August 11, 2004

It May Take MORE Than A Village

That is, if you believe Simon & Schuster's claim that M. Night Shyamalan ripped off the book Running Out Of Time, by Margaret Peterson Haddix for his latest film, The Village.
Haddix told Reuters that she heard about the similarities last week when when fans — and then journalists — began calling and e-mailing her and her publisher to ask if she had sold the book to Shyamalan. She said she has never spoken to ”The Sixth Sense” director or to Disney.
I haven't read the book, but I looked up the plot several places online. (NOTE: don't do that unless you want to know the ending of The Village. The article I linked to doesn't spoil the ending, but others will.) I'll admit that there are more than a few similarities there, but without reading the text, I can't make too much of a claim either way. Many of the things which seem to be similar could also result from simply creating drama. For example, in both films, a female character has to leave the village to get medicine. Sounds similar, but I would argue that there are very few things that could happen that would force someone to leave the village. Getting medicine for the sick would be high on that list. And as for the female character? The journey is dangerous. What better way to create additional suspense that to use a character that (in a traditional sense, at least) may be less capable. A teenaged girl isn't much of a leap there.

But make your own decision. See the film (I did). Read the book (I will). Make up your own mind.

Hat Tip to Tracy for the article

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