EAGLE EYE

eagle-eye

Overall ImpressionI don’t care what anyone thinks… I enjoyed it! Solid Spielbergian fun. ‘Nuff said.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who’s your main character? Jerry Shaw

What’s he trying to accomplish? Professional: Stop ARIA, the AI defense mainframe. Personal: win over Rachel. Private: Find out why his twin brother was killed and prove to himself that he isn’t useless.

Who’s trying to stop him? ARIA, Special Agent Thomas Morgan, and many, many other people along the way.

What happens if he fails? The leadership of the American government is killed, the country falls into disarray, ARIA stays active… Oh yeah, Jerry, Rachel and her son will die.

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

OrphanJerry has cut himself off from his parents, stopped speaking to his twin brother, and lives alone. But when he’s labeled a terrorist after finding nearly a million dollars in the bank, he can’t turn to anybody! In other words: uber-orphan.

WandererNot only does Jerry have no idea what’s going on, but all the main characters have questions. Special Agent Thomas Morgan is trying to figure out what Jerry’s up to, while Jerry and fellow fugitive Rachel find their lives controlled by a mysterious caller with god-like control over all things electrical. In following the caller’s orders, they learn about each other, discover that they aren’t the only pawns in this game, and wonder ‘why them?’

Warrior When Jerry and Rachel discover that the mysterious caller is ARIA – a super computer whose apparent goal is to help the American people, Jerry and Rachel more actively fight to follow its goals. They have to elude agent Morgan, battle their way into the Pentagon, and eventually fight ARIA itself once they discover its terrible endgame.

Martyr – Jerry is captured, but Agent Morgan believes his story and sacrifices himself so that Jerry can stop ARIA. In another martyr beat, Jerry fires a weapon inside the White House to stop ARIA’s attack coming to fruition, saving everybody, but getting himself shot in the process.

AND, IN THE END…

A few people I invited to see this movie didn’t want to, claiming that it was all one big cliché that they’d seen before. Having seen the movie, I don’t totally agree with that, but it’s not an unfair view to take. What this does is highlight the importance of paying attention to clichés when making movies.

The term ‘cliché’ is one that carries a certain amount of subjectivity, but it has also become somewhat muddy over time. Clichés can be seen as conventions that were once fresh and innovative, but which have since come to be tired and overused. That said, what might be one person’s cliché could, for another person, be a necessary component to place a movie within a specific genre. Another idea to consider is that clichés become clichés because they work.

In my mind, clichés become most useful when they’re associated with audience expectation. Really cynical audience member: “What’s the point in paying money to see a movie if you know what’s going to happen, since it’s bound to be like all the others that came before it?”

Movies have been around for a while now, and surprising an audience is becoming less about creating new ideas and more about finding new takes on old ones. With this in mind, clichés can be used as a means of subverting audience expectation, and making movies fresh again. DIE HARD is a great example of this. Traditional action heroes never got hurt, their hair was always perfect, and killing people was about as difficult as eating breakfast. Enter John McClain. He hates that he has to save Nakatomi Plaza, gets glass in his feet, and is probably more beat up than any of the thugs.

Then again, some clichés never get tired, and even the tired ones have their reasons for being used. They’re just good.

Yes, EAGLE EYE’s logic is stretched to the limits of believability (and then some). Yes, the President’s in trouble again and only somebody not in law enforcement can save him.  And yes, that somebody is a nobody.

So what? I’m a nobody and I’ll never get tired of the idea that someone like me can save the world.

Dan Pilditch

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  1. T. January 10, 2009 at 10:58 pm #

    the close ups in this movie killed me. after 10 minutes of seing just their faces on this giant screen i wanted to run to the back of the room. why so many? it didnt add any intensity at the begining when nothing was happening yet and then for the rest of the movie… well let’s say an action movie doesnt need close ups every other minute.. dumb DOP decision.
    despite this weird artistic choice the movie wasnt bad.

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