The summer movie season was filled with ups and downs and was dominated by pirates and snakes. Several highly anticipated films like The Da Vinci Code and Superman Returns turned out to be disappointing. But such popcorn flicks as Miami Vice and Pirates of the Carribean 2 did end up winning over the audiences.
However, two movies this summer brought serious and sensitive subject matter to the screen.
Nearly five years have passed since the horrible and tragic events that occurred in New York City on that idle Tuesday, and this summer we saw two 9/11 themed films.
United 93 was the first theatrical movie to directly feature a story centered on 9/11. This film came out in early May and was followed by Oliver Stone’s epic interpretation, World Trade Center which hit screens this month. Both were covered in controversy, but they were also endorsed by all of the families of the victims and the survivors.
Both films were made as tributes to honor the men and women whose lives were stolen on that day, and neither movie sensationalized anything. It was clear that the directors shied away from creating a fictionalized New York landscape engulfed with Hollywoodland cliches and inaccuracies.
The films were both gut-wrenching, and they definitely captured how horrific the day must have been for those people.
However, there were also some key differences. United 93 featured a virtually unknown cast who brought to life the heroic events surrounding a plane that was taken down by everyday passengers.
World Trade Center was a very different movie that focused on the true stories of John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno. These two characters were effectively brought to life by Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena. World Trade Center also featured strong performances from Mario Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal who played the wives of the officers.
These two Port Authority officers responded to the call of duty and found themselves trapped beneath the two towers. This was a truly great story about two courageous men who found a way to make the best of dire situations.
However, Stone’s film lacked the same punch and passion that fueled United 93. An amazing story turned out to be only an all right film.
Even with that said, the movie was still a powerful and inspirational look at the incredible resolve of the human spirit. United 93 is definitely the superior film, but both are true testments to and reminders of those who gave their lives on September 11, 2001.