Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Will You Make a Choice?

Knock at the Cabin
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast:  Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Rupert Grint, Abby Quinn
Released: February 3, 2023

Picture it: you're vacationing with your family in a charming rustic cabin in the woods. There's a lake nearby for swimming and plenty of beautiful nature. You're only there for a few days before you hear a knock at the front door and it's four strangers. They tell you that you must sacrifice one member of your family in order to save everyone else on the planet. If you don't, the world will end. Sounds pretty crazy, doesn't it? Well, this is the premise to this movie 

We first meet Wen, a seven-year-old girl who is collecting grasshoppers to study in a large jar just outside the cabin in rural Pennsylvania. While she's doing this, she notices a large, tattooed man (Dave Bautista) walking towards her. She looks a little suspicious, but stays put. When he comes up to her, he tells her he's not around here and is looking for some new friends and asks if he can talk to her. She replies that she doesn't talk to strangers. He tells her she's smart and that she shouldn't, but he's here to be her friend, so hopefully they won't be strangers for long. (Which is exactly something a stranger would say!) They introduced themselves to each other and we learn the man's name is Leonard. 

Wen must have missed the Stranger Danger discussion in school because he offers to help her catch grasshoppers and soon she's opening up to him. She tells him that she wants to take care of animals when she grows up and that "Daddy Eric" taught her how to catch grasshoppers. When he questions why she refers to her dad by his first name, she tells him it's so they know which dad she's talking to: Daddy Eric or Daddy Andrew. She tells him that nobody in her class or anyone on the Disney Channel has two dads. I'm kind of surprised about the Disney Channel; I would have thought they would at least have one show with single-sex parents. Aren't they supposed to be pretty progressive? Also, does the Disney Channel even exist anymore with Disney +? 

Leonard has a flower and wants to play a game where they will take turns pulling off petals and each time they do, they can ask the other person a question and "by the time [they're] done, [they'll] know each other better." Wen asks him why he's here (love how she gets to the point) and he tells her he's there to make friends with her and maybe her dads and maybe catch some more grasshoppers. Hmm, Leonard, something tells me you're not telling her the whole truth! He asks her how she got the tiny scar on his lip, then quickly realizes he may have overstepped and that question might be too personal, but she tells him her lip was "broken" when she was born, but the scar was left when the doctors fixed it. He tells her that he doesn't have a physical scar like she does, but that his heart is broken. When she asks him why, he replies, "Because of what I have to do today." Of course this prompts her to ask, "What do you have to do?" It's at that moment Wen (and the audience) hears footsteps appraoching and we see three people in the distance. Wen asks him if they're his friends and he tells her that she's his friends and "No matter what happen, I want you to remember that." He compares the people who are coming towards them "more like people I work with" and that the four of them "have a very important job to do; in fact, it might be the most important job in the history of the world." You would think he might be a bit hyperbolic, but, well, I'll guess we'll find out soon enough! 

The people are getting closer and they're carrying homemade weapons - wooden sticks with spikes and chains, that kind of thing. At this point, Wen is getting very concerned and stands up to leave. Leonard tells her it's not about her or her dads and she hasn't done anything wrong, but her and her dads "are gonna have to make some tough decisions. Terrible decisions. And I wish with all my broken heart that you didn't have to." Before she leaves, he tells her, "Your dads won't let us in. You have to tell them they must. Otherwise, we're gonna have to find our own way in." This poor seven (almost eight!) year old girl. That's a lot of information to take in. 

Wen runs back to her cabin (which wasn't at all that far away from where she was catching grasshoppers) and goes to the back porch where her dads are sitting. The vibe is very different. We just went from something super serious and ominous, and now we're just chilling with Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) who are relaxing on the back porch while listening to music without a care in the world. They're more than a little bemused when Wen demands that they come inside right now and that "There's strangers and they want to come in, and they're scary!" They obviously don't believe her, but they humor her and come inside and ask her to explain what has her so frightened. She tells them how "the big one, Leonard" told her that she and the two of them have "the most important job in the history of the world." The guys thinks it must be Jehovah's Witnesses that she came across. 

After Wen tells them they have weapons, we get the titular knock at the cabin. Eric and Andrew decide the best way to handle this is to be polite and they ask Leonard if there's something he needs. He replies that he needs to speak to them and asks if they could open the door because it would make it a lot easier to have this conversation face to face. 

Eric tells him they weren't expecting visitors and he does't want to sound rude, but they would like to be left alone. Leonard says that he understands and that he never thought that the four of them would be here asking to talk to him. While Andrew looks through the blinds, Eric asks who else is out there and Leonard tells him he's with Sabrina, Adriane, and Redmond. He also adds that they're there "trying to save a whole bunch of people." Andrew beckons Eric to come over and they look through the blinds and see that they are carrying weapons. Andrew tries to call the police, but there's no dial tone. They try not to let that deter them and they tell their visitors that they're calling the police, but we hear Adriane tell them they had to cut the phone lines so they know the people in the cabin are NOT able to call the police...or anyone. They can't even use their own phones because cell service doesn't work where they are out in the boondocks. 

Again, Leonard asks them to open the door so they can have a conversation. Wen asks why do they have the "scary weapons" and Leonard tells her they're tools. Hmm, I would say they're 50% tools, 50% weapons! Andrew tells them he has a gun, but whispers to Eric that it's in the safe in the back of their SUV. 

Leonard give them one last chance to open the door, then the door knob starts rattling and you know that a creaky wooden door is not going to stop four people who really want to get in (and when one of them is Dave Bautista; I forgot to mention a humorous moment when either Andrew or Eric sees him out the window and comments, "One of them is really huge!"). 

Eric and Andrew quick barricade the front and back doors with furniture while Wen goes around and shuts all the windows. There were a couple windows that were wide open, so while Leonard was talking to them, one of the other intruders could have easily gotten in that way! A couple of them go down through the cellar doors (guess those weren't locked) and through the basement while Redmond breaks the glass of the back door with an axe and tries tries to unlock the door from the inside. Eric grabs a couple of fire pokes and they try to fight him off. This is when they realize that some of them are in the basement and they decide to make a run for it to the car. As soon as then open the door, Sabrina appears from the basement and tells them, "It doesn't have to be like this." There's an altercation between her and Eric with their weapons and he ends up getting hit in the head with her tool/weapon of choice. This makes Andrew very upset, but Sabrina is a nurse and wants to help Eric. By this time, Redmond has pushed the couch away from the back door and enters, followed by Leonard so now all the intruders are inside the cabin. Andrew had been fighting off Redmond, but quickly stops when he sees that Leonard is holding Wen and tells him, "That's enough." 

In the next scene we see that Andrew and Eric have been tied up. Eric was unconscious when he was tied up, so that would make it easy for them to restrain him, but I'm surprised Andrew didn't put up much of a fight. I guess he felt he didn't really have a choice with their weapons/tools and the fact that a huge guy is among the four that are holding them hostage. Andrew thinks they're being targeted and that that is a hate crime because he and Eric are a gay couple. Leonard and Sabrina are quick to tell them that is not the case; that they are not homophobic and Leonard tells them they didn't know they were a single-sex couple until they got there. I believe him because he did look surprised when Wen told him she had two dads.

Leonard gathers everyone together because it's "time to talk". He wants his colleagues to introduce themselves to the cabin dwellers. Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird; she was also in Shyamalan's previous movie, Old) is from SoCal and has been a post-op nurse for five years. She used most of her savings to come out to Pennsylvania just to talk to them. 

Leonard tells them he's from Chicago where he's a second-grade teacher (I feel like he would be better suited as a high school teacher; I bet none of the students would talk back to him!) and he runs the after-school program. And when he's not a second-grade teacher during the day, he's a bartender at night which I find humorous. 

Redmond (Rupert Grint aka Ron Weasley!) sarcastically says he likes long walks on the beach and beer. (Well, I think he was being genuine about liking beer!) Leonard tells him to take this more seriously, that this family deserves to know who they are. With agitation, Redmond tells him they wasted time waiting for Eric to wake up and states that "this get-to-know-you stuff doesn't matter at all; doesn't change what we have to do or what they have to do." Leonard tells him when he says stuff like that, he'll just scare them and he makes it "less likely that they'll believe us or cooperate." I love that they're having this conversation in front of Andrew and Eric and Wen (who's not tied up, but usually standing near one of her dads). Remember, they have no idea why these four random strangers have come to their house and technically, neither does the audience, but if you've watched the trailer, then you probably do. But if I were one of the hostages, I would definitely be more than a little concerned after hearing that! So Redmond continues and tells them he lives in Medford, Massachusetts and works for the gas company. He's "done some time" because he did a lot of "questionable stuff" when he was "young and stupid." I've heard a few people on movie review podcast say they didn't think Grint do a good job with the accent, but I thought it was fine. Never once did I hear his English accent. 

Before Adriane (Abby Quinn) can do her introduction, Eric speaks up with his own thoughts. He thinks they are a cult who are trying to fix things and wants to recruit them or try to change them or make them different and if that's so, this is not the way to do it. The only thing we learn about Abby in this moment is that she's a line cook at a Mexican restaurant in D.C. Later, she will reveal she has a young son, but Andrew won't believe her. 

It's finally time to see what the hell is going on. Leonard simply tells them, "The four of us are here to prevent the apocalypse." Okay, cool. He tells them that everyone in this cabin (all seven of them) can stop it from happening, but only with their help: "Ultimately, whether the world ends or not is completely up to you three." That's a lot of weight to put on three people, especially when one is a child! Obviously, Andrew and Eric aren't buying any of this. Eric tells him that he's having "a psychological break of some kind." Leonard pretty much ignores him and continues with his instructions which is that they must choose to "willingly sacrifice" one of the three of them to "prevent the apocalypse." Let's just think about this for one second. There's only three of them which doesn't make great odds and one of them is just a seven-year-old girl, you know that they wouldn't consider her for one second, so now it's just a fifty-fifty chance between Andrew and Eric. Leonard realizes that this is an impossible decision (ya think, Leonard?), but if they fail to choose or follow through with the sacrifice, the world will end. The three of them will live, "but the rest of humanity will perish." They will also get the added bonus "to witness the horror of the end of everything and they will be left to wander the devastated planet alone." Well, when you put it like that! 

Eric tells Leonard they haven't done anything wrong and Leonard agrees with him and he doesn't think they deserve this burden. He tells them they're "the family chosen to decide for us in this time." He makes it clear that they need to make the decision and one of them can't kill themselves. Andrew tells them they're not choosing anyone to sacrifice. Sabrina asks him, "Even if it means the death of everyone else in the world?" He tells her yes, but says he doesn't believe it's true. 

This scenario reminds me of a question I would find in a book I have called The Book of Questions that asks such philosophical questions. I think one of them was similar to their dilemma: you have the option to save a couple of your loved ones or you can save thousands of strangers. (There was nothing about the world ending!) It also reminded me of the Trolley Problem, which is something I learned about in an episode of The Good Place. Wikipedia defines it as:

The trolley problem is a series of thought experiments in ethics and psychology, involving stylized ethical dilemmas of whether to sacrifice one person to save a larger number.

This is exactly what we have here. One person has to be sacrificed in order to save the rest of the world. Now you're probably asking yourself why does it have to be one of only three people out of the entire world's population of eight billion people? It's because of the visions Leonard and the other three had. Visions that were "so strong, so specific, and so real." They have been shown what will happen if they don't make a sacrifice and it does not look good. For anybody. The visions led them to each other and that led them to "this exact cabin." He has no idea why this family in particular was chosen. It's interesting that this cabin was chosen because Eric and Andrew found it online and obviously they are only there on vacation. Leonard describes what will happen: the ocean will swell and drown cities and drag everything out to sea, people will get sick from "a terrible plague", and an "everlasting darkness will descend over humanity." Andrew tells them that they need help and if they let them go, they can get them help. Leonard is adamant that what he just told them is going to happen and only their sacrifice can stop it. 

So if this had been an original Shyamalan screenplay, I would be wondering if the twist would be that the world is actually ending or if these four people are just playing a cruel and terrible joke on them. This is based on a novel called Cabin at the End of the World, which I had never heard of until I saw this movie. 

Before I continue on, I'm going to put on my spoiler warning because I'm going to spoil something about the book (I haven't read it, but heard a huge spoiler on a movie review podcast) and I'm also going to start talking about major plot points of the movie that could be considered major spoilers and since this movie is only a year old, I want to make sure you get a chance to see the movie before continuing reading on!

If you have not seen this movie and would like to see it spoiler-free, I would advise you to stop reading at this point! Major spoilers ahead for both the movie and the book! You have been warned! Spoilers ahoy! 

So I read through the Wikipedia summary of the book and while there are a few changes from the film, there is one major one (this is the one I heard about on a podcast; I guess on movie podcasts they're not too worried about giving away book spoilers! Oh, well, I was never planning on reading the book anyway.) So in  the novel, Andrew has gotten his gun and there is a struggle between him and Leonard and the gun accidentally goes off and kills the young girl! To make matters worse, her death won't count as saving all humanity because she was accidentally killed and wasn't sacrificed. So basically she was killed for nothing and her death didn't mean anything. It's clear to see why they didn't go that route in the movie! The little girl is adorable and I don't think it would go over well with the audience if they had killed her off, accident or not. This movie is already dark enough and I think this would take it into a whole new level of darkness. So Wen survives the movie! Who else survives? Well, read on and find out. Now let's get back to the movie!

Andrew and Eric still refuse to make a decision on who to sacrifice. They get very scared when Redmond steps up before them with his scary-looking weapon/tool. They tell him he doesn't need to do this and that they told them they wouldn't hurt them. The strangers are true to their word because Redmond gets on his knees and puts a cloth over his head. Before he completely covers his head, he tells Andrew and Eric, "I'm scared" and wants them to keep looking at him. (Luckily the seven year old isn't required to do this!) Now I knew this movie was rated R and was a little nervous about how much gore they were going to show, but luckily (at least for me, I know some people were disappointed that more gore wasn't shown!) you don't really see when an axe is put into his skull. You just see him fall over with blood dripping from his head. I guess the R rating was more for the language. You'd probably drop more than a few f-bombs if you were in this situation! 

While Leonard and Adriane take Redmond's body outside (after wrapping it up), Sabrina cleans the floor. Leonard turns on the TV because there's something he wants Andrew and Eric to see. The channel the TV is turned to is a home shopping channel and we see Shyamalan in his cameo as a guest host of the show, shilling air fryers. The show is interrupted by a special report and a news reporter announces that an earthquake that erupted in the Aleutian Islands four hours ago has caused a huge tsunami that is making its way toward Hawaii. Honestly, I'm surprised Shyamalan didn't cast himself as a news reporter! His role in this movie is significantly smaller than other cameos in his movies. Leonard wants them to keep watching until they see what was shown to him and the others in their visions which is a massive tidal wave that hits Cannon Beach in Oregon due to a second earthquake that registered as an 8.6 on the Richter scale. 

So I guess at a certain time if they haven't decided on who to sacrifice, the intruders sacrifice one of their own (and they seem to have an order of who will be sacrificed when) and it will also unleash something horrible.

Leonard tells them, "Tomorrow morning, you can make the difficult, selfless choice of sacrifice and save the world...or you can choose to let the clock move another minute closer to permanent midnight. For the rest of today and tonight, we'll tend to your needs within reason." He lets them "be to reflect and talk it over."  

Sabrina takes Eric into the bathroom to bandage his head and tells him he probably thinks she's a "religious fanatic", but admits she hadn't been to church since she was a little girl. She says when her visions started, she "didn't believe it at first, either" and that he will believe and that they are all on the same side. He just replies that he's on his family's side. 

After she brings him back to sit in the chair next to Andrew (and is tied up) and she and the others are out of ear range, Andrew starts whispering to him and tells him how the earth quake happened four hours ago and that "Leonard's checked his watch a thousand times." He surmises that they've been timing all of this. 

Wen hasn't had too much to do at this point so we see her sneak down to the basement and escape through the cellar doors. She hides behind a tree and Leonard immediately comes outside, calling her name. It doesn't take long before he finds her and brings her back. No, they do not tie her up, but he firmly tells her she cannot escape. 

So throughout the movie we've seen little flashbacks of Eric and Andrew in everyday life situations that help build their characters. When Andrew is still accusing them of being targeted because they're a gay couple, we have a flashback where he was in a bar with Eric a few years ago and off screen we hear a guy telling them to be quiet (when they're not being loud at all) and Andrew gets a little smart with him and the guy walks away, but walks back and assaults him by smashing a bottle on his head. He suddenly realizes that Redmond was the guy who did this and he did go to jail, but remembers his name being O'Bannon. This incident will also be the catalyst for Andrew purchasing a gun, the one that is in their car, which will come in play a little later. 

Andrew thinks this is some "sick scam" to get them to hurt each other, but Leonard denies this and Sabrina tells them, "We don't know why each of us is here. Andrew asks, "It's a coincidence the man who attacked me and had me in years of therapy is one of your group?" He wants to get his wallet so he can prove his name isn't Redmond. Leonard tells him it doesn't matter what his name is and Adriane brings up the fact that Redmond was the one to tell then about the cabin on the message board first, then they had the visions, but Leonard says the visions of the cabin came first.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I have so many questions. These four strangers met on a message board? I mean, I guess that makes sense since they didn't know each other before and had to meet somewhere. I wonder what this message board was called? Was it for people who believed in the apocalypse? How did they know the others weren't just trolling them? I would have so many red flags if I heard this information if I were Andrew and Eric (and they will). It does seem a little sus that Redmond, who may or may not be the person who attacked Andrew (oh, wait, we're already in spoiler territory so I can confirm that it WAS him) just so happened to mention the cabin where they would be. Although, how would he even know that? Also, Leonard mentions they had visions of this particular cabin? This is a nondescript wooden cabin in the middle of the woods. That cabin could be anywhere! How did they know it was this particular cabin in rural Pennsylvania? Maybe they saw a house number, I don't know! I'm sure things are more explained in the book, which is usually the case.

It's now the next morning and Andrew whispers to Eric that he feels he can almost get out of the ropes that have his hands tied to the chair. To the intruders, he brings up them meeting on a message board and tells them they're having a "shared delusion" and that they took it as evidence that they got online and found "random people with random visions." While he and Leonard are talking, Wen, who had been in the kitchen, is now behind Eric and we see her hand him a small knife and stands behind him so nobody can see that he's trying to cut the rope. He whispers to her that when he nods at her, he wants to her to start having a tantrum like she did last Thanksgiving. 

This is when Adriane tells them she has a son. If they don't make a choice soon, she will be the next to go. (I wonder how they decide the order? Did they draw straws?) She tells them she has had to see her son die over and over in her visions and pleads for them to make a decision, but they still refuse. She is killed in the same way as Redmond and Leonard tells them they've "unleashed a second plague." 

Sabrina turns on the TV and there's a news report about a new virus, the  X-Nine virus which is "proving particularly fatal to children" and "is highly transmittable." Too soon, Shyamalan! Eric whispers to Andrew that he thinks he saw a person or a figure. Leonard and Sabrina hear this and Leonard questions where he saw this. Eric tells him he saw it in the light and reflection in the mirror behind him when he was standing behind Redmond after he was killed. Andrew takes this as him being extremely stressed, having a concussion, and being sensitive to the light. He also thinks the show was programmed and they knew when it was going to be on because they kept checking their watches.  

It's now time for Wen to put on her performance when Eric nods at her. She starts screaming about wanting to watch a cartoon and while Leonard and Sabrina are trying to calm her down, Eric unties himself and tips over the chair. Now Leonard and Sabrina are distracted with him and Andrew has freed himself and sneaks outside to the car. He doesn't make it very far until Sabrina starts following him. Before he can get in the car, she clubs him in the knee with a metal bar, telling him with regret she only did it so he wouldn't run away. He throws dirt on her and gets in the car, locking the doors, and unlocks the safe the gun is in. Just as she's smashed a back door window open with the metal bar and unlocked the door, he shoots near her (barely missing her) and tells her to drop the weapon. She does and backs up until she's far enough away so she can run away. This is when Andrew notices that the tires of the car are flat so their visitors thought of everything.

Back in the cabin, Leonard is telling Eric that he thinks this family was chosen because their "love for each other is so pure." As he's saying this, Eric sees Andrew come in through the door with the gun pointed at Leonard. He tells Leonard to move away from Eric or he'll shoot him. Leonard tells him it's time for the next sacrifice and asks if he's willing to make a choice. At that moment, Sabrina comes running in through the back door, screaming, and, startled, Andrew turns and fatally shoots her. I wasn't exactly sure why she was screaming like that. Maybe she had a vision and it terrified her or maybe she knew she was the next to be sacrificed and better to have a bullet to the chest then an axe to the head.  

While Leonard is taking care of Sabrina's body, Andrew retrieves Redmond's driver's license and shows Leonard that it was the same man who assaulted him in the bar. The name is shown as Rory O'Bannon. (He probably chose Redmond as his alias because he has red hair). Andrew thinks this is proof that none of this is real and that they are being targeted. He gives his hypothesis: "I always look for motive. How about a crazy bigot meets a bartender somewhere, and they find a woman from a small town who has extreme religious beliefs, then they come across a young woman who can be persuaded of anything." The only thing that doesn't make sense with this is that Sabrina had told Eric that she hadn't gone to church since she was a kid, so I'm not sure where he's getting she "has extreme religious beliefs"; in fact you could argue they all have this because of why they're there. He tells Leonard that since he's not a murderer, he's going to lock him in the bathroom. 

His plan is for him, Eric, and Wen to find the vehicle that the intruders came in and get away in that. Once they have Leonard locked in the bathroom, they start to head outside, but they hear glass shattering. They have a quick discussion and want to make sure he's still in the bathroom because they're worried he could be waiting outside for them. Andrew opens the bathroom door (first warning Leonard that if he sees him, he's going to shoot him) to find the room empty and the circular window's glass has been broken. (And it would be a tight fit for Leonard to get through). The shower curtain is closed around the tub and Andrew shoots once at it. Nothing happens and a few seconds later, he starts to reach for the curtain to open it, but before he can, Leonard jumps outs and attacks him. There's a fight for the gun and Leonard manages to grab it and points it at Andrew who tells Leonard that he thought he wouldn't kill them. Leonard says he won't, be he will shoot him in the leg to keep him from leaving the cabin. He tells him to turn on the TV and now we see that 700 airplanes from around the world have plummeted to the ground without any warning or without issuing distress calls. (Literally my worst nightmare!) 

While the news anchor is talking, Leonard starts reciting everything she's saying at the same time. Andrew still thinks this must be coordinated. He demands Leonard to give him the keys to the car he came in and he wants to leave with his family. Eric asks Andrew if he thinks everything they've seen today is "all just a coincidence?" and Andrew replies "yes". He says he has to believe it's either a horrible coincidence or a trick.  

Now it's time for Leonard to sacrifice himself and he wants to do it outside so he asks them to come out to the back porch with him. He sits in a chair, holding a huge knife and tells the others, "When I'm gone, you'll only have minutes to stop everything. After that it'll be too late." Eric tells Wen to take her headphones and listen to her music in the tree house and to wait there until one of them comes to get her.  

Before he kills himself by slitting his throat with the huge knife, Leonard begs Eric and Andrew "to make a choice and save the world." You would think he would want to use the gun instead of the knife to kill himself. I'm glad that they sent Wen away so she wouldn't have to see that! After he's gone, the sky gets very dark and stormy and we see a plane fall out of the sky in the distance. 

The two of them go back inside the cabin and Eric tells Andrew they still have a few minutes. It's clear that he believes that Leonard and the others were telling the truth and probably has believed them for awhile now. Andrew wants the three of them to leave, but Eric has other ideas. He tells him, "Maybe this is the way it's always been. Maybe families have been deciding this all through time." Andrew basically tells him that he doesn't care if all of humanity ends and the three of them can walk the Earth." Eric asks, "What kind of life is that for Wen?" Eric believes that this was not a home invasion and that they weren't targeted. The four of them came to spend time with him, Andrew, and Wen and get to know them. He says they are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and "they remind us of all aspects of humanity: Redmond, malice; Adriane, nurturing; Sabrina, healing; Leonard, guidance." Andrew questions why them, that they're "nothing special" and Eric replies "Because I know what I felt when we first saw Wen in that orphanage and we were together for the first time." He tells Andrew it would be "a sacrifice for them to give up something so beautiful to us for everyone else." Andrew still doesn't believe them, but Eric does. He gives the gun to Andrew and tells him he's at peace with his decisions and tells him "to do it now before [they] run out of time." Andrew begs him to kill him instead. Eric tells him that he's thinking about their daughter in the future and that "she's living her life exactly as she wanted to." She has her own practice (so she did become a vet like she wanted; how adorable!) As Eric is telling us this, we see a flash forward of a grown up Wen with Andrew as they're coming out of her office. It's just a normal day as they get in the car to go to dinner. Eric tells him "she found someone who loves her and who she loves just as much." Now is Eric really seeing the future because he's granted this gift because he's about to sacrifice himself for the greater good of humanity or is this just what he wants to see? Also, this guy deserves to have the planet named after him since he's saving it! Yes, Leonard and the others were right all along: the world was ending and the sacrifice of one of these three people will stop it. 

We hear a gunshot and Andrew is crying uncontrollably. He comes up the tree house to get Wen who asks, "Did Daddy Eric save everyone?" He hugs her and they both cry. 

They walk down a gravel road until they come across a car that their visitors had drove up in. The door is unlocked and Andrew finds the keys sitting on the center console. (I guess since the world was ending they weren't too worried about their car being where they were, there aren't too many people around.) 

They begin driving. It's raining and there are fires sporadically along the way, but the sky doesn't seem as dark as it was before. They stop at a diner where the TV is on with survivors recounting their stories. Things are starting to seem better. Water has stopped rising, planes are now landing safely, there hasn't been a death in the ICU for the past hour and they're coming up on their second hour of having no deaths. (I guess it's already been almost two hours since Eric was sacrificed). Andrew hears a conversation of a woman on a phone telling someone that "Everything's gonna be okay." 

They get back in the car and when Andrew starts the car, "Boogie Shoes" starts playing on the radio. It's obviously a sign! He turns off the radio, but Wen turns it back on after a few seconds. She turns it off after the chorus is played once and this time Andrew is the one to turn it on and they drive off.

In the car, we see items that prove their visitors had been telling the truth. There's a photo of Leonard with the kids from his after school program, there's Sabrina's ID from her work, and there's a photo of Adriane's son

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Mermaid in Manhattan

Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy
Released: March 9, 1984

One of the first things I noticed about this movie is just how skinny Tom Hanks is. And it's not like he's ever been overweight, but when you watch this movie, you just can't help but notice how skinny he looks! Of course, he was pretty young in this...28, although I would have guessed even younger! This was his first big starring movie as well as the first big movie directed by Ron Howard. 

The movie starts with a flashback twenty years ago where we see young Alan Bauer (Tom Hank's character) as a child on a boat with his family on Cape Cod. (I've been there! My favorite place I visited was Chatham!) Alan, about eight years old is looking down in the water and suddenly just jumps in! Of course, his parents and everyone else start freaking out. Alan definitely saw something because he's underwater with a young blonde girl about his age. We don't see that she's a mermaid (but we know she is one!) until he's back on the boat and dried off. Not too far off, she's just bobbing in the water and he sees her, but nobody else on the boat notices that a young girl is just bobbing in the water! And it's not like she's trying to hide herself or anything! She then dives back into the water and that's when we see she has a tail fin. Gasp! She's a mermaid! 

We're now twenty years later in New York City where Alan and his older brother, Freddie (John Candy), have a produce business. It seems totally random. Alan has a girlfriend he lives with named Victoria, but we never meet her. In fact, she breaks up with him within the first five minutes of meeting him as an adult because he never told her he loved her. This happens the same day he and his brother are ushers at a fellow friend's wedding and everyone keeps asking where Victoria is and he lies and tells them she's sick until he just screams at one guy (who didn't even ask about her) that she left him and how she broke his heart. It sounded like he did have feelings for her because he keeps going on how how "brilliant" and "beautiful" she was. Not really sure why he never told her he loved her, I guess he had commitment issues or something. Though if they were already living together, that was a big step anyway. Well, it doesn't really matter. I guess they just wanted to show us that he was in a relationship, but now he's not and he's sad because now he thinks he'll never find anyone. 

After the ceremony, Alan is feeling down and he tells Freddie he's going to Cape Cod because he likes it there and it makes him better better: "I look out at the water and I feel closer to something." Still wearing his tux from the wedding, he hails a cab to take him to Cape Cod. I have so many questions: why is he going right now? Why didn't he at least go home to change, or, I don't know pack a suitcase? I don't know how long he plans to stay on Cape Cod, but you'd think he'd want a change of clothes and some toiletries! This seems very spontaneous and probably the result of drinking too much. 

It's 300 miles to Cape Cod and the sun is just starting to come up when he gets there. We see him walking along the beach, coming up to a scientist named Walter Kornbluth (Eugene Levy) and his two bumbling idiot assistants unloading a box containing some equipment for a diving expedition. Alan walks up to them and tells them he was "dropped off on the wrong side of the beach" and asks if he could take him over to the island. I would love to know what part of Cape Cod they're on, but we are never told. Walter tells him they can't get him a lift on their boat because they're not heading that way, so Alan tries his luck with someone else. Walter thinks that he must be a spy. 

Alan gets a ride in a very small boat from a random guy. He tells the guy he can't swim and the guy, being a jerk, starts rocking the boat to scare Alan. This causes the boat to end up stalling and the guy can't get the motor to start so he just jumps into the water, telling him he'll go back for the other boat. He says the shore is only a few miles away, but I don't see any land anywhere nearby! And there are sharks in these waters! I know because when I visited Cape Cod, I saw signs warning about sharks! He says he'll bring back the smaller boat and Alan is aghast by this because the boat they're already in is so teeny-tiny. 

On the boat with the scientist and his assistants, Walter uses his binoculars to spot Alan sitting alone in the small boat and assumes he's spying on them. Alan tries to start the engine himself, but ends up falling into the water. On the bright side, he actually got the boat to start (so that guy swam to shore for nothing), but the boat seems to have a mind of its own and it knocks Alan on the head and he starts to sink. His wallet falls out and hits the sea floor, but, luckily, before he can hit the sea floor, he is saved by somebody "mysterious" (let's be honest, we all know who saves him!) and he ends up on a beach with clear blue waters and a white sandy beach. Wow, the mermaid must have swam a long, long way with Alan (try 1200 miles, the distance from Cape Cod to Nassau) because that is most definitely NOT Cape Cod! I'm pretty sure they're in the Caribbean (I looked it up and some scenes were filmed in the Bahamas). The fact that they're trying to pass this for Cape Cod is just hilarious. 

Alan isn't unconscious for too long and when he gets up he sees a beautiful blonde woman crouching in the flora staring at him. Except for a beaded necklace adorned with seashells and her long hair covering certain body parts, she is completely naked. She walks up to him, kisses him (and not just a peck on the lips, it lasts for quite a few seconds), then jumps into the ocean and swims away. He calls for her to come back, then bemoans the fact that he never learned how to swim. When he turns his back to start walking away from the water, we see her jump into the air like a dolphin. I can only imagine his reaction if he had seen that!

We see her swimming underwater. This is not the 2023 version of The Little Mermaid where they are using special effects to make it look like Daryl Hannah is underwater; no, she is actually swimming around underwater. There are many cuts so either she came up for air or was given a tube to breathe in before they shot again. 

The audience sees Walter in his scuba gear before she does. They are both surprised when they see each other. Walter tells her to "Wait a minute" so he can grab his camera to take a photo of her. This made me laugh because a) she doesn't understand what he's saying. Even if she did understand English, his voice is very muffled; and, b) she's not going to wait just so he can retrieve his camera and take a picture of her! 

She has found Alan's wallet on the sea floor and takes it to a wrecked ship nearby where she finds an old timey map of New York. It's apparent that she's very familiar with this ship and what's on it. She's able to find out Alan lives in New York from his driver's license and uses the map of New York to figure out where it is, I guess. I'm not really sure how she does this without knowing any English. I would assume she also doesn't know the Latin alphabet either. 

During a group tour of the Statue of Liberty, everyone is shocked when they see a completely nude woman walk towards them. They all start pointing their cameras at her and taking photos. While I'm sure this is the furthest from home she's ever been, we know she's seen humans (like on the boat when she was a young mermaid) so she has to know they wear clothes. You would think she would find something to cover up with.  We next see her wearing a t-shirt and she's on a boat with the Coast Guard. Two guys are trying to figure out who she is and where she came from, but they soon realize she doesn't understand English. We get a funny exchange where one guys states, "She don't speak no English" and the other guy replies, "And you do?" Ha! Nice zinger. That would totally be my reply too.

They find the wallet she was carrying and she points to the picture of Alan, so they call him. He's at work when he gets the call and he practically sprints to the police station. He even double parks in front of two police cars...I'm sure the cops loved that! The blonde woman greets Alan with a long kiss and he takes her back to his apartment.

Okay, a couple things before I continue. First of all, I know it's annoying I keep referring to MADISON as "the blonde woman" or  "the beautiful blonde", but this is because she hasn't received her name yet and I feel like it's not right to call her Madison (even though we all know that's her name!) So just bear with me...we're almost to that part of the movie and I can refer to her as Madison for the rest of the review, yay! Second of all, if this movie was made today, there would be a lot more depth to Alan and Madison's, excuse me, the beautiful blonde's relationship. Let's be honest: Alan only likes her because she's gorgeous and she keeps making out with him, right? It must be mermaid mating season because she cannot keep her hands off of him. It just seems to be a physical attraction (especially on Alan's end!) and if this movie was made today, they would, you know, actually have our two main characters get to know each other. Hell, they already kind of remade this movie with the 2023 version of The Little Mermaid, if you think about it! 

After spending some "quality time" with his new "friend", Alan goes back to work in a cheerful mood, singing "Zippity Do Dah" and everyone is like "Wha-?" because it wasn't that long ago he was being a Debbie Downer. 

He has left his mysterious new friend at his apartment with the TV on. Look, I understand he likes this girl. I get it: she's pretty and she enjoys kissing him and being with him. However, I am shocked he just leaves a stranger alone in his apartment while he's gone! Isn't he worried that he might get robbed? Well, I guess he's too love struck to even think about that! But leaving someone you just met alone in your place, not a good idea. Anyway, the human mermaid gets inspired when she sees a commercial for the Ann Klein collection at Bloomingdales. The collection is fugly if you ask me, but it was 1984. Daryl Hannah wears a lot of extremely ugly outfits when her character is trying to fit in the world of New York. 1984 was a terrible year for fashion. But you know what she does look good in? One of Alan's suits. She goes outside wearing one of his suits (or his only one, probably) and she pulls it off quite well. She says "Bloomingdales" to the doorman and he hails a cab to take her there. When she gets out of the cab, the driver holds out his hand and she just hands him Alan's wallet. I'm not sure why she still has it. The driver just takes money out of it and hands it back. I wonder how much he took? Probably more than he should have, but at least he gave the wallet back!  

After buying a bunch of ugly clothes (I realize they're not supposed to be ugly, but to my modern eye, they are!), she makes a stop at the antiquated technology department and starts watching all the shows that are on the TVs on display.

When Alan returns home after work, he realizes she's not there and he runs downstairs and asks the doorman if he's seen her and hurries to Bloomingdales. (I've been there!) By the time he gets there, the store is getting ready to close, but he convinces them to let him in. He runs all over the store and finds her in the electronics department, dancing to a Richard Simmons exercise tape. The manger tells Alan that she's been there for six hours! He also tells him that he told her it was closing time, but she didn't seem to understand and Alan tells him it's because she doesn't speak English. Right after he says that, she says, "Hello, Alan. How was you day?" in very clear English, then thanks the Boomingdale's employee for letting her use the televisions and that it "was very educational." 

Now that she can communicate, Alan finally gets to ask her what her name is, but she tells him it's hard to say in English. We soon figure out why this is when she starts screeching like a dolphin and all the TV screens break. Uh...I hope he doesn't have to pay for all of those! Surely the store has insurance! 

They walk back to Alan's apartment with Alan carrying her merchandise in two "big brown bags" and three huge boxes. He doesn't seem to mind that she purchased all of this with his money. He asks her why she hasn't said anything to him until now and she tells him because she didn't know English. Duh, Alan. But to be fair to him, he doesn't understand how she suddenly is fluent in it now. She tells him she learned it in the six hours when she was watching TV. Mermaids must learn at a much faster rate than normal humans because there is no way you could learn a language fluently in six hours! 

It was hilarious when she kept running around to the stoplights or people singing on the corner or a place making pizza going, "What's that? What's that?" I was getting Buddy the Elf vibes from her. There is a moment easier in the movie that reminded me of Buddy when she goes through a revolving door, but keeps spinning around and around. Alan is especially shocked that she doesn't know what music is (hmm, I guess she's not from the same part of the ocean as Ariel and her singing sisters and Sebastian!) He asks her if she's American and she replies she's her American accent. Okay, to be fair to the movie, it does make sense that she has an American accent since she's been watching American TV. He asks her how long she's gong to be in town and she tells him six days then the moon will be full and if she stays longer, she "can't ever go back." Hmmm, are we to believe that when the moon becomes full it will permanently make her a human? Alan just assumes it's some sort of "immigration problem." 

Finally, finally, about 45 minutes into the movie, our human mermaid is given her name. Well, her pronounceable name! Alan tells her she needs a name and gives her a list of very common women's names. As they're coming up on Madison Avenue, he wonders out loud where they are and says "Madison" as he's reading the street sign. His female companion tells him she likes "Madison" and wants that to be her name. He sort of laughs her off and tells her it's not a name. Well, guess what, Alan, the joke's on you because it certainly is now! This is from the Splash Wikipedia article:

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner's book Freakonomics (2006) credits the film with popularizing the name Madison for girls, as does Steven Pinker's The Stuff of Thought (2007). In the film, Hannah's character takes her name from Madison Avenue (itself named after President James Madison) after walking past a road sign. Hanks' character comments that it is not a real name as, at the time, it was a rather unusual name for a woman. However, in the years since the film was released in theaters and re-released on VHS and then DVD, the name's popularity has skyrocketed.[35]

According to the Social Security Administration, the name Madison was the 216th most popular name in the United States for girls in 1990, the 29th most popular name for girls in 1995, and the third most popular name for girls in 2000.[36] In 2005, the name cracked the top 50 most popular girls' names in the United Kingdom, and articles in British newspapers credit the film for the popularization

The third most popular name for girls born in the U.S. in the year 2000! I can believe that too! I remember this name being VERY popular around that time. If this movie gave us anything, it was the popularization of the name "Madison". So Madison is born and Alan makes a joke that it was a good thing they weren't at 149th Street.

In the middle of the night, Madison gets up and fills the tub, adding salt to it. She gets in and transforms to her mermaid form. I have to say, for the time, her fish tail and scales are very impressive. It's this beautiful red/orange color and looks very realistic. I love when she unfurls her tail at the end of the bathtub. Apparently it took five hours for Daryl Hannah to get into the tail which sounds like absolute hell. Five hours just to put the thing on, then who knows how long they film for! She had to be glued into the tail which is why it took so long. 

Alan wakes up and hears the water running in the bathroom. He knocks on the door (which is locked) and asks her what she's doing and she tells him she's taking a bath. He asks if he can come in and she tells him no, then starts to panic and gets out of the tub, but since she doesn't have legs she falls to the floor with a thud. He gets concerned and tries to open the door, but she tells him everything is fine. She's frantically trying to dry her tail so her legs will reappear. Alan is still insisting that he needs to get in there; he tells her something is wrong and she needs to open the door. I don't like Alan in this scene. Yes, I realize he is worried for her well-being, but she is obviously fine as she's talking to him so it's not like she's unconscious. He breaks the door open and finds her laying on a rug, covered in towels. We see her spin around and it is revealed she has legs. She gets up and tells him she wouldn't let him in because she was shy. He is baffled by this because she wasn't shy in the car, elevator, bedroom, or on top of the fridge. Good Lord those two sure do move fast! And they haven't even known each other for 24 hours! I'm surprised that Alan didn't notice the box of salt that was sitting on the edge of the tub. 

We return to Walter and his two moron assistants on the boat and he sees that one of them is reading The Star Confidential and the cover story is titled "Beauty Bares All at Statue of Liberty." He recognizes the woman as the mermaid he saw and demands to be taken back to shore. 

Alan brings home a gift for Madison, a baby blue Tiffany box with a white ribbon. She thinks the box is the gift and tells him it's beautiful and that she loves it, ha! He explains to her that the gift is inside so she opens it and finds two dancing figurines in a glass case. It is very twee. That's the only word I can think of to describe it. That evening the two of them are walking around and they come across a large fountain with a statue of a mermaid on a clam shell. Madison asks Alan if he likes it and he tells her he does, that it's always appealed to him. She asks him if he likes the sea and he replies no, then tells her about the accident he had on the ship when he was eight and fell overboard. (Uh, pretty sure he jumped intentionally!) She tells him "I remember", then when he gets confused by this, blames it on forgetting the word and she really meant to say "I understand." He almost tells her that when he was underwater he saw a mermaid but he doesn't admit it to her. So I guess we are to believe he's never shared his secret with anyone, though, let's be honest, nobody would believe him anyway. 

The next day, when Alan comes home from the gym, Madison has a surprise for him. He sees a couple of guys with tools and a moving trolley leaving his apartment as he's coming back. Madison covers his eyes and leads him to his bedroom and it is revealed the huge mermaid statue is at the foot of his bed. His room must be huge if there's enough room between the foot of his bed and the wall to fit this massive statue. Granted, there's not much room anymore since this huge-ass statue is taking up all the space now! Alan agrees with me since his reply is "That's big! This is very...big! It's just so big!" (Ha! Do you think Tom Hanks was sending us a subliminal message?) She tells him they were gonna tear it down so she bought it to give to him. One of my first questions of how did she pay for it is answered when he notices her necklace is missing and we learn that she traded it for the statue. Dang, that necklace must have been very valuable. But of course it's valuable; it probably has precious stones and gems from the sea that nobody has ever discovered. I bet her necklace is much more valuable than this statue and she got majorly gypped. It was pretty dumb and naive of her to trade her extremely rare necklace for a fountain that doesn't belong in a NYC apartment. (Or anywhere inside for that matter). Another question I have (one that didn't get answered) is how did she fit it through the front door of the apartment then though his bedroom door? I can assume there was a service door to the hotel and a service elevator that she was able to get the statue to the floor his apartment's on, but after that, how the hell did it even make it into his room? Did they have to take it apart? How long did that take and then to put it together? How did they fill it back with all that water? This whole thing just seems like a huge hassle that's not worth it. But I guess it was worth it to her because she tells him she traded her necklace for the fountain because she knows how much the fountain means to him and that she loves him. I don't know whether to "aww" or roll my eyes. Also, while he may like the fountain, I don't think he likes it THAT much! He tells her, "Madison, I love...this present." At first I thought he was going to say "Madison, I love you", but something was holding him back from saying that as we know he never said it to his last girlfriend and just in the previous scene he and his brother were having this very conversation, but then, like three seconds later he tells her he loves her. It was very anti-climatic. 

Walter has come to the American Museum of Natural History (I've been there!) to tell them about the mermaid. None of them believe him and are angry that he wasted their time. He decides he's going to prove to all of them that the girl in the paper is a mermaid. He's on a mission to soak Madison with water so everyone will see that he's right. He must have figured out where she was because he's waiting for them in his car outside Alan's apartment and when he sees them leave and walk down the sidewalk, he gets out of the car and retrieves two large buckets full of water from the backseat. The fact that he was driving around with two large buckets full of water is just amusing to me. He hurries after them, running through crowds of people, water sloshing from the buckets. It looked like he was doing a challenge from Survivor. He sees a blonde woman in a turquoise coat (the same color Madison is wearing) looking at a window display and throws the water on her. Of course, it's not Madison and he gets slugged by the woman's husband. 

Alan and Madison have gone to have dinner at a fancy restaurant. Alan is playing with his silverware and he accidentally sends the spoon flying to a nearby table. It reminded me of something out of Big. He tells Madison that she doesn't need to leave the country, that he could give her a job at the market or she could "marry, like, an American." It's adorable how awkward he is in this scened. I believe there's a word for this: adorkable. Thy each have a huge lobster and Madison just picks her up and starts eating it, shell and all. Um, I'm pretty sure at a fancy restaurant like this they would leave the lobster in the shell, but crack the shell for you so you wouldn't have to do that. But Madison is just biting into the shell and eating it (ugh!) and everyone, including the piano piano, who stops paying for a few seconds, is staring at her. 

After dinner, they go ice skating at Rockefeller Center (that ice rink looks so dinky!) and when they take a break, he tells her he wants to talk about what happened at the restaurant and she tells him that's how they eat lobster where she comes from. But he tells her that he wasn't talking about that, that earlier he was trying to ask her something, but "did it very badly". He wanted to know if she wanted to get married. Yes, he did a pretty poor job of asking her that. He then proposes to her and she looks very distraught and tells him "No." He asks "No? Just no? You don't wanna think about it? You don't wanna kick it around?" I mean, to be fair to Madison, they've only known each other for three days. It's a terrible idea for them to get married. She tells him she can't marry him and she can't tell him why. That has to be frustrating for Alan. He tells her that he knows she has "some big secret that you think she can't tell me, but you can." She replies she has three days left and wants to "make them wonderful." I get why Alan is frustrated, but he's being pretty pouty. They see an older, happy couple skating and she comments how happy they look and he replies they should be happy because they get to spend their lives together. He ends up upsetting her and she runs off.

It starts raining and he's looking everywhere for her. She's hiding in an alley, trying to keep dry. (Yep, that would be pretty awkward if she got caught in the rain!) She comes back to him the next day and simply tells him "Yes", then adds that before they get married, she needs to tell him everything, but she's not ready to tell him today. 

They go back to his building and get on the elevator to head up to his apartment. In the lobby, we see a guy mopping. We don't see his face, but I knew it was going to be Walter. (I was right, though the cast he was wearing on his arm probably gave it away. That guy really did a number on him.) I thought he was going to dump the dirty mop water on Madison, but I guess even he thought that was too extreme. After Madison and Alan get on the elevator he races up the stairs to their floor. He gets there before the elevator and grabs his camera which he had hiding behind a large potted plot and breaks the glass containing the firehose. He has it aimed at the elevator doors and when they open he sprays the occupants inside it. Those two people just so happen to be the same woman and her husband from earlier. What are the odds of that in a huge city like New York? Once again, the man pummels Walter.

Where are Alan and Madison, you ask? They have come back down to the lobby because Alan decides that they're going to get hitched in Maryland because you don't need a blood test there like you do in New York to get married. So this greatly confused me because why would you need a blood test to get married? Is it to make sure you're not related to your potential spouse? I looked this up and apparently it was to "prevent people with STDs from obtaining marriage licenses and passing the disease to a spouse or children of the marriage." Uh, do they realize you don't need to be married to pass it on? This is no longer the case, but it was only in 2019 where all 50 states abolished this rule. Look at that! I learned something from a forty-year-old Tom Hanks movie! 

Alan suddenly remembers that they're supposed to go to a political dinner with the POTUS as a speaker, but he says they can go after. Don't ask me why he was invited to some big fancy dinner with the President as the Guest of Honor. I'm sure it was explained, but I just forgot. But it is part of the plot, so that's why it's in here. 

At the banquet, we see Walter in the kitchen, posing as a waiter in a red coat. He tells the head chef that the union sent him. I'm not sure that's exactly how it works. Don't they need to vet these people first to make sure they're not a danger to the President? Not only that, but as the head chef, I would be concerned that one of my waiters has a broken arm, a neck brace, and one of the lenses in his glasses are shattered. Somehow, Walter has managed to sneak a hose attached to two canisters which he has hiding under his waiter's jacket and it's so obvious he's got something hiding under there. How did he even get past security with this stuff? I know it was 1984, but sheesh! Unless it was already there? I think I'm asking questions I'm not supposed to be asking. So obviously Walter is attempting to spray Madison with the hose (don't even ask me how he knew they were gonna be here; he must have just followed them), but I thought he was accidentally going to spray the President instead. (No, that one couple was not in attendance.) But the secret service are doing their job. When Walter is carrying a bowl of rolls towards Madison, one of them sees him with this huge hump under his coat and talks into his earpiece, telling the others, "Table five. Intercept busboy with suspicious hump." Just as they see him reaching for the hose that's inside his jacket, they quickly and quietly surround him and escort him out as he's telling them what he's doing has "nothing to do with the president." Ha! Like they believe that. 

During the president's speech, Madison tells Alan that it's time for her to tell him. He's surprised she wants to do it now, and frankly, so am I. She doesn't want to do it in the dining room with all these people (good call), so they get up to leave. Walter is outside with the secret service team and the press when they walk out. Alan sees him and tells Madison that he knows that guy. He remembers seeing him on the beach on Cape Cod. Walter sees them and he grabs the hose to spray Madison. Guess the secret service didn't do a good job of restraining him! I was a little confused why she didn't run away when she saw him reaching for it, then figured she probably didn't know what it was until he started spraying her. She falls and all the cameras are flashing. It makes sense now why they have this random banquet with the President; they needed the media there to capture this. Everyone is looking at her with shocked expressions and the camera pans back to reveal she has transferred to a mermaid. She's calling for Alan to help her, but he can only stare in shock at her. The secret service take her to a research facility at the Natural History Museum that is heavily guarded. 

They must have also taken Alan (whether he went willingly or they had to force him, we never see) because the next scene shows him in a tank of water. He is standing, completely naked, covering his groin with his hands. There are wires to monitor him. I guess since he was with Madison they think he might be a merman. It's hilarious when he yells, "I am not a fish!" We soon find out he's been in that tank for TWELVE HOURS so I can't blame him for being more than a little agitated. The scientists bring in Madison because they want to see some "interaction". It soon becomes clear to them that Alan is just a mere man (not a merman!) and the next thing he knows, he's being let out of a van, blindfolded, at his apartment building. He is surrounded by reporters ready to pounce and ask him about the mermaid, but he is saved by Freddie who pulls up in his car and drives them to their business. Everyone there is staring at him and Freddie says "What are you looking at? You've never seen a guy who slept with a fish before?" I mean, when you say it like that, ew. Also, I don't think mermaids would appreciate being called fish and she was technically a human when she was with him as she had legs and other parts of the right anatomy, I assume. So she was 100% a human when he was with her; he never "slept with a fish". 

Alan is upset he met a woman that he really liked, but she isn't even (truly) a human. Freddie tells him he's lucky that he even met someone to make him feel that way and not everyone is as lucky as he is. 

Walter is in the lab where they have Madison in the tank, hooked up to all kinds of machines for testing. He starts to grow a conscious and thinks she looks a little pale. The main scientist, Dr Ross, wants to do a few more tests, than thinks she'll be ready for "the internal examination." Yikes! Walter questions this and Dr. Ross tells him he wants to study her pulmonary system and reproductive organs among other things. Actually, it would be fascinating to know know how a mermaid breathes.

Alan finds Walter who is feeling guilty about what he did. He apologizes and said he did it because he had to prove to people he wasn't crazy. He tells Alan he can help him get into the lab to see her. We next see Alan and Freddie dressed in lab coats, following Walter into the museum. Before they enter the restricted area, Walter tells the posted officer there that he is with "Doctors Jarred and Johannsen from the Stockholm Institute." The guard says he thought they were coming in later with Dr. Ross, but Walter tells him that was just to fool the press. The guard seems content with this answer and is about to let them in, but then he tells the brothers that he just so happens to be half-Swedish (of course he is) and starts talking to them in Swedish. The brothers reply "Ja!" when he asks how their trip was. This sort of raises a bit of suspicion in the guard and in Swedish, he asks, "What are two Swedish scientists doing so far from Sweden?" (What, Swedish scientists can't leave their country to study something they might be experts in? This is a really stupid question, I'm sorry.) Freddie replies, in Swedish, "Hey, baby! I got a twelve inch penis." Uh....for some reason, this explains everything to the guard and he lets them through the secured door. The hell? If anything, that should make him even more suspicious. And in case you're wondering how Freddie knew how to say that in Swedish, it's because it's from a Swedish porno he's seen at least 500 times, so he's memorized certain lines. Freddie is a bit of a pervert. When we first meet him as a child in the flashback on the boat, he's dropping change, then using it as an excuse to look up women's skirts when he's behind down. It's pretty cringe-y when he's a ten-year-old child doing this, but then they show him doing it at the wedding he attends with Alan at the beginning of the movie as a thirty-something man and it's downright pathetic. (Not to mention offensively gross). Also, nobody seems to notice he's doing it and I'm shocked he didn't get bitch slapped. 

There's another guard posted at the door of the room Madison is in and they manage to get through without any questions. Madison and Alan share a passionate kiss and Alan jokingly asks her if the big secret she's been keeping from him is that she's a mermaid or is there something else. She tells him not to feel guilty about not loving her anymore. Uh, he's happy to see you and he ran up to kiss you; obviously he loves you. She realizes that he does love her and this makes her very happy. 

To distract the guard, Walter comes out, all panicky and demands him to stand back. He goes back in and comes out second later with Alan and they are carrying what is clearly Madison, but she' covered in towels and rags. They tell him it's the other doctor and that when he went to examine the mermaid, "these rays came out of her eyes." The guard is about to go in, but they warn him not to or "she'll melt your face right off." Walter also instructs him not to let anyone else in the room and tells him he'll be back with nuclear weapons. I'm surprised the guy didn't notice the difference in weight (the person they were carrying was clearly not an overweight man!) or ask to double check to see who they were carrying out. Once Madison is in the passenger seat of Alan's car, she takes off her disguise. She's also been dried off so she has legs. 

We see Dr. Ross with the two actual Swedish scientists. When the first guard realizes who they are, he tells that that Dr. Kornbluth left with what he thought were the two visiting Swedes not that long ago. They immediately check the room with the tank and Freddie is sitting with his feet in the water and has a fishing pole. (Where did they find a fishing pole?) Once they realize their mermaid is missing, everyone is sent out to find her and bring her back. 

They soon realize they're being pursued and when they're in an alley, Walter tells Alan to stop the car so he can get out and slow them down. As he tells Madison, "I caused all this. Now, I'm gonna finish it." He's let out and Alan and Madison continue driving away. Walter stands in front of an oncoming armored truck and puts his hand out as though he's a traffic cop attempting to stop traffic. The car doesn't show any signs of slowing down or stopping so he has to jump out of the way. 

After a few minutes of being chased, Alan drives near the Hudson River and they get out and embrace. Madison tells him, "I was ready to stay with you forever." He tells her that since they know who she is, they're never going to leave her alone. And you know that everyone in the world knows about her, or will soon know about her. I don't think groundbreaking news like this traveled as fast as it does now than it did in 1984, but the entire world will soon find out about this. He says he wishes he could go with her (do you really, Alan?) and she tells him he can. This is when he finds out that she was the young mermaid he saw in the water when he "fell" overboard. I'm honestly shocked he didn't figure this out already when he found out Madison was a mermaid. Like, duh, of course she was the young blonde mermaid he saw when he was a child! She asks him if he felt safe when he was with her and he says he did and she says this is because he was with her. Uh, he was only in the water for less than thirty seconds. I think going to live underwater permanetly is quite a different thing! You know, Walter really did mess everything up. If it hadn't been for him, Alan and Madison could have been living a happy life together on land. Alan thinks everything will work out though. He can go live with Madison in the depths of the ocean and come back and visit Freddie at Christmas. Just like Hannah Montana, he'll get the best of both worlds! Madison bursts his bubble when she tells him he'll never be able to return. I'm not sure if this is because they'll still be looking for him or he will have adapted to life under the sea ("is better than anything they got up there!") and will physically be unable to come back to land, but I'm guessing it's the former because Madison was able to come to land with no problems. Now Alan isn't so sure anymore and Madison realizes he's not coming with her and she tells him she understands. The trucks and cars and helicopters are getting closer and she dives into the river. 

It takes a few seconds for Alan to realize he does want to be with her and jumps into the river. He still can't swim (great idea going to live with your mermaid girlfriend in the water when you can't swim) and immediately starts sinking. The tac team have now put on their scuba gear and are diving in to retrieve him. Madison swims up to Alan and kisses him and I guess her underwater kiss has granted him the ability to breathe underwater and swim. That's one powerful kiss! They fight off the men and swim away. Apparently the Hudson River is full of coral and tropical fish! As they're swimming, a schmaltzy song starts playing and immediately I was reminded of the schmaltzy song that is played at the end of Teen Wolf. Here are the lyrics that play while Alan and Madison are swimming:

One fine day love came for me. And love was rare as love can be. I saw stars shining in clear blue skies. We flowed together once and forever. Love came for me. One fine night love let us see how far we'll go, how good we'll be. We saw a world no one ever saw before. It was the world love can start with a beat of a heart. Love came for me.

Who wrote that? A five-year-old? That being said, the lyrics to the Teen Wolf song are worse if you can believe it. 

They reach some kind of Atlantis-esque underwater empire and the movie ends. Will Alan ever evolve and get a fish tail or will he be stuck with legs? Also, I have a hard time believing that Madison will be able to protect him if they're attacked by a shark. I realize he may be happy with his decisions because he loves Madison, but, really, what is there to do in the ocean? I feel like he's going to get bored very soon once the thrill of being with Madison wears off. It's not like you can read or watch TV in the ocean! They don't even have music (at least Ariel and her sisters had that to entertain them!). Call my cynical, but this just seems like the worst idea in the history of mankind to follow a woman you've only known for six days. It would be crazy enough if he had only known her for six days and moved to a different country, but she lives in the freaking ocean! Hell, it would be crazy is he had known her for six days and went sailing around the world with her on a boat, but, again, she lives IN the ocean. There's no way he's going to be happy with his decision!