Have you ever thought to yourself, ‘wait a minute – I’ve been here before’? Well, no doubt you’ve experienced a bout of déjà vu, and if you’re heading to theaters this weekend, no doubt it’ll happen again. Not one, but all three of the major releases this week remind us of previous movies; and we’re not talking remakes here. These are first run films that just happen to be all too familiar.
First up is Skyline, an alien invasion movie that critics and the public-at-large are calling a cross between Independence Day and War of the Worlds. And rightfully so, with the alien ships descending from the clouds over Los Angeles a la ID4, sucking up earthlings in their bowels, just like they did in WotW. The major difference separating this film from the blockbusters it bites from is there isn’t a Will Smith or Tom Cruise moving the plot along, so why should we care if the human race is doomed?
Next is Unstoppable, a runaway train movie starring Denzel Washington as a veteran train conductor, and ‘Captain Kirk’ Chris Pine as the rookie in the midst of his first day on the job. The train in question is loaded with hazardous cargo and can’t…be…stopped. Not only does this film remind us of Speed, and even Speed 2: Cruise Control, but even more horrific is how similar the plot is to Under Siege 2, the outta control train movie with Steven Seagal; not the best star to hitch your wagon to. While we believe that Denzel and Pine are a legitimate and up-and-coming actor respectively, any trailer that shows the same action scene twice (collision at :54 and 1:35), is obviously hurting for suspense. Our take? Somebody should’ve hit the brakes on this project a long time ago.
And the last big film of the week, Morning Glory, wears its influence so shamelessly on its sleeve that the trailer even says “From the screenwriter of The Devil Wears Prada.” Think of Rachel McAdams as an understudy for Anne Hathaway, and replace the high pressure world of fashion with the high pressure world of network news. Co-starring Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton as morning anchors that can’t stand each other, it’s fitting that the call letters for the major television network stand-in is IBS, because I’d rather have irritable bowel syndrome than to have to sit through this. Ford and Keaton might save this from getting cancelled, but the biggest ratings boost is the chance to see McAdams in her underwear.
So, enter the theaters this weekend at your own risk, or just head to the video store and save your money. And if you’re tired of reading or are illiterate, check out our video previews on Will It Suck? TV, our new weekly vodcast hosted on metromix.com; quick, easy, and like a shotgun to your senses.