There’s no “Swing away, Junior” in this version of “Signs.” Those familiar with M. Night Shyamalan’s 2002 hit or even his 1999 megahit “The Sixth Sense” know how the director/actor is able to lead an audience up to a moment that makes it all worthwhile – makes it all make sense as the layers unfold in the mind in a hurry.I’m still waiting for that moment in “Lady in the Water.” And in a M. Night Shyamalan film, without the answer, there are a lot of questions. Why does everyone in the Cove – a setting we never leave throughout the movie – believe in this “blue world” where the lady comes from? Why do they accept this alternate world they’ve been placed in with creatures unlike those of their own world and a system of laws all its own? I was willing to accept it in anticipation of a sweet intellectual reward. It never came.Shyamalan, who plays the enlightened writer in the flick, is regurgitating a formula that has worked in the past. He affirms life through showing the sometimes dramatic consequences that come of trusting in the universe to get you what you need. Things do fall into place in “Lady in the Water,” but in the context of a bedtime story to whose laws the characters are bound. There’s not quite the same effect to the audience when the magic of the serendipity in our universe happens in a world intermingled with another fable world. We don’t relate as humans to this beautiful phenomenon in a dimension where madam narfs (sea creatures) are hunted by scrunts (hiding land beasts) and are guided by the justice of three monkey-like creatures that live in the trees.It misses the mark. And that’s usually the case when artists try to use the same idea over and over again. They may not know what makes their work so special until they see it fail. Having said that, however, it’s not a hard movie to watch. There is some rich storytelling and, besides being artistically sophisticated, it also has a clean line that seems to end the same place it began, or at least with order restored perfectly. The scary element definitely has been overstated in what I saw in trailers before the movie. In fact, Paul Giamatti is comforting to watch as the kind super of the complex.If there are answers within this film that unlock the mystery of its story, I didn’t get them.Vail, Colorado
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Lindsey Vonn no longer has a home in Vail, but a big piece of her heart will always remain here.