LOVE Signs, and I bought the DVD because I love it so much. I never get tired of watching it.

Then again remember the logic that they would use hand to hand tactics was only suggested in a certain science fiction book by a random guy. I am sure you could come up with a perfectly plausible reason as to why they used hand to hand.

Maybe they are a hunter race like the movie Predator and they consider the use of hand to hand combat as the best expression of whatever their terms for "masculinity" is.
Posted by CRash (Member # 7754) on :
Now that I think about it, Running Out of Time is somewhat similar to The Village... but only the milieu concept. They go in completely different directions. I don't think Shyamalan took the story from it; the one shared aspect is broad enough and simple enough that both he and Haddix could have come up with it independently.

*Spoiler for both Village and Running Out of Time*

The idea of a throwback society/village that pretends the outside world doesn't exist is hardly a unique concept, IMO.
Posted by Icarus (Member # 3162) on :
I think the ill-thought-out parts like that certainly hurt the movie, but ultimately, I thought it wasn't a movie about an alien invasion. I thought it was a movie about one's relationship with God, and the internal struggle when one wants to believe but has some obstacle to that faith. *shrug* Maybe it's just because I felt like it spoke to what I was going through in my life, but I found Signs very powerful, despite the silly aliens and the holes in the story.

I wrote a lengthy, spoiler-laden post comparing The Village and Running Out of Time here:;f=1;t=002455;p=2&r=nfx#000053

I tried to look closely at this issue from both sides, so if you read it, I hope you will find it informative.
Posted by Irami Osei-Frimpong (Member # 2229) on :
I like all of his movies. I think Unbreakable was my favorite, followed by Lady in Water.
Posted by stihl1 (Member # 1562) on :
Unbreakable is one of my most favorite-est movies ever. Signs was great as well. The Village wasn't quite as good. Sixth sense was good the first time through, not so much after. I like all of Shamalamadingdong's movies, they are thinking movies, movies with a lot of subtleties in them. I understand some people don't like those kind of movies, though.

As far as stories being lifted from other stories, I'll only point you toward the classic south park episode 'The Simpsons Did It'. Enough said.
Posted by Will B (Member # 7931) on :
Morebo, I agree with you about Signs -- but I'd say 6th Sense and Lady in the Water are well worth doing.

About lifting something: I read Lost Boys this summer. There was a certain similarity, but it's not in the plot, and it's not in the characters, the setting, or the theme -- it's in the novum, the thing that makes it fantasy. To me, that's like saying any story with alien invaders is a ripoff of War of the Worlds. Same novum, but not at all the same story.

Lady in the Water was odd. I think Shyamalan was saying, my plot is silly and arbitrary -- and that's my point: take your inspiration where you can get it, even in silly arbitrary things. In Signs, I expected a reasonable plot; in Lady, I knew before long I wasn't supposed to. (The characters were reasonable, though.)
Posted by twinky (Member # 693) on :
I liked the Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, but since Signs I haven't gone to see any of his other movies. Blargh. Reading Icarus' post, though, it makes a lot of sense that Signs wouldn't resonate with me. I couldn't identify with that whole "crisis of faith" thing at all; I'm an atheist (though at that time I was an agnostic). Since I found the movie's main theme completely uncompelling, the obvious plot contrivances made the last 45 minutes or so seem very silly to me.
Posted by JennaDean (Member # 8816) on :
Wow, I hadn't read OSC's review before. Uh ... possible SPOILERS for those who haven't read Lost Boys or seen Sixth Sense.

I knew he had said Lost Boys could never be filmed because of Sixth Sense, but I had never heard him actually accusing them of stealing his story and changing it enough to not have to credit him with it. I never, ever thought they were the same story at ALL. The twist is similar, but that's the only similarity. He's saying no one else could come up with that one on their own?

And as he's said before, you can't copyright ideas. The fact that Lost Boys and Sixth Sense share ONE idea is like all romance movies sharing one idea: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back.

I understand being upset because the twist is so important that now it can't be done again. But even if Shyamalan did get the idea from Lost Boys, it's a completely different story.
Posted by Irregardless (Member # 8529) on :
I like both 'Lost Boys' and 'Sixth Sense', but I don't see any lifting of concept.
Posted by pooka (Member # 5003) on :
Some people claim similarities between the Formics of the Enderverse and the aliens in Starship Troopers, to the extent that Card refuses to read ST. Though I'll grant that Card does not posture himself as the great story "creator" that MNS does.
Posted by lynn johnson (Member # 9620) on :
Thanks much for all your comments. It is better than on the Ornery forum where the standard greeting is "Welcome, You Are Wrong."

After reading the plot synopsis on Amazon, I think that OSC may be stretching it a bit. Running Out of Time has the requisite evil scientist and without reading the book, it would be hard for me to understand why people would commit their lives to a weird experiment. I am supposed to live in an 19th century village so a scientist can observe me? What would you learn?
- Life is really hard without electricity
- People have the same issues no matter what year is it

Shyamalan dealt with that motivational issue very well, very convincingly, so I found The Village well done and effective. I was touched by a group of people whose lives have been damaged by contemporary society, and I was touched by William Hurt reframing the death of Noah as redemptive.
Posted by Von (Member # 1146) on :
I'm quite fond of Shayamalan. I highly recommend "Lady in the Water."

What? He lifted The Village? Give me a break.
Posted by B34N (Member # 9597) on :
Originally posted by pooka:
Some people claim similarities between the Formics of the Enderverse and the aliens in Starship Troopers, to the extent that Card refuses to read ST. Though I'll grant that Card does not posture himself as the great story "creator" that MNS does.

I saw ST before I read "Ender's Game" and immediately drew the correlation between the film and the book. I honestly think that a lot of that movie was taken from "Ender's Game." But I have never read the ST book, so I don't know how different the two books are.

On the matter of Shyalaman's films I thnk ever one except for The Village is awesome but I just couldn't get into the Village at all for some reason. Unbreakable is definitely one of my favorites and I agree that Signs really had nothing to do with an alien attack other than they were just in the movie, it is about faith and losing it.
Posted by Kenif (Member # 9629) on :
Nowadays there will always be similarities in many works.
Two people could have similar ideas and portray them in different (or similar) ways and it may look like one copied the other. It does not mean though, that one did copy the other.

As for MNS's movies, I am not a particular fan of Unbreakable (although it is worth a watch) or The Sixth Sense.
I find Signs to be a really poor film. I liked The Village but the twists were obvious from very early on.
Posted by B34N (Member # 9597) on :
Yeah, just about everything takes a little bit from something else that's why you do research to make sure that you aren't completely stealing somehting or breaking any copyright laws. I don't think that ST did anything wrong I just think that a lot of the movie (and I guess book) was taken from EG.

Isnt "Lady in the Water" a bedtime story that MNS made into a movie because his kids told him it would be a great movie? Also have you seen him America Express commercial (at least think it was American Express)? It is great!
Posted by Ecthalion (Member # 8825) on :
i will admit that when thinking of the buggers i had ST in my head. But the book have stories that are nowhere alike. MNS i quite possibly my favorite director, i liked all his movies and think he looks at things from a fairly unique perspective. I think most people expected every movie he made to be a suspensful thriller like 6th sense.
Posted by Sevenar (Member # 9660) on :
Just a side note: Starship Troopers was written in 1959. The movie bears little resemblence to the book, save in the names of the characters. Were Heinlein alive when it came out, he probably would have had Paul Verhoeven's brakes tampered with.

Fans of Ender's Game who have not read ST are really doing themselves a great disservice. ST and Joe Haldeman's somewhat-similarThe Forever War are some of the finest pieces of military science-fiction ever written, and they are both on any list I would give to people that would include EG.

As for OSC lifting ideas, poppycock. Insectoid aliens are older than pulp magazines--and newer than ST/EG. David Gerrold's War Against The Chtorr books featured them as well, for example. (and were a more direct "ripoff" of ST than EG ever was--if memory serves, Gerrold even dedicated one of them to "RAH"--Robert A. Heinlein.)

Posted by lynn johnson (Member # 9620) on :
I saw and liked "Lady in the Water" quite a bit. Clearly Shyamalan (Shamalamadingdong! I laughed out loud; it tempts me to have fun with the name) loves this Bryce woman who was in Village.

If OSC's themes revolve around moral choices, then Shaymoo's theme seems to revolve around alienation and reconciliation. I love the idea of how people are alienated by events (eg, Shammy's running down Mel Gibson's wife, alientating him from Gibson and Gibson from God) and how that becomes part of the solution to a future problem (Giamatti is the healer but without the tragedy of his life, he wouldn't be hiding in a Philly apartment complex, and wouldn't have been there to heal Bryce Dallas Austin Powers Howard Stern). I see that in all of his stories. The kung-fu aliens are just the mcguffin to effect the reconciliation.

Too bad OSC has taken a dislike to Shazamo. I would like to have read his take on Lady.

PS: A friend and I used to debate the Starship Troopers themes when we were in the Army. It is a great army story, and I don't think it influenced the Formics concept in Ender. Sev's idea is correct. And the movie was absolutely awful.
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
Acording to an interview I read with Shyamalan the story behind Lady in the Water was a bed time story he himself came up with for his 2 children.

He eventually came up with a universe he thought was compelling and created a story that weaves into that environment.

Interestingly enough I found Signs and Lady in the Water to be similar in that both dealt with (do you believe things are left to chance, or are there no coincidences?) The twist in Lady in the Water that takes it away from Signs is that they hint that its the story/movie formula that makes the circumstances devoid of coincidence.

I enjoy all of Shyamalans movies, and I was most interested that Shyamalan played such a prominent role in the movie this time. Maybe he is getting egotistical or perhaps since it was his story, he wanted to be a part of it.

Either way I still cross my fingers that he will be handed the directors chair for one of the future Harry Potter movies.

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