2-Disc Special Edition
Directed by D.J. Caruso
Starring Shia Labeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis, Billy Bob Thornton
Paramount Home Entertainment
Released Date: December 27, 2008
Eagle Eye is the next adventure in technological thriller genre, following Jerry Shaw (Shia Labeouf) who after the death of his twin brother Ethan finds a bunch of money in his bank account and an apartment full of military gear and weaponry. Almost immediately, he’s contacted by a mysterious woman’s voice who tells him to leave immediately, the FBI is coming to arrest him. He, of course, think she’s insane and ignores the warning, only to be quickly arrested and interrogated thoroughly by Agent Tom Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton). After this, he’s contacted again by the mysterious voice and this time, not surprisingly, he’s a little more believing, although still very skeptical. She leads him on a daring and dangerous escape where he ultimately meets up with Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), who is also being directed by the voice, who is threatening that if Rachel doesn’t do what she’s told, her son will be murdered. From then on out, the two follow the voice’s instructions, while trying to figure out what it wants and what’s going on, as well as how it ties to Jerry’s deceased twin brother.
Eagle Eye is the embodiment of what a modern day action movie is. The incredible amount of technology used as the framing for the story sets the table perfectly for that sort of sub-genre.
The production had a great deal of real explosions and car accidents (which is always very refreshing) to go with the CGI work where necessary and the acting was above average for what we’re accustomed to in action/thrillers, so director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) and his crew had a lot of really positive moving parts going for them here. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that they used them to the potential that they could have been used.
The biggest kiss of death with Eagle Eye is its large amount of absurdities. Most movies like this will have a few questionable occurrences, but this one was packed full of them from start to finish and though sometimes that doesn’t matter, it was pretty distracting here. Little things like people getting out of massive car accidents and dusting off their sleeves and walking away and then later on being in just as bad of a car accident and being seriously wounded. But for the most part, these absurdities revolved around Shia Labeouf and Michelle Monaghan’s characters — two people who were displayed as very simple, very regular people who when the voice on the phone tells them to jump out of a four-story building or to run away from this person or that person, they just happened to be able to transform into these crazy, seemingly specially trained people. I don’t know about you, but if some voice on the phone told my fat ass to run from Billy Bob Thornton, I would not turn into Jason Bourne, I would be screwed indeed!
Another flaw to the characters were their shallow presentation. While the acting was all-around impressive, I didn’t feel very attached to anyone in the movie. I liked who I was supposed to like enough, but if one or the other was killed, I didn’t feel sad or angry. We were given a basic idea of who everyone was, but it wasn’t enough to actually know if we would like them in real-life, it was just a low-level idea that they gave you to go on and use as you saw fit for the rest of the film. I found this interesting, because of the direction in the movie by D.J. Caruso. If you wouldn’t have told me, I would have absolutely swore I was watching a movie by the man himself, Michael Bay. But the difference, as odd as it sounds, is that I actually typically find myself liking Michael Bay’s characters. So what does this say about Caruso? This is the first movie by him that I’ve seen and while there are some impressive aspects, there’s the other things that are pretty questionable. Of course, this could be that I’m a Michael Bay apologist of sorts, but this is what I noticed.
Now that the negative is out of the way, let me clarify just a little. As you may be able to tell if you’ve read other reviews of mine, it’s not easy to let me down or anger me. I tend to like a lot of movies and feel very strongly that even the terrible movies can be good in some way, so long as they don’t try to be something they’re not and so long as they entertain the hell out of me. Though I have a list of things about Eagle Eye that distracted me and that I didn’t like, it did have plenty of things that I enjoyed. As I mentioned, the acting was strong and the concept was actually really cool. The music was good and set a decent tone throughout the film. I just really wish that they were able to use such a concept to its fullest potential. As they explain in the special features, this was an idea that executive producer Steven Spielberg himself had ten years ago, so while it’s not completely original now, it was almost prophetic of him back then. As compared to the similar film like I, Robot, Eagle Eye is a hell of a lot more believable a scenario than that was. So while the movie is full of absurdities, the idea of this happening and how close we already are to things like this, is actually pretty damn terrifying.
The biggest personal concern that I have because of this fact has nothing to do with Eagle Eye, but with director D.J. Caruso. As you may have read, he’s supposed to be making an adaptation of Y: The Last Man with Shia Labeouf soon. When I first heard this news I was very excited just to know it was happening, but now that some years have passed and now especially that I’ve seen something Caruso has done, I’m feeling very, very nervous… like I should write the studios or start a petition or something. Y: The Last Man is an amazing work and could be an amazing movie, but it relies very heavily on strong character building, and I’m afraid that in these hands, it will not receive the nourishment that it would really require.
Overall, Eagle Eye is a pretty entertaining large-scale popcorn movie. Though up front it sounds like it would be full of complicated plot lines and all sorts of layers, trust me, it really isn’t. It’s a strong concept that’s basically just fueled by lots of running and shooting and car chases and explosions. Though in some circles I may be yelled at for saying it, it is a pretty good time if you’re in the mood for it. Grab some friends or family and some popcorn and Coke, Pepsi, Moxie or whatever it is you crazy kids drink these days and settle in for all the Labeouf you could possibly handle.
Deleted Scenes — Three very short deleted scenes.
Road Trip — A look at how production went to so many different locations instead of having a majority of shooting take place in one or two main locations or studios.
Previews — Basic look at other movies coming out, like for example, if you’d be interested in seeing Without A Paddle 2! Boy O’ boy, would I!?
Alternate Ending — A very short alternate ending that basically just sets up the possibility of a sequel in that cliche, horror movie kind of way. A very smart move was cutting this and going with the ending they used.
Asymmetrical Warfare: The Making of Eagle Eye — This is just your traditional making of featurette. Most DVDs have one, and I enjoy watching most of them. Hell, sometimes I enjoy the making of featurette more than the actual movie, so they’re always worth watching, says this opinionated review person.
Eagle Eye on Location: Washington D.C. — A featurette that looks at the filming that was done in D.C., and what it was like for the actors, like Michael Chiklis.
Is My Cell Phone Spying on Me? — A look at how real it is in our world to be seen and heard every single place that you go. A scary thing to think about and even scarier to see real examples of.
Shall We Play A Game? — Director D.J. Caruso talks with his mentor, John Badham, who directed War Games.
Gag Reel — All sorts of silly, giggle-filled moments from filming. A must-have feature on every DVD if you ask me, especially when Billy Bob Thornton is involved.
Photo Gallery — As it says… lots of pretty pictures.
Theatrical Trailer — Watch a preview for the movie that you just watched and see if you still would have watched the movie had you seen this trailer ahead of time.