April 29, 2006

Flight 93 Crashes In … New York?


There are various points of contention over the new Universal movie, United Flight 93.

WAPO, for example, focuses on the extent to which Hollywood invented key parts of the story.  Slate wonders whether Flight 93, and this third dramatization of it, has been exploited as 9/11’s “feel good” moment.  The NYT, among others, questions the intensity of the film, especially the trailer.  For the BAG’s part, the concern is over the use (or, overuse) of Trade Center imagery.

I accept that the director and most people who were involved with the film had the best of intentions.  I also understand that the attack on the WTC — and the pictures of that attack — are intrinsic to (and a way to “brand”) a 9/11 story.  From the trailer and, especially, this main marketing graphic, however, it seems that the WTC is now being victimized in a commercial way.

If you watch the trailer (on the film’s website), there are three separate sequences showing the towers.  In the first, one tower is burning.  In the next, a tower is shown immediately preceding impact.  In the third, we see that tower immediately following impact.  Heightening the intensity (beyond being subjected to an actual crash) is the fact each view draws from a different source, and employs a different scale, angle or context.  Also amping the shock is the fact we are exposed to an impact after we’ve already seen a building burning.

It’s one thing to use New York as a partial reference for what occurred in Pennsylvania.  It’s another thing, however, to take this scale of liberty.

(Flight 93 Trailer – Quicktime format)

(image: united93movie.com)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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