Eventually I may have something more substantial to say about Lady in the Water. But in the meantime, a bizarro connection occurs to me. And warning, there be a semi-spoiler ahead. (But I’m revealing something from the middle of the film, not the end.)
You know how M. Night Shyamalan has been called a Rod Serling wanna-be? Especially ever since The Village (2004) came out, and a number of people took it to be a rip-off of the Twilight Zone episode ‘A Hundred Yards over the Rim‘ (1961)?
In Lady in the Water, Shyamalan himself plays a man who, we are told, is destined to write a book that will inspire a future “great leader” — and the practically messianic significance of this prompted me to tell my wife that Shyamalan had basically cast himself as the muse to the Antichrist. I’m joking, of course, but the “great leader” prophesied in this film does sound rather similar to the archvillain that one finds in end-times novels; he also reminds me of the righteous dictator who takes over the American government, and then the world, in William Randolph Hearst’s propaganda flick Gabriel over the White House (1933).
A race of aliens known as the Kanamits land on Earth and promise to be nothing but helpful to the cause of humanity, as dictated in a seemingly innocuous book called “To Serve Man.” They eradicate hunger, eliminate war, and eliminate the need for expensive power sources. Soon humans are volunteering for trips to the Kanamits’ home planet. All is not well, however, when a decoder discovers the Kanamits’ true intentions. Their book, “To Serve Man”, is a cookbook.
So … is Shyamalan hinting in some strange and twisted way that the Narfs are actually the bad guys, ready to destroy humanity with the aid of a book that was seemingly oh so helpful to us? It is tempting to think so, but naaaah, he isn’t that clever.