World Trade Center (2006)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
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Overall Rating 60%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,703
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On September, 11th 2001, after the terrorist attack to the World Trade Center, the building collapses over the rescue team from the Port Authority Police Department. Will Jimeno and his sergeant John McLoughlin are found alive trapped under the wreckage while the rescue teams fight to save them. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: August 11, 2006
Let me shoot from the hip - September 11 was a tragedy, one of the greatest in the history of American civilization. Lots of innocent people died, and lots and lots of brave men and women saved as many as they could. When I first heard that Oliver Stone was directing a film entitled "World Trade Center", it roused my interest. After all, this is the same guy who brought us "JFK" and "Natural Born Killers" - one of the most controversial directors of all-time. What was he going to do? Was he going to explore the theory that 9/11 was planned by our own government? Was he going to show the lack of preparation on the part of the government? What was Oliver Stone going to do with this material that would make me want to see it? I had no idea. Even with early reviews, all I was hearing was that this was not your typical Oliver Stone film and that it was one of the best films of the year. I was psyched. I was fully prepared to watch one of the greatest cinematic experiences of the year, possibly ever. What did I get? One of the worst films of the year - a cheesy, washed out, miserable experience that rivals some of the worst of the movie industry. The only thing more tragic that my wasting eight bucks to see this pile of nothingness was the event itself. September 11 touched the hearts of all American. All "World Trade Center" touched was my gag reflex.

Nicolas Cage stars as Sergeant John McLoughlin, a New York City Port Authority policeman who, along with Will Jimeno (Michael Pena), finds himself stuck beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center collapse. Both men are critically injured as they talk with one another to pass the time. On the surface, we see the effect this event has on the world, especially their wives - Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal. We are even introduced to several side characters, including a gung-ho marine who drives into the Big Apple to help any way he can, a paramedic and firefighter who work together to free the trapped men, and the countless men and women who gave their labor and their lives to help as many people as possible. That is what "World Trade Center" was about. However, this is not an Oliver Stone film. I don't mean this is not a typical Oliver Stone film - I mean this is not a film he should have directed. He has no knack for this kind of heavy drama. It comes off as a CBS movie of the week. "World Trade Center" was so bogged down with terrible dialogue, cheesy exchanges, and stereotypical rhetoric, that I found myself wondering whether or not the real survivors of this film could have ever been so washed out and redundant. I hope not. That would be a true tragedy.

Let's get the ball rolling with the bad - and, boy, was there lots of it. The script. This is easily the worst script for a mainstream motion picture directed by an A-list director that I have ever encountered. The character of the marine is so utterly pointless and ridiculous that it made my stomach hurt, especially when he utters the line, "It's going to take a lot of good men to avenge this." Thank you, Gomer Pyle, for that worthy assessment. That same marine gets even worse dialogue throughout, as he and William Mapother search for survivors much like they did in "Titanic". And, earlier in the film, when we see the person leap to his death from the top of the towers, "Titanic" is once again called to memory. The only thing "World Trade Center" was missing to make it more like "Titanic" (even Danny Nucci popped up) was a naked picture of Kate Winslet, and the only reason we didn't see that was because it was crushed in the rubble. I sat through the two hours of this film wondering what I had done to deserve such a miserable movie going experience. On the drive home, I started wondering how so many critics could be praising this waste of time. September 11 deserves to be tackled in far better terms that this. Just replace Nicolas Cage with David Hasselhoff and Maria Bello with Valerie Bertinelli and this is the same film on the Lifetime Movie Network.

More bad. Oliver Stone has obviously reached the bottom rung of the ladder in his career and I don't think he can ever recover. Though there were bodies everywhere, the only thing dying in this film was Stone's career, and not even the men and women of the New York City police department could save it. It's like Oliver Stone woke up and thought -what kind of film should I tackle that will revive my career? He knew that making a film about 9/11 would be something that everyone would be required to enjoy, or else feel un-American for doing so. Smart thinking, Ollie, but it didn't work for me. I knew what you were trying to do and I think you should be bent over someone's knee and smacked with a reed until you learn that American tragedies are not best served as flaky, unoriginal melodrama. Renny Harlin could have handled this better. And, if the cheesiness wasn't enough, he added Jesus! I kid you not - Jesus made a cameo in this film. I guess "The Passion of the Christ" wasn't enough for him and he needed this to be eligible for his SAG card. When I saw Jesus pop up in the film, I knew there was little to no hope left. But this Jesus look like he was holding a canteen and looking as if he had a 100 watt light bulb shoved up his butt. Our Lord and Savior needs a better agent.

But, it was not all bad. Nicolas Cage did what he could with a role that could have been played by anyone...literally...anyone. He did nothing except 'almost' die ten times. Michael Pena was enjoyable enough as Jimeno, but you know what - he was just a little too talky down in the rubble. I probably would have tried to shoot myself too if I was trapped with someone who kept singing the theme song to "Starsky & Hutch". Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal both handled their roles admirably, but there is only so much the worried wife can do, other than mistake drivers by for people coming to tell them 'the news'. Stephen Dorff pops up towards the end of the film, but has nothing to do but look dirty and sweat. Viola Davis has a nice scene in the waiting room at the end of the film, but even she looks like she was only placed there for racial balance. And, good old Michael Shannon as Marine Dave Karnes - this is, arguably, the worst role ever written for an actor. Sorry - this is also part of the bad, but the good ran out. Shannon is so, so bad in this - the dialogue feels like it came off the History Channel. Shannon plays the role like Bela Lugosi with a 2 x 4 shoved up his butt. His performance alone would cause any logical movie goer to loathe this film. Alas, this is not a perfect world, and most will walk out think how powerful the film was. Give me a break. The only thing powerful about "World Trade Center" was its ability to shatter my bowels.

In conclusion, "World Trade Center" was a mess. It seemed more disrespectful to me to have such a 'far out there' version of what happened. None of this seemed believable to me because of the way in which it was portrayed. September 11 happened and we all have to deal with that, but this is not the way. Oliver Stone should be ashamed for taking such a horrific event and trying to use it to re-energize his career. "Alexander" made more sense that this thing did, and it didn't even have to have Jesus. "World Trade Center" is the worst film of 2006, and one of the biggest disasters I have seen on screen in a long, long time. I might turn out to be the only film critic in the country who hates this film this badly, but I don't care. I don't think respecting the events of 9/11 means I need to hold back from my opinion on this film. I don't go to the theatre to be patronized, and I don't appreciate Oliver Stone thinking he can do that. The World Trade Centers are gone. We must accept that. Now, sadly, so is Oliver Stone.

BuryMeAlive #1: BuryMeAlive - added 08/13/2006, 06:21 PM
I haven't seen the movie, but the trailer was the cheesiest thing I have ever seen.
BuryMeAlive #2: BuryMeAlive - added 10/21/2008, 02:45 PM
I have seen the movie, and it's like the worst thing ever.
Bliss From A Dead Embrace #3: Bliss From A Dead Embrace - added 01/30/2009, 02:27 AM
I lived through this shit and was around when it all went down. The movie didn't come close to describing how horrible it was. Dedicated to two brave cops so that's a plus but I mean no film could describe the horror that truly embraced New York City during the events of 9/11. I give it a 4/10 solely because the films message and intentions were in the right place and the actors did a somewhat decent job of portraying their characters.
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