The Althouses, mother and son, are unimpressed.
I'm not blown away, but I don't think it's as bad as they make it out to be. First of all, it's a trailer, not a film, so bashing Oliver Stone seems a bit premature. Yes, the trailer itself is a bit "maudlin," as Mama Althouse says, and yes, the music is overly schmalzy, as Chris Althouse notes, but to go from that to ouright derision is a little much, no? Chris in particular wants you to know that he's too sophisticated to fall for all the little Hollywood tricks:
Soft, pretty little piano chords play over images of the sun rising--the morning of September 11th. Yes, we know that it was a nice day before the attacks started. An American flag hanging out an apartment building feels anachronistic, given that this is the pre-9/11 world we're seeing.Oooooookay. "Yes, we know that it was a nice day before the attacks started"? A snarky comment about a shot of the sun rising in the morning? Are you kidding me? And, um, people did hang American flags in the "pre-9/11 world," as unfashionable as that may seem to the tragically hip.
Cage gives a morning roll call speech to some in the NY police department. "The color for the day is green," he says. The color for the day is green? Please tell me the NYPD does not really begin their work day with their "color for the day." I'm sorry, I thought this was the police department, not kindergarten. When's nap time, by the way? If there's some inside meaning to that phrase that I'm not aware of, please let me know.NYPD's color for the day refers to a method of recognizing undercover police officers. It's an odd line for the trailer, but that doesn't excuse showing your ignorance by talking about kindergarten and nap time. It's not that there's any reason Chris should have know this, it's the tone of superiority he takes that's irksome.
A surprisingly fake-looking shadow of one of the planes passes over a New York building, juxtaposed in the same shot with a nearby billboard for Zoolander--starring Ben Stiller. I suppose the billboard is supposed to remind you of what was happening back in 2001, in order to give you a cultural frame of reference. Good thing that's there; it really helps me place myself back in that former, 2001 world.Is it me, or are we just looking for reasons to make fun of the trailer now?
Professor Althouse goes one better, giving us a complete analysis of Stone's mindset:
I believe that in this case "maudlin and sentimental" is an expression of Stone's low opinion of the intelligence and sensibility of Americans. He's talking down to us and thinks 9/11 has turned us into simple-minded sentimentalists. He may also have that attitude that Americans were admirable right after 9/11, in the immediate pain of the events, when we concentrated on grief and helping victims, but that we subsequently lost our way (by fighting back). The sentimentalism thus essentially expresses opposition to the war on terrorism.Once again, I merely point out that this is a trailer! Why not wait to see the film before you say things like Stone is "talking down to us" and that he's expressing "opposition to the war on terrorism?" He may well be doing both of those things, but making that call based on a two minute edited clip is silly.
I'm not defending the film here: how could I, when I haven't seen it? But that's the whole point, isn't it? World Trade Center may turn out to be everything that the Althouses say, but as the saying goes, you can't judge a film by its trailer.
What strikes me the most is a line of text at the end of the trailer: "The world saw evil that day." I'm shocked at the lack of nuance here: calling something "evil" is reflective of a simple-minded notion of the world, an unfortunate tendency to view things in black and white. What about root causes? What about America's imperialistic and hegemonistic foreign policy? Saying we saw "evil that day" sounds like, oh, I don't know, something George Bush would say! The horror...the horror.