Thursday, February 4, 2010

“Eagle Eye” – Your tax dollars at work.

Please tell me that you are not one of those people who believe that the government is capable of even half of the things that you see in movies. If you are, do us all a favor and don’t vote. You are not qualified. Hollywood likes to think that the government spends gobs of money (they do spend a lot) on gaudy installations, dozens of super-secret organizations and advanced technologies and gadgets that would make Isaac Asimov blush. An example of this is the command center of NORAD in “War Games.” The room was at least 50 feet high and filled with gigantic TV screens. If you don’t already know, NORAD is a real place, located inside Cheyenne Mountain. The government may spend a lot of money, but they definitely don’t waste it on gigantic rooms filled with mostly open space. They cram as much stuff into the smallest space that can. If you don’t believe me, check out any submarine, or NORAD itself (they give tours). I promise you will never find that room.

“Eagle Eye” has one of these ridiculous rooms, as well as the advanced technology I was talking about. SPOILER ALERT…I’m about to ruin this movie (you’ll thank me later; I do accept tips), so stop reading if you plan to see this film. The man behind the curtain, or woman behind the cell phone in this case, is a super-advanced computer with artificial intelligence. You read that right; a computer is the one pulling all of the strings. This particular computer is a gigantic room, filled with little gold globes, in a super-secret sub-basement level in the Pentagon. In a true act of creativeness, the computer’s brain is a ball at the end of an arm that can swivel and move throughout the room. In other words, an evil “Flight of the Navigator” computer. Except, in this case, the computer is trying to kill the President of the United States and his next eleven successors, making the Secretary of Defense the new President.

Why, you ask? Very good question. The computer is programmed to defend America at all costs and calculates that the SecDef (don’t you love the abbreviations?) is the closest person to the top who will lead regime changes in the Middle East.

Huh? Another good question. I asked that one myself several times. The computer is able to monitor everything (yes, everything) and calculate threat levels. In the first scene, a funeral in some random Middle Eastern town is blown up by American missiles in an attempt to kill some terrorist guy. The computer is constantly giving them a percentage of positive ID and recommends they abort. The SecDef agrees, but the President gives the kill order. At this point, the computer decides the President should die.

By now, you are probably wondering what Shia LeBouf and the girl have to do with anything. The girl’s son is playing trumpet at the Capitol and the computer arranges for his trumpet to have a detonator in it that works by emitting a specific frequency that detonates a special little crystal bomb. The crystal is disguised as a necklace, which the girl is unknowingly going to wear to the performance. LeBouf’s twin brother was an operator on the computer and biometrically locked the computer before he was killed by that computer. LeBouf is needed to remove the lock, so the computer can initiate “Operation Guilletine” (another clever Hollywoodism).
Even as I am typing this, I still can’t believe how ridiculous this plot turned out to be. Sometimes, I wonder if the writers even bother to read their own writings. Here are a few questions they should have been asking themselves.

Why does the computer need to be unlocked if it has already set the plan in motion? Don’t identical twins still have different fingerprint, voice print, and retinal prints? Why can’t the super-advanced computer unlock itself when it has control of everything? How can a computer cause a power line to break and kill a guy running on the road below? Does a fighter jet have broadband connections? Didn’t the spaceship from “Flight of the Navigator” get away? Must there always be a disapproving dad for the hero to prove themselves to? Are cell phones allowed in super-secret Pentagon sub-basements?

That last one actually pisses me off, not only because it’s lazy writing, but because everyone (EVERYONE!) knows that cell phones are not allowed in classified areas. This is just common sense. I least they had the good sense to kill off Billy Bob Thornton.

Have you learned anything? Do you still believe the government is hiding artificially intelligent computers? If you do, you probably believe Skynet is real, aliens live in Nevada, and that the government can see you through your television. Just remember to pay your taxes before you put on your tin-foil hat.

Rating: Ask for your money back. You already pay taxes, why tax yourself more?

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