Are there SIGNS of intelligent life?

Do you believe that aliens from another planet are leaving “calling cards” letting us know that they are out there? In M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs”, Academy Award Winner Mel Gibson (Mad Max and Lethal Weapon) stars as a clergyman who changes professions to become a farmer after the tragic death of his wife. Gibson has given up on religion and focuses more on his family and his farm. Joaquin Phoenix (Parenthood and Gladiator) plays Gibson’s brother, who also gives up his career, in this case minor league baseball, to work on the farm and help raise the kids.

Their lives would change when a crop circle appears during the night in their cornfield. Rory Culkin (yes, its Macauley’s brother) plays Gibson’s son and tries to convince his father and uncle that aliens have come to invade Earth. As Phoenix quickly believes his nephew, Gibson is left debating whether or not to believe his faith or the events taking place.

Shyamalan’s message was not clear in this movie. Was he trying to theorize what the crop circles were or was he trying to remake Steven Spielberg’s classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind? There were scenes, like when aliens tried to get into the house with all the doors and windows boarded up that suggested a remake. Not really seeing what the aliens look like until the very end mirrored Close Encounters.

There were also some humorous scenes in the film. Most of the comic relief came from Phoenix, especially when Culkin’s character showed Phoenix how to make a hat out of tin foil so the aliens couldn’t read human minds.

The movie has some scenes of suspense, but it is very watered down for me. For two better alien invasion movies, rent Close Encounters of the Third Kind and V (the TV miniseries).

I give the movie two hoots out of five.