Eagle Eye: A Shocking Revelation in Cinema

At dinner tonight, I was heard to remark “I regret this evening.” One of my biggest clichés, and the reason I never really write, is “this movie is the reason I watch movies” or “this movie is the reason I love movies”. Watching Eagle Eye this evening, I was struck with a terrible dread: this is the reason I hate movies. Yes, I watched a movie tonight that turned me against the whole medium.

I had the choice between seeing Wall-e again or Eagle Eye. The invisible hand of the free market pointed me in the direction of Eagle Eye, then it slowly choked me to death. When I say slowly, I mean slowly. This is one of a handful of terrible films I’ve seen this year that has caused me to turn to Ajay and say “there’s still an hour to go.”
Then, six hours later, “forty minutes.”

Please don’t see Eagle Eye. It was one of the least crowded Friday night opening weekend major movies I can recall seeing, and in the credits I said “I hope no one goes to see this”. Ajay said “but we already have”.
… I stand before you a broken man.

Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) is a slacker who dropped out of society and became a copy associate (remember Lost in America? Excruciating, but a better movie than this one). After his identical twin brother (the good one) dies, he goes to the bank to find $751,000 in his account and finds a series of bomb equipment, weaponry and general biohazardous material in his apartment. A phone rings! He is told to escape before the FBI gets him!
He doesn’t. They catch him. Then he is broken free by the mysterious woman on the phone, and told to get in a car driven by Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan, who should stay the hell away from the mainstream and stick to indie stuff if she knows what’s good for her), who is following the voice’s instructions so that her son, catching the most laboriously slow train in the world, won’t be derailed and killed.
Blah blah blah Billy Bob Thornton, etcetera and so forth Rosario Dawson.

The second Shia LaBeouf started speaking in this film, I said “I think I hate this movie already”. Now, I have a strong distaste for Shia LaBeouf- but I don’t hate him. He can’t ruin a movie for me. I enjoyed his work in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (but that’s a movie that I’m blind to the alleged inadequacies of). I certainly don’t run a webcomic that frequently jabs at him to the point of forgetting to tell a joke.
That doesn’t stop this movie sucking, though. I can’t recall why I thought that it might be acceptable. I think that I shouldn’t trust any movie executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Points against you, Mister Spielberg? Transformers. This. Go back to having little girls kicking velociraptors in the face. I won’t watch it, but I won’t hate you for it.
I love Michelle Monaghan, but I wouldn’t see Made of Honour for her sake (yet I saw Enchanted despite Patrick Dempsey, so I guess she loses to Amy Adams). She doesn’t shine or dull in this movie, she just exists. The same can’t be said for the rest of the movie, although of course Billy Bob Thornton is a good guy, and Rosario Dawson is more than passable, despite giving rise to such dissections of the movie as “Get it? ’cause she’s a woman,” and “Get it? It’s ’cause they’re both minorities“.

It’s hard to put a finger on Eagle Eye. Is it bland? Kinda. Is it hard to follow? A car chase sequence is like watching a fight scene in Batman Begins with your back to the screen and dark glasses on. Is it numbingly stupid? That’s not a fair question, it’s infected to the very marrow in too many ways to count, even if you can willingly accept that Hollywood doesn’t understand technology. Lip reading is forsaken for vibration interpretation. Is it insultingly derivative? It stole the villain’s grand scheme from the new Get Smart movie. Don’t get me started on its debt to 2001: A Space Oddysey. Or … actually, if I was to continue on that line, I would essentially reference every movie ever made. Eagle Eye is so dazzling in its unoriginality that it undoubtedly somehow manages to rip off movies that haven’t even been made yet. Movies that will never be made. Hell, it has a sequence that pastiches The Chipmunk Adventure. No, really.

It exists entirely outside the space/time continuum.

It’s almost impossible to say that there’s anything satisfactory about Eagle Eye: every positive aspect has been done better elsewhere. You don’t need to suspend disbelief so much as you do your gag reflex. This is not hyperbole; I actually came out of this movie feeling ill. Not having seen Babylon AD yet, which was previewed before this and I am convinced will never come out here despite a release set for next week, I am going to vouch that that movie is better than this travesty. Even then, this is not the worst film I’ve seen this year.

Dangit, I should have just seen Mamma Mia! for the third time. I hate movies. Chiklis ’08.

Leave a Reply