Reader Forum: What Did You Think of “Eagle Eye”?

This weekend saw a boatload of new theatrical releases, including Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna, Clark Gregg’s Choke, and Nights in Rodanthe (from the mind of the same author that brought you the saccharine-filled The Notebook), among many others. It seemed as though there was something for everyone, from history buffs to Palahniuk fans to Christians who always wondered how firefighter Kirk Cameron deals with divorce.

But the major release this weekend is DJ Caruso’s Eagle Eye. Highly advertised and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg (who also provided the original story), this film had everything going for it: The unstoppable Shia Labeouf, the beautiful and talented Michelle Monaghan, a wise-cracking Billy Bob Thornton, taut direction by DJ Caruso, and a kickass trailer. Did it deliver on its promise?

[WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS LIE AFTER THIS POINT AND IN THE COMMENTS. DO NOT CONTINUE READING UNLESS YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF EAGLE EYE.]

In short: No. No, it did not. Caruso’s direction is solid as always (the man directed some of the best Shield episodes ever as well as Disturbia), and the performances are solid for what they have to work with, but the main problem is the movie’s preposterous plotline, which taxes believability more and more as the film progresses. The movie starts out strong, with a compelling first five minutes and some character moments that, while not particularly creative, ring true because of the talents of Monaghan and LaBeouf. But when you find out who is behind the computerized voice on the phone, the movie quickly goes off the rails into disastrous implausibility.

As tired as the trope is, I can accept that the main “villain” is an idealistic computer gone wildly out of control, but the story that the film builds around that premise makes absolutely no sense. The computer, named Aria, employs such a ridiculously circuitous plan and kills so many people along the way that you wonder why she couldn’t just “unlock” herself (And why, if she could kill people left and right without being unlocked, she needed LaBeouf’s help in the first place). Don’t even get me started on the film’s closing montage, which has Michael Chiklis brutally hammering home the film’s ideological point – a mind-numbing example of a script “telling, not showing” instead of vice versa – as well as Jerry Shaw still being alive at the end of the film.

Our colleagues over at Latino Review put it as follows: “I thought the movie was a teenage version of I, Robot.” Sadly, I agree, and that’s taking into account that I, Robot the film was already a loud, dumbed down version of Asimov’s I, Robot universe. With its outlandish storyline and its ham-fisted execution Eagle Eye missed an opportunity to say something profound about the age of technology and paranoia that we live in today. But enough of my thoughts: What did you guys think? I am declaring this a spoiler-filled Reader Forum, so feel free to discuss the ending.

Discuss: What did you think of Eagle Eye? A great techno-thriller? Stupid fun? Or just plain stupid?

[To learn more about Eagle Eye, feel free to check out my interviews with DJ Caruso, Michelle Monaghan, and producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci]

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