It seems like only yesterday that U.S. soldiers bravely stormed the Omaha beaches of Normandy in World War II. Well, not really. But then again, we wouldn’t be offended by the release of a major motion picture about it. That is not the case for Universal Pictures’ upcoming release of United 93, the first film focusing on the Sept. 11 attacks.
The movie is about United Flight 93, the fourth airplane hijacked on 9/11. The hijackers headed the plane to Washington D.C., but the passengers and crew fought the terrorist hijackers and deliberately crashed the plane into a field in Shanksville, Pa. There were no survivors. The film is directed by Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy) and features no major Hollywood stars. The film runs approximately 90 minutes and is shot in real time – the exact duration of the flight. Universal will release it on April 28.
It can’t be determined yet whether this is a quality film or not. Only the theatrical trailer has been released – and it’s chilling. It’s too soon for movies about Sept. 11 to be made; yet if they are, they must be tactful and tastefully done.
United 93 already has a mark against it – its theatrical poster. The image is of the Statue of Liberty’s spiked crown in the bottom left hand corner, with the light outline of the World Trade Center towers smoking in the background and an airplane flying toward them.
The poster is in poor taste. Everyone knows what happened that day. The movie may depict it for us, but the poster doesn’t have to. People can make the choice on whether they pay to see the movie or not, but they don’t have a choice whether or not they see the poster.
Since when did theatrical posters have to spell out exactly what happens in the film? Brokeback Mountain’s poster didn’t depict Jack and Ennis having homosexual sex. United 93’s poster doesn’t need to show the Twin Towers on fire.
A second film about 9/11 that has been made is directed by notoriously bloody Oliver Stone and it stars Nicholas Cage. World Trade Center’s poster is an example of an acceptable advertisement for a Sept. 11 film.
Two thick, black strips run down the poster, signifying the towers, with the silhouettes of two men in between them. It’s subtle and effective, unlike United 93’s grotesque poster.
Furthermore, the poster is inaccurate. United 93 never entered the Manhattan area. It departed from Newark Liberty International Airport and was headed toward San Francisco, while the hijackers were headed to D.C. What’s the point of making a 9/11 film with a poster that depicts something that is completely false from what really happened?
With blunders so soon in United 93’s promotion, it’s surprising that Universal decided not to go the extra mile and put Tom Cruise’s crazy face up on that plane.