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Signs
     

Signs

4.1 62
Director: M. Night Shyamalan, Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Cherry Jones

Cast: M. Night Shyamalan, Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Cherry Jones

 

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Disney's "Vista Series" DVDs were touted as the next big line of Special Edition discs, and titles such as Pearl Harbor and The Sixth Sense reflected that, so what's the deal with this release of Signs? Though certainly not a horrible disc, it falls short in many ways. The image, which is 1.85:1 and anamorphic, is good, but flawed. Grainy

Overview

Disney's "Vista Series" DVDs were touted as the next big line of Special Edition discs, and titles such as Pearl Harbor and The Sixth Sense reflected that, so what's the deal with this release of Signs? Though certainly not a horrible disc, it falls short in many ways. The image, which is 1.85:1 and anamorphic, is good, but flawed. Grainy shimmering shows all to often, especially early in the film. Darks are solid though, with no sign of breakdown or blocking. Color, though relatively muted in the film, comes across pretty well. The 5.1 Dolby Digital EX track suffers also. For such a blockbuster, so much more would be expected. While dialogue is clear, nearly the entire track is focused up front, with little separation. Surrounds are only used sparingly at best and lack any real imagination. Where the disc really falters is the supplemental features. Not that what's offered isn't good, but for a Special Edition series, there just simply isn't much. The highlight is a very comprehensive 58-minute documentary on all aspects of making the film. Director M. Night Shyamalan extensively discusses everything from pre-production, to set design and visual effects, to the scoring of the film and it's world premiere. Interviews with composer James Newton Howard, producer Frank Marshall, and others flesh out the process of making this film. A real treat on this disc because it's so bad (and Shyamalan admits it himself in an introduction) is the inclusion of a minute from his first "creature" movie, Pictures, which he made as a teenager. It's simply awful, making it very funny. Rounding out this disc are five deleted scenes running about eight minutes and a storyboard-to-film comparison with angle function and multiple audio options. Again, what is offered for extras is good, they just don't reach far enough.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
The worldwide phenomenon of "crop circles" -- supposedly engineered by visiting aliens -- provides a suitably eerie jumping-off point for the latest spine-tingling thriller directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense). Signs is something of a tour de force for Mel Gibson, uncharacteristically understated in his portrayal of a recently widowed minister whose isolated farm is the scene of inexplicable events. The sudden appearance of crop circles, followed by nocturnal visits from unseen strangers, unnerves the minister, his children (Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin), and his younger brother (Joaquin Phoenix). They choose to remain barricaded inside their run-down farmhouse to defend it against invasion by extraterrestrials. In both his screenwriting and his direction, Shyamalan studiously avoids the sensationalistic trappings of most alien-invasion movies; in fact, as the opening reels unspool, it's not at all clear that there are aliens in the vicinity. But as the evidence mounts, so does the tension, and the film's second half dispels any ambiguity while convincingly portraying the claustrophobic terror that grips the protagonists. Gibson is superb as the embittered preacher whose loss of faith initially leaves him ill equipped to deal with the crisis, and Phoenix is very nearly as good as the underachieving brother who rises magnificently to the occasion when his loved ones are imperiled. Shyamalan's directorial technique is refreshing in its simplicity: His camera moves aren't flashy, he doesn't rely on special effects, and his measured pacing gives viewers time to absorb each scene for maximum emotional impact. Moreover, he realizes that what you don't see is often scarier than what you do see. Such restraint, so unusual in today's genre films, is largely responsible for making Signs one of the most effective horror/sci-fi movies of recent years. Shyamalan supplies a feature-length commentary for the DVD, which also includes deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
All Movie Guide
It's kind of amazing that no one had previously attempted a spooky movie about crop circles, given the ominous portent of these unexplained phenomena. M. Night Shyamalan harnesses that unrealized potential and then some in Signs, his fifth and most mainstream release, which makes the much-revisited topic of alien invasion freshly eerie, yet also showcases a heretofore unseen strength in the director's dour oeuvre: humor. Shyamalan actively bucks the trend of films like Independence Day, shunning pyrotechnics and scenes of chaos in the world's capital cities. Instead he focuses on one rural Pennsylvania family, in turn keeping with his trademark emotional intimacy -- which, when it doesn't consume him, allows the audience to experience the crisis with an equivalent sense of mounting anxiety. Shyamalan makes sublime use of news footage as a means of imparting chilling glimpses of alien avidence, rendered hyper-real through the medium; in fact, the director deepens the impact by drawing a visual link to September 11th, in the form of engrossed viewers huddled around televisions, absorbing the unspeakable. Though Signs is certainly an original vision, boasting a full complement of clever yet unobtrusive camera tricks by Tak Fujimoto, it comes with a price. Namely, Shyamalan travels so deep into the psyches of his characters that he sometimes loses the big picture, dwelling on a past tragedy at the expense of the imminent emergency, and becoming a little too touchy-feely. There's also considerable effort to bear fruit from all the foreshadowing -- as a wise musician once sang, it's "signs, signs, everywhere signs." Still, Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix contribute some of the most naturalistic acting of their careers, and Shyamalan has created a gripping cinematic experience that reminds viewers of when being scared was a kind of intoxication.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/07/2003
UPC:
0786936197594
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
PG-13
Source:
Touchstone / Disney
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[THX-Supervised Mastering, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:46:00
Sales rank:
4,019

Special Features

Closed Caption; Deleted scenes; Night's first alien film; M. Night Shyamalan takes you on a journey of filmmaking in an exclusive, six-part documentary exploring Signs from the birth of the idea, to writing the script, to building the sets, to realizing the creature and other effects, to the scoring and innovative marketing of the film; Storyboards: multi-angle feature; Widescreen (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 televisions; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound; THX-certified; French language track

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mel Gibson Graham Hess
Joaquin Phoenix Merrill Hess
Cherry Jones Officer Caroline Paski
Rory Culkin Morgan Hess
Abigail Breslin Bo Hess
Patricia Kalember Colleen Hess
M. Night Shyamalan Ray Reddy
Ted Sutton Cunningham
Merritt Wever Tracey
Lanny Flaherty Mr. Nathan
Marion McCorry Mrs. Nathan
Michael Showalter Lionel
Rhonda Overby Sarah Hughes

Technical Credits
M. Night Shyamalan Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Douglas Aibel Casting
Keith P. Cunningham Art Director
Tak Fujimoto Cinematographer
Larry Fulton Production Designer
James Newton Howard Score Composer
Kathleen Kennedy Executive Producer
Richard King Sound/Sound Designer
Tod A. Maitland Sound/Sound Designer
Frank Marshall Producer
Sam Mercer Producer
Douglas Mowat Set Decoration/Design
Ann Roth Costumes/Costume Designer
John Rusk Asst. Director
Barbara Tulliver Editor

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening [2:09]
2. The Crops [5:18]
3. Contaminated Water [4:25]
4. A Monster Outside [8:41]
5. Breaking News [5:05]
6. Probing [3:35]
7. "Is That Him?" [1:22]
8. Bo's Baby Monitor [4:42]
9. Evidence [4:10]
10. Fourteen Lights [9:21]
11. Research [4:12]
12. Ray's Confessional [4:12]
13. Disturbing Footage [1:34]
14. One Trapped in the Pantry [6:53]
15. Invasion [3:44]
16. Family Meal [3:10]
17. "It's Happening" [2:25]
18. Locked in the Basement [3:37]
19. Distant Memory [7:13]
20. Swing Away [9:50]
21. Winter/Closing Credits [6:57]

Customer Reviews

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Signs 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 62 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
M. Night Shyamalan broke out with his first film, The Sixth Sense, a movie that may very well prove to be both his best and most popular. There are worse fates that creating a cultural touchstone in film your first time out. He followed this with what some thought of as the disappointing Unbreakable. In that line of thought, I must agree that his movie about comic book superheroes looked anything but super. But most of that can be attributed to the cinematographer. In its defense, part of the point was to have the film look mundane. It was about a person who discovers that he's a superhero. It's only a surprise to him if his life looks plain and ordinary, like everyone else's. SIGNS cinematography is much better, more in line with Shyamalan's first film, but in all other ways, plot, pacing, characters, it's a weaker film. Many reviewers have complained about the emotionless nature of M. Night's characters, and he fairs no better here. There are no characters in this film, just caricatures. There is "the brainy kid" who is also "the kid who won't forgive one parent for the other parent's death." Not that the child's a bad actor, but he's a Culkin. And let's face it, all the little Culkin Clones make you think about beating the crap out of Joe Pesci on Christmas Eve, not their character. Then there's "the cute kid' who is also "the kinda creepy kid." Unfortunately, Kinda Creepy Kid was already done, and much better, by Haley Joel Osment, in Shyamalan's own The Sixth Sense. Next, we have Gladiator's ever-creepy Juaquim Phoenix, not as Mel Gibson's son, but as his brother. Now, I'm not saying it's impossible, but it is distracting. I'm sure there's at least 20 years difference in age between Gibson and Phoenix, and on screen it looks more like 30. Brothers? The theater-of-reality is blown in the first scene. Phoenix's character is an ex-minor league baseball player, for no apparent reason except that it's a convenient plot device when it comes time to beat the bad guy in the last reel. He doesn't play baseball anymore, despite the fact that he holds the minor league record for the longest hit, at 507 feet. With an arm like that, why isn't he playing ball in the big leagues, much less not playing at all? The only reason given is that he also holds the record for the most strike-outs. Sounds like a man who played in the majors in Cleveland for a decade, called Jim Thome. Someone should have told M. Night that the top 8 hitters in major league baseball all had more than 100 strike-outs each their last two seasons each. And that even back when Babe Ruth was the home run leader, he was also the holder of the record for the most strike-outs. So it just doesn't add up. And don't forget the town sheriff who's a woman and may be a love interest for the male lead. The only problem with her is that we just had a town sheriff who's a woman and may be a love interest for the male lead, in The Mothman Prophecies. And Laura Linney actually had the opportunity to add a little thing called DEPTH to the character. The actress here is just another cardboard cut-out, that ultimately could've been cut completely from the film without anyone noticing. But the award for cardboard cut-out character and winner of the prestigious Kevin Costner Wooden Indian Actor Award goes to Mel Gibson. For the first time in film, the man is emotionless, joyless, and humorless. He plays a reverend who's lost his faith because his wife died in a car accident. One problem with this is that we saw this character ALSO, just a few years ago when we watched Harvey Keitel play a reverend who's lost his faith because his wife died in a car accident. Again, with the unfortunate result that the THEFT of this tired, Stock Character was also A bad choice, as that even in that "We-Know-We're-Making-a-B Movie" film (From Dusk Till Dawn), Keitel was much much better. We never believe that Mel Gibson has lost his faith
Guest More than 1 year ago
Actually, "Sixth Sense" is not Night's 1st feature film,"Praying with Anger" is. His first feature was shot entirely on location in his native homeland"India", at the tender age of 19 or 20. His 2nd full feature was titled, "Wide Awake", shot in the fall of 1995 on location in Philadelphia at the age of 23. His 3rd feature, "Sixth Sense" was shot on location again in Philadelphia at the age of 25. Mr. Shylaman is considered a veteran in the industry as he went on to produce box office no draws every two years. He usually makes Philadelphia his home for film making and discovering local and regional talent and that I like him for. Am I a fan of his work? "Not Really", most of his genres are the same as he tries his luck as a mystery writer, he is just ok in my book, I would not say brilliant, except for "Sixth Sense". Where he produced what I beleive a masterpiece, his best, only on that one. With the production of his 1st two features, I think Mr. Shylaman would be best suited with writing scripts for family or comedy genres. If he notices the "Signs" I believe he will rise further as one of the top ten if he takes a couple of step back and re-think his approach.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have this movie on dvd and i think it is a truly awesome move. the part that i thought was really scary was when The little girl Bo wanted to watch tv, and as the dad was coming back the living room with the t.v. the alien got Bo's brother and was inhailing poison into his nostrils!!! That part really scared me. Anyway i loved this movie from the time i first saw it!! thanks for making this movie a great one
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie and all the extras you get from the DVD version, is Awesome... it has you jumping at all the right times... M. Knight is the BOMB.... we loved it..
Guest More than 1 year ago
. . .in this movie big as a crop circle - cheifly why would H20-challenged aliens choose to come to this planet, mainly water, to stalk beings mainly made up of water (not to mention the humidity of PA in summer, dew on the corn, etc., etc.)? BUT - it is suspenseful and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It confirmed my thoughts on alien visitation: ''they want to eat us'' and brought up the question: ''what would you do if it DID really happen?'' I jumped more than a few times. Saw it in the theatre with my two teenage sons - one said ''sucked big time'' the other gave it a ''did not suck'' - I liked it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't get me wrong, I really did like this movie, but the plot left a little to desire. Moreover, by the end of the film you almost wished for more action--''just show us already!'' will be on the tip of your tongue about an hour into the film. Despite that, the suspense level was good and keeps you on your toes. Not a masterpiece, not a thrill ride, but a good film nonetheless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Signs is a creepy, suspenseful, and sometimes moving picture with the acting talent of Mel Gibson as Graham Hess, a former pastor who turned from his faith after his wife was killed in a car accident. Joaquin Pheonix plays Gibson's younger brother, and two young actors, Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin, play Gibson's 2 children, and give great Performances as well. I enjoyed how Shyamalan made the movie scary by just showing limbs of creatures or builds tension by the sounds of pounding of aliens on doors, other than just showing us the aliens the whole movie. And I loved the way the film ended. This film altogether is exceptionally acted and directed. Just amazing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
And for those who don't cry somewhere else. This movie is not about aliens, it is about one man reclaiming his faith and I was thrilled to see a mainstream hollywood film dealing with this without sounding preachy. It was very entertaining and quite suspenseful. Really enjoyed this film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoght it was the best sifi movie ever i sow it in the at the movies 4 times the rest of you suck
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a horrible film for the most part. The only thing redeeming about it is that there are a few laughs. The only mystery in the film is why it made so much money. Not suspenseful at all and the ending is so ridiculous it is funny. The director is an unbelievably bad actor and should stay behind the camera. The worst film I saw in 2002.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I read reviews for Signs, I was expecting to be so scared that I would need to make up excuses not to look at the screen because I was so scared. When I saw a preview for the movie on TV (the scene with the alien on the roof) I was totally freaked out. So I was expected to be scared when I entered the movie with my friends. There we sat for two hours, waiting to be scared. Whent the movie ended, I sat there in sorta disbelief...what had I just seen? I wasn't scared at all! It may have been suspenseful in maybe two or three scenes but I felt it dragged on and wasn't very good at making you jump out of your seat. Nevertheless, I still thought it had good suspense (the closet and cornfield scenes) but I guess I didn't like it because of the faith aspect. Maybe it's because I'm not a religious person that I didn't like it. I also thought the special effects weren't convincing, the alien was obviously CG. So overall, I came into the theater with high expectations and left a little disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I soooo loved this movie. It is funny, scary, and awesome!!! I thought it was really scary when the aliens were coming into the house and when Mel Gibson chopped the fingers off the alien.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix are outstanding in this movie. I had to have seen it a few times before i figured out what the film was about, but, overall, it is way above 5 stars
Guest More than 1 year ago
The only reason why I gave this misleading and often at times complicated film two lousy stars is due to the fact that most of the time I love the directors other works including the Sixth Sense and Unbreakable and that the special affects in the movie were fairly good. The only part of the film that held my attention was when the news channel showed the home video of the alien. Aside from that, this film was most definitely not what the previews made it out to be. Lets just say that if you ever saw the movie trailer, it spoiled all the fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this movie, it is funny, scary, and suspensfull. It would be a 5 star movie, but i thought some of the editing could have some work. Otherwise the acting was good, the scars where good, and the laughs are good, i recomend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i don't see why other reviewers have got so excited about this. Ive just attempted to watch it on DVD and to be honest i felt like turning the machine off mid-way through. The director can't seem to make up his mind whether he wants a scary movie, or a sad weepy sentimental flick so that Mel Gibson can deal with the loss of his wife. Ok some of the aliens are a bit creepy when they are scrabbling about the house, but that really begs the question. Like i guess aliens who arrive in super-douper space ships would be a bit more tooled up when they arrive to take over earth - like they are afraid of water for god's sake !!! The ending is also ridiculous if not actually downright silly. Save your money buy somthing else.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie. All the actors were great and I knew it was scary because when I let my dogs out after the movie, I was a bit afraid to open the door!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A suspenceful movie mixed with a little bit of comical dialogue. This was definitly a great movie. I don't normally like alien movies but this is definitely an exception!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great combination of relationships, spirituality, science fiction, and comedy. Joacquin Phoenix is terrific as Mel Gibson's brother.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked the movie especially where at the ending there was the alien and he put that gas in that kids nose, and they thought that the alien killed him, but he didnt breath cause of the asthma attack. It was so kool.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie! Mel Gibson did awesome. It's scary too. It also has a good point on christianity. So I encourage you guys to see this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Signs is about the Hess family encountering terrifying invaders from just outdoors of the earth. Morgan, the son, has asthma, and Bo, the daughter, hates 'contaminated' water. Merill, the uncle, was a former baseball player, making a record of hitting the ball 507 ft. away! And Graham, a man whose life and faith is torn apart when his wife dies. Anyways, once you see it, you'll have to buy it. All of these charaters in the family add up in a twisted, horrifying moment in their lives.
Guest More than 1 year ago
''Signs'' is M. Night Shyamalan's 2002 feature, following his dissapointment ''Unbreakable'--which I kinda liked--of 2000. Signs is extremeley well crafted and scary. Tak Fujimoto's photography brings out some of the darkness in the setting as well as some of the light. The surprise ending is not as good as the ones in ''The Sixth Sense'' or ''''unbrakable'' but the ending is still good. So now the question is there, does Shayamalan scare the living heck out of the viewer? Yes. I hardly ever get scared in a movie--save for Kubrick's ''The Shining'' and though this movie is no Kubrick, Shyamalan is still a very-good director and he can tell his story just fine.