9/11 movies: Are they helping or hurting?

By Vickie Papageorge
September 22, 2006

Five years after the tragic Sept. 11 attack, two major motion pictures and a television movie were released to the public despite differing opinions on whether it was too soon to be making such movies. “United 93” was released in April in movie theaters across the country as a special screening portraying the passengers on the hijacked flight 93 of Sept. 11. On Aug. 9, “World Trade Center” was also released into movie theaters telling the crucial and moving story of two policemen who braved the tragedy to save people in the rubble of the collapsed twin towers. “Flight 93” was a television movie that was released on DVD in May 2006.

The tone and effect the movies had on the viewers weighed heavily on whether the times they were released were appropriate. “United 93” and “Flight 93” had a better approach than World Trade Center did. Although they both were entirely different situations and settings, “World Trade Center” had a sense of doom during the entire movie. Dawn Taylor of the Portland Tribune, said in one of her articles about the World Trade Center, “Stone’s film, resonates with an overriding sense of despair, essentially telling us that we can fall victim to tragedy at any time and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.”

After “United 93” was released and viewed by the public, many believed it was a movie that gave the citizens of this country a hopeful outlook for the future. It showed the courage and bravery of the passengers of Flight 93 in their quest to stop the terrorists on the plane. Robert W. Butler, reporter from the Kansas City Star, said, “By sticking to the facts, Greengrass has created a surprisingly effective tribute to the heroism of common people and a cautionary tale that demands to be seen.”

Aside from the different approaches the movies had and their effect on the public, many people believe that showing these movies was disrespectful to the families who had lost loved ones on Sept. 11. They also believe that the motives for making such movies were unjust also.

Amanda Arnold, secondary education major, said, “People don’t have to go and see these movies but it does make you wonder if the people who made these movies are actually making money from something that happened to our country.” She went on to say that curiosity would eventually get the best of her and she would have to go see the movies.

A blog on Amazon.com said, “I wasn’t too sure about this movie when I first heard about it. I thought it was too soon to see Sept. 11 sentimentalized and cheapened with Hollywood cliches.” This seems to be the common initial reaction by many. Although the timing may or may not be correct, people will choose their own ways to react to situations, whether it be through art, speaking and writing.

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Vickie Papageorge

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