13 October 2008

Eagle Eye

We went to see Eagle Eye this week. Everyone seemed to be looking forward to the film. I have to admit, I hadn't known what the film was about. I just knew that it was Shia LaBeouf's big debut as a leading "man."

Aww. Look at little Shia, all grown up, with facial hair and everything.

Before I give you the low-down on Eagle Eye, can I just ask, since when have theaters allowed "outside food"? On the way to the AMC theater, I stopped at the Cinnabon because it had this big sign that said something to the effect of, "Buy your snacks here. Don't let yourself get ripped off by the movie theater. Let us rip you off with our stale mini-bons instead." This new open food policy is a pleasant surprise. It is a little tricky to sneak in Bubble Tea without a little spillage.

Anyway, about Eagle Eye, here's the gist:

Jerry Shaw (Shia LeBeouf) is a fast-talking clerk at the Copy Cabana. He is presumably a smart guy because he was a former Stanford student. Unfortunately, due to his failure to consult with an advisor from the Undergraduate Advising or the Freshman Dean's Office (in my opinion), he dropped out a couple of years in, and is consequently, so broke that he can't even afford a razor (also, my interpretation). His woes worsen when he loses his brother to a fatal car accident.

Jerry returns from his brother's funeral and miraculously finds $750,000 in his checking account. On top of that, he returns to his apartment and finds boxes and boxes of various terrorist paraphernalia (fertilizer, guns, false passports, etc.), all of which he did not order. Suspicious... After rifling through all of the boxes like an idiot, Jerry receives a phone call from a mysterious woman who instructs him to run or else be seized by a battalion of FBI agents and charged for terrorist shenanigans. And, here, lies the main premise of the film. The mysterious caller, through the various wonders of modern communication technology, instructs Jerry to complete a series of dangerous tasks at the risk of grave consequences. Though Jerry tries to ignore the calls, she always manages to get a hold of him. It's like she can see his every move. It's like she has an EAGLE EYE. Dun dun dun. Meanwhile, young Marcia Gay Harden, a single mother (Michelle Monaghan) finds herself in a similar predicament to Jerry, and sooner than later, meets up with the young lad. Together, the duo brave the mysterious caller's menacing demands, try to figure out what Jerry's dead brother has to do with anything, and desperately attempt to evade the EAGLE EYE. Dun dun dun.

Oh, yeah, meanwhile, the duo, presumed to be terrorists, are pursued by Agent Billy Bob Thornton (played by Billy Bob Thornton).

My thoughts:

Shia LaBeouf, the young whippersnapper, is definitely going to live up to his hype as the next big leading man (barring drug addiction, a same-sex love affair, or premature balding). I think he's got the potential to be the next Will Smith. Probably. Maybe. Possibly? He can cry real tears and deliver sharp quips, a mile a minute. The boy is quite talented. I have great faith in Shia LaBeouf's future, but I don't think he's quite ready to play a "man", especially opposite a woman who looks like she could be his mother. The boy may have a deep voice and probably a DUI under his belt, but he's only a few years out of Even Stevens. He's not old enough to star in an action film that requires him to wear a suit.

The rest of the cast is just as solid, but something bugged me about each of them:
Billy Bob Thornton -- His fake teeth.
Rosario Dawson - Every interaction with a male character always seemed like it was heading towards romance. I like Rosario Dawson as an actress, but her character was pretty pointless.
Michelle Monaghan - She looked too much like Marcia Gay Harden. (It took nearly the entire film for me to figure out who she looked like.)
The "Mysterious Caller" - She was like a talking Sunday Advertisement Pull-out. The "caller" would essentially say things like, "Go to the Macy's and buy a new outfit" or "Go to the Circuit City Home Entertainment Center and wait for my next message, now available in HD. Don't forget to ask your sales associate about our new zero -down, 0% APR offer." It was so annoying. Whatever happened to subliminal messaging?

As for the plot, I have to say that the premise was intriguing, but then I realized that the film was basically a mix of [SPOILERISH ALERT]...

Saw and I.Robot, only with cell phones.

The movie would have been fun if the filmmakers didn't try to get all lofty at the end and cram in themes about national security, human rights, retribution, personal freedoms, and communication technology. I don't want to give anything away, but it seemed like the film sort of unraveled at the end. It's rather disappointing because the filmmakers did a good job of building the suspense and action in the first half of the film, but then, as if they realized that the movie was getting too long (or maybe the hole was too deep and there was no turning back), they hastily brought it to an end.

How about a convoluted metaphor to help illustrate my point? It's like we were all hitting at a pinata. At first, we diligently cracked the pinata's paper mached exterior at a steady pace, but suddenly, we realize that it's time to go blow out the birthday candles, so your mother grabs the pinata and runs it over wither her car. Then, everyone's like, "Yeah, I guess that works..." Later, we all leave the party with drooped shoulders, clutching paper bags filled with crushed hard candies.

Maybe some kids came away from the party with M&Ms and bubble gum, but I only got crushed butterscotch and strawberry candy. I appreciated the ideas behind Eagle Eye, but the end result wasn't very impressive. Plus, all the gratuitous car chase scenes made me experience a little motion sickness. That's no fun.

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