Thursday, July 4, 2013

Movie Review: White House Down

White House Down

I particularly did not have any high expectations going into this movie partly because the director's previous duds and also because the trailer didn't particularly excite me. But, one thing Emmerich does is that he always mounts his films on a grand scale and I'm guessing most of you will agree with me on that. Be it, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow or 2012, you will always see a grand spectacle unfolding with a larger than life projection, and White House Down is not much different in that aspect.

So you have John Cale (Channing Tatum) vying for his dream job with the Secret Service protecting the President of United States (Jamie Foxx) for which he takes along his high on political IQ, daughter Emily (Joey King) for an interview in the White House. As indicated by the title of the movie, the timing could not have been any better as within minutes the building is taken down and held hostage by heavily armed in-house terrorists, who have their own personal agendas on mind. The initial scenes manage to get your attention with some nicely executed scenes of the siege of the most important building of the world. But alas, its all downhill from here. Clearly, this is not the place to ask for reasoning and logic. An event of such a magnitude, needs to have a very strong intent but when the purpose is gradually revealed you seem to feel simply let down and you seem to ask this question "Do the makers feel their audience is so stupid?" None of the characters stand out. I'm not asking a Joker show here but at least the antagonist needs to have his motive clear. Twists appear completely out of the blue, I mean it should be a good thing but there should always be a good justification so that all the bits and pieces join together to make the twist believable. Simply saying how would you react if Alfred from the Batman trilogy turned out to be the villain in the last scene.

Movies in which action does most of the talking, need to have deep rooted and believable characters, and this starts from the writing stage till the final casting but unfortunately this is one of the weakest aspects of the movie. I mean a simple way to gauge that would be to ask yourself, how badly you want the villain killed or the love story to end on a positive note or the leading man bash up the antagonist in the final act. In this movie, I felt none of those. I couldn't care less about any of the characters on screen, whatever happens I just want the lights back on ASAP, and that's not a good sign for any movie. On a positive note, you take back a couple of characters like Donnie (the guide) and Emily (Cale's daughter). Nicolas Wright as Donnie, the guide taking visitors on a trip inside the White House gets his timing right in most of the comic scenes he has particularly in the scene where Emily answers his questions beforehand or the scene where he takes a dig at blowing of White House in Roland's previous film Independence Day.

That's the only thing you take back from an otherwise overblown, out rightly dumb and a flat film which offers nothing new only other that the White House being blown to bits. At a runtime of almost 130 minutes, it feels long, tiring and chances are it'll leave you with a migraine. I would definitely not recommend it to anyone, it's not worth the price of a ticket. Grab a DVD cuddle up in your couch and watch the Independence Day again, it'll definitely be the two hours well spent.

 And if you prefer your White House terrorist attack movies to be serious and full out action, then Olympus Has Fallen is the better call. Instead, if your preference is strained one-liners, an awkward buddy-film and hazy bad guy motivation, then White House Down might do it for you.

 White House Down Poster

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