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David Poland

By David Poland

Too Soon? Too Much?

Some people have said that some of the materials involving Universal

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31 Responses to “Too Soon? Too Much?”

  1. Eddie says:

    I disagree, Dave. I think you can swipe at Universal.
    In the the end they’re making money off of a very recent tragedy. That just doesn’t sit well. And donating a whopping 10% from a whole three days gross seems more patronizing than genuine (won’t this just be a tax write-off anyway?).
    If you want, you can be really cynical and look at it as a marketing ploy. “Better see United opening weekend, guys! Your money will go right to the families! But only this weekend! Hurry! Offer expires soon! Act now!”
    Both Uni and Greengrass have every right to produce what they want, but I don’t think they can play victim if they get criticized for it. They made the choice to make United. No one forced them.

  2. James Leer says:

    It might be too soon, but I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt that they’ve come up with an intelligent production. As for the criticism, is there a win/win way for them to market this?
    Now, if Bruckheimer had been involved…

  3. Eddie says:

    If Brukheimer were involved, he’d probably cast Nicholas Cage. Can you imagine that? Nicholas Cage in a 9/11 movie?

  4. Jimmy the Gent says:

    I guess Eddie doesn’t know his movie history. Let’s see, Hollywood was cranking out movies about Pearl Harbor and WWII DURING the war. The Breen Berets and Limbo were made during the Vietnam War. Dirty Harry used a character that was inspired by a killer who was still at large (Sodiac). What else?
    I think Uni is doing the best they can under the circumstances. Greengrass is a world-class director. He’s deserved the right to tackle this issue, just like Stone. If anything, I think Stone is getting more crap even though his movie looks to be the more restained. (Reports say Stone is not going to use any footage of the towers fall. There’s falling-tower footage in the United 93 trailer.)

  5. Crow T Robot says:

    I’m interested in seeing what the irony level of this film will be. The straightforward “united we stand” thing that made the story into legend would be redundant right now.
    Maybe Greengrass will have fun drawing parallels to another group of terrorists who hijacked this very same country earlier that very same year.

  6. Jimmy the Gent says:

    Crow speaks the truth. He’s the man and we’re all just visiting.

  7. Eddie says:

    Last year FX ran a show about the Iraq war during the war as well. History has nothing to do with it. The point is Uni and Greengrass are making money essentially exploiting 9/11.
    Don’t you think saying Uni is doing the best they can under the circumstances makes it seem like someone else has placed them in an uncomfortable position? But it’s not like anyone forced them to release the movie. They made the choice, they think it’ll be profitable (I imagine they’re correct), so they have to take the heat.

  8. Jimmy the Gent says:

    The cicumstances are people who on one hand go to big-budget action movies that blow shit up without much in the way of consequecnes, then get all self-righteous when a movie dares to tackle a serious topic and explore the consequences when people try to blow shit up for real.

  9. Jimmy the Gent says:

    Also, that FX show was a gloss job. It gave the appearance of tackling real issues when it just made sure everyone went to their neutral corners by the end of each episode.

  10. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    That was a good on Eddie! (the Nic Cage joke)
    It seems odd that people seem to be getting themselves up in arms about this film (and World Trade Centre out later in the year) yet I don’t remember this sort of ruckus when the HUNDREDS of books and television specials were being produced. Weren’t the publishers and networks making money off of those?
    That Greengrass’ film is actually taking the matter seriously, presenting it in an interesting matter and so forth, should rise it above the many many other things that have dealt with this subject.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    I have a hard time taking the ‘profit’ argument seriously. Did anyone complain that Hotel Rwanda was profiting from dead Africans or that Munich was profiting from the dead athletes (okay, someone probably did…but were they taken seriously?) It’ll all depend on whether the movie is good or not.
    Meanwhile, the marketing has been a little tacky…the “Look Inside” is obviously an attempt to preempt criticism and feels a little clumsy…this should perhaps have been a Focus movie instead of a Big Universal movie.

  12. montrealkid says:

    It’s not so much the profiteering from 9/11 that bothers me as there are far worse cases to be made, however, turning the images of the burning World Trade Center towers into a “hook” for the theatrical trailer I felt as a bit tasteless. It’s not like they needed those images to sell the movie….

  13. Me says:

    I don’t think the question is “should they be making money off 9/11?” (as the posts above have pointed out that there are plenty of other examples of making money off tragedy that haven’t garnered a lot of criticism), but “is it too soon?”
    Personally, I got over the “too soon” feeling after Bush dragged 9/11 into every connection to the Iraq War that he could. But there are a large number of people who feel that it is too soon, and the idea of a movie makes them uncomfortable.
    But that’s exactly why we need a piece of art (and I think that’s what this is, because Greengrass has good cred for turning history into art, and that this is unlikely to make a ton of money) about 9/11 – to make people uncomfortable. I think that’s how you know a piece of art is successful (well, one way). And maybe if people are uncomfortable, it’ll lead to conversations that force people to turn the corner from tragedy to history.

  14. Chucky in Jersey says:

    “United 93” is not about art and it’s much more than profiteering.
    Universal is now owned by (pro-war) NBC, itself part of (pro-Bush) General Electric. The US government and the US media are beating the drums for a war against Iran. The release of “United 93” is being timed to whip up support for a US military invasion of Iran.
    You think the public is gonna bite for it given the way things are going in Iraq?

  15. Hopscotch says:

    I don’t buy that at all Chucky. I agree that Condi and Cheney are trying to whip up support with Iran, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
    I think what Universal doing is classy, and I think it might inspire other media companies to donate to this organization, along with citizens like me. I had never heard of the foundation until I read it in connection with this film.
    You can’t just film certain historice events, and argue that these over here are out of bounds. But which film do you think will be a better acknowledgement to the courage displayed by citizens on 9/11. This or the Stone movie?

  16. martin says:

    i can’t even begin to fathom why anyone would think a film by Greengrass would be anything approaching “art”. He’s done 2 major films, one of which was a huge hollywood sellout. You look at the 2 major 9/11 films, and Stone’s is the only one of legitimate interest. United 93 couldn’t be any more by the book and uninteresting. And perhaps even volatile if you think about it – a film about United 93 that doesn’t even address the significant reports/1st person accounts that dispute the “official” findings. If anyone is expecting “art” out of this film, they’ve got another thing coming.

  17. Josh Massey says:

    Sorry, Martin – but what “1st person” accounts have been made regarding Flight 93? Did you hold a seance?

  18. RyanK says:

    I worked on ABC’s 9/11 mini-series last summer and I am going to proclaim, right here, that it will be the definitive 9/11 movie. Why? Because it tells the story from the first WTC attack in ’93 and charts the course to 9/11. It does not linger on or exploit the unfortunate victims of the story. Instead it serves as an weaving narrative through the bungling government and the bullshit politics in the various law enforcement agencies that failed to protect America. The script does not take sides, though it does blast the Clinton government for waffling when it had the opportunity to capture Bin Laden. I think that will be the most controversial element of the film — who looks good and who looks bad. Best of all, this is not Nic Cage buried under rubble set to Barber’s “Adagio For Strings”.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    Sorry, also, Martin, but can you elaborate on “by the book and uninteresting”?
    To me, a movie with no stars shot in an intense, handheld manner is not by the book. Maybe it is for you, but I’d like to hear more.
    The Bourne Supremacy, while a big Hollywood action movie, was superior to the original and actually displayed a conscience.

  20. James Leer says:

    It’s also heavily improvised (supposedly), so that intrigues me.

  21. SJRubinstein says:

    When I saw “Inside Man” at Mann’s Chinese on Saturday afternoon, the “United 93” trailer played and the second it was over, at least two or three different people in the audience loudly booed. Just as it was over, one more fellow called out, “You’re being lied to!!” Not entirely sure what he was referring to, but I was a bit surprised.

  22. martin says:

    SJ, many if not the majority of americans feel that the official 9/11 story is incomplete at best and false at worst. The Flight 93 story has been torn apart on the news and internet for years since by eyewitness accounts that dispute the government’s findings. The entire “Flight 93” storyline is predicated on a situation that may or may not have ever happened, so of course many people will react negatively to is. Stone won’t have that problem since his story has much more documentation to back it up. With Flight 93 you get the feeling the filmmakers at taking the easy route to cheap emotion. Audiences are smarter than that.

  23. jeffmcm says:

    Do you have anything to back up your ‘many if not the majority’ statement? True, the official story has taken a lot of hits by conspiracy/coverup theorists, but as far as I know it’s still generally accepted…unless you know something I don’t.

  24. Nicol D says:

    I think this film deserves a chance. If it is a good, noble and respectable film then it is not too soon.
    If it is an exploitable film than uses cheap shock, than 20 years from now would be too soon.
    I do not think it is merely a money grab. It is a story that deserves to be told, sooner or later. It will not be the definitive 911 film (could there be), but at least it will begin to start the journey.
    It will sad if this film is denounced because conspiracy theorists (that means you Mr. Sheen) are beginning to take hold.

  25. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Chucky, I didn’t get the memo that Working Title (ya know, the people who produced this movie alongside Love Actually, Bridget Jones, etc) were pro-war, pro-bush, pro-anything.
    Greengrass has made the similar Bloody Sunday, and one of 04’s Summer’s best The Bourne Supremacy, so I don’t see why he shouldn’t make it. He’s not American either, which could help.
    And, how can you say Martin that most people in America consider the events of Flight 93 fabricated. It’s pretty obvious that there is a generally accepted blueprint for what occured.

  26. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Why the boos for the “United 93” trailer? The public doesn’t want any more cinematic jingoism shoved down their throat. 3 other movies will open opposite it.
    I just brought up the Universal website and found “United 93” is name-checking “Bloody Sunday” — which was an arthouse title in the US. Name-checking is the fastest way to spell “FLOP” no matter what the fanboys and pinheads say.
    Kami: Working Title is a British company, thus it would be pro-Blair. New Labour is just as bigoted, crooked, and fond of fascism as the Republican Party. Why else are the Brits holding secret talks for a US war against Iran? (That last point is reported today by the Sunday Telegraph, a Tory-leaning newspaper.)

  27. jeffmcm says:

    Call me a fanboy and/or pinhead because I have never understood your vendetta against name-checking. Hardly anyone saw Bloody Sunday, but those who did will probably be more interested to see United 93.
    Chucky, don’t you think it’s also possible that boos for the trailer were about the movie being possibly “too soon”? And since when are people not into jingoism (which I do not think this film is illustrative of anyway)?
    Oh, and since when are all British companies by default ‘pro-Blair’?
    You gotta stop jumping to some of these conclusions, you’re kind of making liberals look bad.

  28. James Leer says:

    Seriously, Chucky, did name-checking kill your father?

  29. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    “Working Title is a British company, thus it would be pro-Blair.”
    hah, so every American film company is pro-Bush? You will even say that’s not true.

  30. jeffmcm says:

    Oh yeah, another thing: is the fact that 3 other movies are opening opposite United 93 a sign that (a) American moviegoers/other studios are combating purported jingoism by releasing it in a crowded period, or (b) Universal doesn’t know what to do with this movie and wants to bury it the week before Mission Impossible 3 comes out? I suspect the latter.

  31. Lynn says:

    On just a personal level, I don’t want to see this movie. Just watching the trailer made me uncomfortable… and not in the “you’re watching something that’s supposed to make you uncomfortable” way.
    Watching a documentary is one thing. Watching a fictionalized version of it, with people who are now dead played by actors, is just another. I don’t really want to be reminded of how I felt that day, and that’s how the trailer made me feel.
    I like Greengrass’s work, but I just… no. Not going to see it.

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