Saturday, August 19, 2006

World Trade Center: The Movie

Last night a few of us from the DCBA took a field trip to see World Trade Center. It was a huge stretch for some of us as we aren’t the type to patronize Oliver Stone films, but with all the affirmations from right-thinking people that he did indeed “do good”, we decided to suck it up and go see for ourselves. In attendance were the lovely Miss Anonymous Opinion, Paul Smith, and Jeff the Baptist and his sweet bride.

The Film
The morning of 9/11 started out the same as any other morning for most Americans. The people in World Trade Center were no different. They began their morning performing the usual duties of Port Authority officers. Then a strange shadow glided across the sky followed by a ground-shaking rumble. The news media soon reported on the television that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers.

With little knowledge of the magnitude of the catastrophe, let alone any knowledge of the true nature of the attack yet unfinished on innocent civilians of U.S.A., John McLoughlin (Nicholas Cage) asked for volunteers to follow him to the World Trade Center buildings to rescue people undoubtedly injured and trapped inside the burning building. Without hesitation, several stepped forward.

As they caravanned to the towers, sketchy and unconfirmed news came of a second plane hitting the other tower. Yet the assumption remained that the smoke flowing was from the initial crash. People, clearly in shock, fled, stumbled, and even jumped from the burning building. Many were bloodied, and some supported others in their attempts to get out alive.

While average moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, and daughters fled the building to safety, firefighters and Port Authority officers rushed in hoping to rescue innocent fellow citizens trapped inside despite a lack of training or equipment for an event of this magnitude. When the building began to rumble and shake yet again, McLoughlin immediately directed his men to the elevator shaft for shelter. Yet even his quick thinking couldn’t save most of his men from the implosion. Buried beneath body crushing rubble, only three initially survived, McLoughlin, Will Jimeno (Michael Pena), and Dominick Pezzulo (Jay Hernandez) who didn’t make it.

McLoughlin, though in bad shape himself, used his leadership skills to encourage Jimeno to stay awake and to survive. They talked to remain alert. They prayed as more rubble tumbled down around and onto them. Jimeno received comfort from his Savior in the form of a vision.

Meanwhile, firefighters volunteered and rushed to NYC to rescue survivors and to support rescue workers in any capacity possible. Retired Marine Dave Karnes felt God calling him to go into the destruction of the WTC to do whatever he could to assist wounded Americans. The wives, children and extended family members of the injured McLoughlin and Jimeno fretted and hoped as they awaited news of their loved ones’ status.

My Reflections
As the world learned of the assault on our people, scenes showed their horror over our suffering. Many countries did indeed grieve with us over our devastation that day. Noticeably absent from the film, however, were the news clips of the citizens of certain third world countries who cheered and jeered and danced in the streets at the news of the demise of almost three thousand of our people innocently going about their daily business. I, however, remember their response very well.

The juxtaposition of our value for life versus the terrorists’ value for death deeply impressed me also though the movie depicted no terrorists. While some sought to massacre those with whom they were not even at war, there were heroes willing to risk their own lives to save others. Gratitude for men retaining true manliness in an often wimpy world welled up within me. Although our lives are not as rough and tumble as they once were, the kind of character and raw physical courage embodied in those who will lay down their lives for others, who will rush in when others are rushing out, are still desperately needed today. Thank God for these men (and women).

The film is worth seeing. If you go, let the reminder of the fragility of our lives and the preciousness of our relationships with our loved ones sink deep into your heart as you watch. Real Americans experienced this calamity. Real people lost or almost lost their loved ones that day. Real flesh and blood human beings fretted over the last words they spoke and realized that when all’s said and done, their relationships mattered most.

Many thanks to Oliver Stone for playing it straight and highlighting what is good about the United States of America, her (not so) ordinary heroes.


At 8/19/2006 12:55 PM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

Hmmm. Just read Anonymous Opinion's review. She said there was a brief scene of the third world reaction in the news clips. Guess I blinked.

At 8/19/2006 3:14 PM, Anonymous Andy said...

I would imagine that the terrorist element was left out for artistic and not political reasons. Adding that in removes you from the "moment" at the buildings themselves. They may have even filmed more clips involving the terrorism angle, but left them out for this purpose. Happens all the time with every movie really.

At 8/19/2006 5:07 PM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

I think it's a mistake to leave out the terrorists, and given Oliver Stone's absolutely crystal clear political stance, it was not a filmmaking decision in any way. He and the writer chose to film this story while ignoring it's bigger meaning and significance.

This is like doing a movie of Pearl Harbor about the people without any notable reference to the Japanese. About the rescue workers and the people rather than it being an act of war. Can you even imagine that in 1943?

At 8/19/2006 5:16 PM, Anonymous Andy said...

Yeah, valid point. I don't know that I would mind, but I haven't seen it yet.

At 8/19/2006 5:29 PM, Blogger Paul Smith Jr. said...

Here's what I wrote about that point in my review:

But after thinking about it a bit, I think the direction they went was a good one. We didn't need a recap of what happened that day; we already know. We know a great evil was committed; we didn't need to see it again. Instead, we got a reminder of the great good that was done in response to that great evil.

At 8/20/2006 12:30 AM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

Sure. Same argument can be made about Pearl Harbor. But we kept getting reminded of Pearl harbor, of the men who died, of the treachery of the attack. They did that on purpose, because a constant, steady reminder is a big benefit to helping people with steadfast fighting the war and remembering what happened.

Oliver Stone understands this, make no mistake. He understands this and wanted to avoid it.


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