Everyone in the world knows about the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. With films hitting the big screen in 2006, I guess the studios thought time enough had gone by to start making movies on the tragedy. World Trade Center is based on the attacks on the World Trade Center, as obvious by its name, but makes mention of the other attacks of the day. I canï¿½t comment on the realism of the movie pertaining to the individuals depicted in the film (John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno) but they were involved with the production of the film, and since film is based on their accounts of the day I could imagine itï¿½s very realistic. There are a few factual inaccuracies regarding some of the events of the day, but nothing major.
World Trade Center opens on the morning of September 11, 2001 when everyone was going about his or her life without any idea of the tragedy that was about to strike. You get a glimpse into the lives of John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) and Will Jimeno (Michael Pena) two Port Authority police officers and family men as they leave for work. The two begin their day as usual patrolling Lower Manhattan until there is a loud thump similar to that of an earthquake. The officers rally back at their police station and together head to the site of the World Trade Center to help evacuate people. Along the way they get news of the second tower being hit, and debate whether or not that could have even happened. When they arrive they are asked to volunteer to enter 5 World Trade Center (a building part of the 7 buildings that made up the World Trade Center) and help people escape.
While in the building Jimeno bumps into another officer who tells him the Pentagon has been hit as well as the South Tower. Before long the building begins to shake and McLoughlin realizes the South Tower is collapsing on them, and their only chance of survival is to run into the service elevator shaft. Three people survive the collapse of the building; McLoughlin, Jimeno, and Dominick Pezzulo (Jay Hernandez); only the former two lasting beyond the first hours. The rest of the movie follows the search and rescue attempts of any survivors amongst the wreckage. More specifically the conversations between Jimeno and McLoughlin as they share families and secrets about their families and personal lives. The film also follows the strain of the families as they wonder if their loved ones were even alive.
Itï¿½s hard to refer to a movie about the terroristsï¿½ attacks of September 11 as entertaining, but for lack of a better word, it was. Beyond just being entertaining the movie was uplifting, and made me very sympathetic and appreciative that good people like the ones of FDNY and NYPD still existed. The city of New York bonded and held together to make the best of this situation and save as many lives as they could. Unfortunately a lot of rescuers died in the attempt, and this movie shows them in a good light. The acting was solid from Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena, as I truly felt for their characters. Maria Bellow played a great role as the grieving wife of McLoughlin; I didnï¿½t feel the same about Maggie Gyllenhaalï¿½s performance as Allison Jimeno, which seemed eccentric.
This movie boasts some nice affects and acting, overall I thought it was a good film. After the first portion of the movie where the towers go down it becomes very dialogue driven, with back and forth conversations, flashbacks, and hysterical families waiting to find out if their loved ones survived the attack. If you wanted a movie detailing all the ï¿½actionï¿½ of the day, then this one isnï¿½t for you. But if you want a better look at how some of the families and people directly involved with the day were affected, I would suggest you check this one out.
Presented in a 1080p 1.85:1 aspect ratio, World Trade Center is a great looking transfer for HD DVD. Right from start the film, you can tell Paramount put extra care into this presentation. Details are very crisp and clean, with many scenes popping right out at you. Facial detail is worth noting, as it looks spectacular throughout, never looking too soft or enhanced. Colors look just as good, offering a clean but realistic enhancement. The overall picture changes once the attacks takes place, looking much grittier and dirty. This puts the viewer in the place of the victims; you really get a sense of pain and helplessness these Port Authority officers are being put through.
The overall presentation is nothing short of excellent, sure it lacks special effects that some reference titles have but World Trade Center looks nothing short of superb.
World Trade Center is given a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio track, and uses it to its maximum potential. Being a film mainly being consisted of dialogue, I was pleased to hear how clear it was throughout the entirety of the film. Once the cops get trapped under the rubble the sound becomes closterphobic, you really get the feel of being trapped. The loud collapse of the buildings around them sounded loud and clear, making good use of bass and rear channels. The film may not have many explosions and may not push your surround system hard but it still offers some of the best audio heard on HD DVD.
Paramount has given us an extra disc chalk full of special features. All are worth checking out as they range from interviews with survivors too in depth making of features. As an added bonus most features are presented in HD, a nice touch that most studios should follow.
- The Making of World Trade Center ï¿½ An interesting behind scenes look at the making of World Trade Center. This includes interviews with Nicholas Cage, Oliver Stone and various other cast and crew.
- Common Sacrifice: In Depth Interview with Survivors and Rescuers – This is a more in depth interview with the actual survivors and rescuers of the World Trade Center. This hour long feature is worth checking out as I found it to be very interesting and moving.
- Building Ground Zero ï¿½ This feature shows the detailed process of making Ground Zero. I was amazed how much detail was needed when creating the ruins of the Trade Center.
- Visual Special Effects ï¿½ A look at the visual effects and sets used to create the Trade Centers. It is good to see the amount of detail that was used inside the buildings, down to store placement inside the buildings.
- Oliver Stoneï¿½s New York – Oliver Stone talks about his experiences growing up in New York. We are taken on location as Stone talks about various child hood experiences including his early family life.
- Q&A with Oliver Stone – An interview with Oliver Stone consisting of various questions, including what he wanted to achieve when making this film.
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
Itï¿½s hard to make a movie about 9/11 that everyone could be happy with, because there are so many different accounts and feelings about the day. But since World Trade Center is about two individuals and their families and how they were affected, so its hard to argue with the realism pertaining to their feelings, especially since they were directly involved with production. Overall I would recommend people to check this movie out. I thought it would be a poor attempt from the studio to capitalize on the attacks, but turned out to be an uplifting story of comradery amid such a tragedy. The two-disc package is a great buy for anyone who enjoyed this movie; it boasts excellent audio and video as well as a whole disc of supplementary features.
Special Features List
- The Making of World Trade Center
- Common Sacrifice: In Depth Interview with Survivors and Rescuers
- Building Ground Zero
- Visual Special Effects
- Oliver Stoneï¿½s New York
- Q&A with Oliver Stone
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots