Friday, April 28, 2006
Wary of watching 'United 93'
I walked into a Universal Pictures screening room in New York City this week to watch a movie about a day that changed our lives. "United 93" is about 9/11 and the last plane, the one that did not hit the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, the one that went down in a Pennsylvania field killing everyone onboard.

I did not much want to see this movie. I have witnessed enough mayhem through decades of reporting that I don't go out of my way to see it recreated on screen. And as expected, I spent the next couple of hours cringing in my chair at the brutally frank, unsentimental version of events captured in this film.

Put together with the cooperation of many of the victims' families, "United 93" neither reduces the terrorists to animalistic caricatures, nor elevates the passengers and crew to superheroes. It relentlessly grinds forward, almost like a documentary.

I used to be a movie critic, and I would not recommend this movie as entertainment. It is so unlike most films that many audience members will be unable to connect.

But the families of many 9/11 victims suggest a different reason people should see this film: Because it is more of a memorial than a movie. They see the terror, fear, violence, and despair so many of us felt on 9/11, but they see something else too: That on the day enemies attacked America from within, their loved ones on United 93 fought back.

We'll never know everything that happened on that plane that day. We'll never know how close this movie's account of events comes to real life. We do know, however, the plane crashed into an empty field, and not into the U.S. Capitol, not into the White House, not into a dense neighborhood, not into any of the targets that we have reason to believe it might have been headed toward.

For the families I talked to -- and now for me, too -- that's reason enough for a film like this to get more than just passing consideration.
Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 5:08 PM ET
  46 Comments
Al profits for this movie, on every level, should go to the families of the attack. Unless that is done, don't go see it. This is another shameful ploy by hollywood to get a little extra money, at the cost of others.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 5:25 PM ET
Tom-

I recognize the importance of the film. I admire the family members of the victims that worked with the flim maker to ensure that we, the public, get the "truest" account of the events on board United Flight 93 on 9/11.

But in my opinion, its just to soon for me to watch this film. For some, 5 years is long enough but given how emotionally I have reacted this past week to the commercials alone, I cannot, and will not see this movie for a very long time.

Although, I hope that I am in the minority because I do recognize the importance of this film and want it to succeed for the families'sakes.

Thanks.
Posted By Anonymous Sheryn R, Pohatcong, NJ : 5:28 PM ET
To say my feelings on this are mixed is an understatement. I watched on the roof of my home that day as buildings collapsed. I do not want to relive it. But I think my biggest problem is that someone out there- a director, a studio, a writer- took it upon themselves to tell a story that is not theirs to tell.

Filmmaking is among the most personal art forms we have, where the vision of the filmmaker supercedes everything else. A book or a sculpture are one thing; a filmed and written narrative quite something else.
Posted By Anonymous Eric Scott, New York, NY : 5:36 PM ET
I haven't seen this movie yet, but my husband and I plan on watching it this weekend because we want to help support the Memorial that will be built to remember these who gave their lives!This weekends proceeds, at least 10% will go toward building a Memorial. I also think we need to remember the horror of that day and not forget the war we are still fighting. This is a good country and we are free. That freedom is up to us just as it was for the passangers on flight 93.
Posted By Anonymous Andrea, Columbia SC : 5:49 PM ET
Movies are not just about being entertained, and this, like Saving Private Ryan, isn't a movie to entertain. As long as the movie doesn't stray too far from what actually happened on Flight 93, I see no reason for people to get upset about it being made. From what I understand, many of the familes of victims of Flight 93 ok'd this movie.
Posted By Anonymous Adam U., Portland, OR : 5:58 PM ET
I agree with Andrea in SC, we need to go see this movie. We need to remind our selves abount 9/11 and Katrina. So many people have forgotten these events and have moved on with their lives. We need to remeber, and not forget what happen to so many people.
Posted By Anonymous Sandy Richmond VA : 6:04 PM ET
"But I think my biggest problem is that someone out there- a director, a studio, a writer- took it upon themselves to tell a story that is not theirs to tell."

Should Spielberg (and author Thomas Keneally) not have told Schindler's List? Should Mel Gibson not have told The Passion of the Christ?

Should some stories remain untold because the people who they 'belonged' to are no longer with us to tell them?
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 6:10 PM ET
As a nation we are all grateful for "Let's roll" and have sympathy for those who lost loved ones on 9-11. I say build a small permanent marker at the site and place a plaque of commemoration and thanks on the Capitol. Then, get on with the healing. A nation sick with fear is not worthy of these Americans.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 6:11 PM ET
I'm glad a movie has been made about United 93. It was overshadowed at the time by the towers and the pentagon.

Perhaps 5 yrs from now we can have a movie that highlights the tragedy in Mississippi due to Hurricane Katrina that so many ignored while all eyes were on New Orleans. Perhaps St Bernard and Plaqumenies Parishes might get some respect too...'course they didn't get any in 1927 either did they? When New Orleans blew the levee and destroyed them during the Great Flood when it wasnt even necessary.

I guess history repeats.

I personally am not ready to watch the film, and could never watch a Katrina film...but I am glad its been made.
Posted By Anonymous Brandy, Pearl, Ms : 6:20 PM ET
Everyone remembers 9/11 as "those two planes that hit the WTC and the one that hit the Pentagon" ... 93, if it is even mentioned, is an afterthought.

It's an afterthought because the people on board chose to show the same courage as the other unlikely heroes of 9/11 - firefighters, cops, medics, servicemen ... They chose not to be sheep and to take on the wolves.

There will be cynics will call it commercialization of a tragedy. There are far more will find any excuse to try and not put human faces to the events of that day.

Tough. You can believe that there are no monsters in the world, no real ones, if you like, and wish 9/11 away. But it won't go away, and you don't get to choose to deny remembering the actions of those ordinary people in extraordinary times any more than they got to deny what they were going to be used for.

No-one's making you go watch the movie if you don't want to. The only ones with a moral right to object to it are the families of the passengers and crew, and they've given it the green light.

The rest of us have a moral responsibility and obligation to remember all of those that died 9/11, and if a movie helps turn Flight 93 from an afterthought to something finally remembered up there with everything else on an equal basis, then who cares who makes a profit?

Flight 93 is the forgotten flight because the passengers refused to allow it to be used to kill a few thousand people.

If people remembered all of those that died on September 11th 2001, whether they took a few thousand people with them, or just a field, equally, there wouldn't be a need for a movie to remind them.
Posted By Anonymous miika, washington dc : 6:41 PM ET
I would expect nothing more than a lukewarm endorsement of "Flight 93" by someone working for CNN.

Let's face it, a movie such as this could galvanize support for the "War on Terror" and we can't have that now can we?

I won't watch this movie for entertainment. I will watch it because I am a patriotic American!
Posted By Anonymous Sean Plankey, Knoxville, TN : 6:48 PM ET
I have read several interviews with Paul Greengrass, the director of this film. I am very impressed with is insistance on the approval of the families. Every family was approached and given the chance to accept or reject the idea.

The is exactly the kind of movie that should be supported with our money, so much moreso than the usual crap that gets released each weekend.
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Orem Utah : 6:56 PM ET
I just feel like it seems a little... sleazy for people to make money off of these people and the tragedy. But if the families support it, then I guess I support it too. I do think it's important for people to see how brave the flight 93 passengers were. But I think it would be equally admirable for the profits to go to the families of 9/11 victims.
Posted By Anonymous Courtney, Chagrin Falls, OH : 7:19 PM ET
I have no wish to see "United 93", but I will definitely be in line for a ticket. I was so sick, stunned, and felt removed from reality when these attacks happened, but I will be in line for a ticket to view this movie as it is about real life heroes, not made up characters. If, as I am sure, I will feel sick, removed from reality, cry....maybe it is a good thing! Those people who gave up their life to spare some of us, especially the White House/President, etc. should be honored in every way possible and certainly should never never be forgotten regardless of how sad it makes us to rehash that day. Is it too soon? Dumb question as far as I am concerned, the people who gave up their life that fatal day did not think it was too soon! I, also, feel that all profits from this movie should be distributed to all the familes of the victims. I do not believe that anyone else should be allowed to make a profit from these wonderful, courageous people. Ask yourself...would you have made the same decision the people of flight 93 made? I will not even try to answer that question, as I have no truthful answer even though I would like to say YES!
Posted By Anonymous Moe, Liverpool NY : 7:20 PM ET
I think people are overreacting to the movie and are missing the key point of the movie-courage and sensibility of those people. I am quite sure that not a lot of us would be able to do what those on the plane did, most of us only care about ourselves. The people on the plane knew they might not survive and so instead of doing nothing and letting the plane hit a building or something in which many more could die, they decided to take action and prevent any such catastrophie from happening. This is important point, unfortunately many of us fail to see this. I can understand that those of us who have been affected by the incident directly may not want to see this movie as this will bring back sad memories, but what about others? The movie gives us an opportunity to reflect upon things and see where we stand and whether or not we would have done the same as the people on United 93 did. The movie also reminds us about the threat posed by terrorism and awakens those of us who have forgotten that terrorism still exists.
Posted By Anonymous Deepak C. Toronto, ON : 7:31 PM ET
My husband and I went to see the movie. It is real and raw and I think done as well as it could be done. Neither glamous nor preachy. The passengers and the terrorists were portrayed as humans linked in a terrible tragedy, both terrified, both determined. As on that terrible day, I wept at the injustice and the horror still so unreal and unspeakable. I think people should go see it to remember that day, our feelings of horror and patriotism. Remember why we are at war on terrorism.
Posted By Anonymous gloria c. calif : 7:34 PM ET
I,too,have mixed feelings about this movie deplicting what happened on 9/11. I also have plans on seeing this movier because I feel I have to get a better understanding for me of what happened and what those people went through on that fateful day. Those people,who I call True American Heroes,died so that I may continue to live in this great country I call America. My hats off to the surving family members for allowing us to be a part of their healing and my continued prayers for all of you!!!
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly,Belton,Texas : 7:35 PM ET
Since no one really knows what happened on Flight 93, I feel any movie version does a disservice to the actual events of that day.

For all of us, the events of September 11th are forever burned into our minds. I don't think we need a movie to remind us of that day.

I recognize the importance of remembering what happened, honoring the heroes of the day, and mourning the dead, but the newsreel footage is so powerful, no movie can come close to capturing the horror of that day.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 7:48 PM ET
I saw the movie today. Unbelievable!! It's the story of the first counter attack against the animals that attacked us that day. I feel this movie IS very important and should have been done 2 years ago. America IS forgetting what happened that day. Athletes and celebrities should not be who our young people idolize and look up to. . . .it should be the Titans on that plane that day.
Posted By Anonymous Tim Carr, Cherry Hill, NJ : 7:49 PM ET
I am in favor of this movie, here and now. We are overly and falsely sensitive today, and treat our feelings as if they ought to be swaddled in cotton wool.

I do not mean to suggest that we should treat the events of 9/11 with disrespect, and from all I understand about this movie, it does not do that. It is meant to honor and educate and remind us of what occurred that day.

Too soon? There were movies being made about WW2 *during* it - movies about Vietnam shortly after it. Movies aren't only exploitative entertainment, but can also educate and raise awareness. Is it a bad thing, 5 years after 9/11, to be called upon to remember what these people did? In a culture where our collective memory is short, and there are probably already children in high school who don't know the full details of 9/11, I don't think this movie is a bad thing.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa, Dallas TX : 8:00 PM ET
I don't object to this movie having been made- those people are heroes and they deserve to have their actions memorialized in every possible way. But I just can't bring myself to stroll down to my local multiplex, hand over my nine-fifty, and sit through a cinematic recreation of that horrible day. Maybe someday I'll want to see it, maybe I won't, but right now that's just something I can't bear to do.
Posted By Anonymous Marjorie, Berkeley, CA : 8:08 PM ET
I will see "Flight 93", and I think every person - especially Americans - owes it to themselves to see it as reminder of the incredible, almost inconceivable bravery of those passengers.
Posted By Anonymous Tina, Chicago IL : 8:21 PM ET
Its a MOVIE. If you don't want to see it, don't go. What else is there to talk about here?
Posted By Anonymous Jason San Angelo Texas : 8:30 PM ET
The bottom line, no matter how honorably the producers may present their story, is that this is a venture for profit. We know the story, and we know the ending and we will all remember the day and the event in our own way. There was no need to make it.
Posted By Anonymous Duncan, West Vancouver, BC : 8:52 PM ET
You would think after nearly 5 years, America could take time to commemorate the bravery and solidarity exhibited by the victims of that horrible event. I know at this point I simply cannot go and see this film - yet. In my prayerful way, I know each and every one of them did not perish in vain, and to memorialize them may not always mean going to see this film. Instead, I give thanks and praise for the other hundreds (if not thousands) of lives saved because of their actions on United 93.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Bourbonnais IL : 9:09 PM ET
maybe it is time for these movies.I think people have forgotten. And it is time for america to back together
Posted By Anonymous Jane Painter Lima, Ohio : 9:10 PM ET
I lived through every single minute of this unspeakable tragedy, from the minute the first plane plowed into the first tower, to the last scrap of debris cleared away at ground zero, via television. It is emblazened in my mind forever! I will never forget. I have no need to see it all again with this movie. Just like my memory of President Kennedy's assination is still vivid after 43 years.
Posted By Anonymous Ellee, Fargo, ND : 9:11 PM ET
Sorry, but for me the movies is for entertainment. This is not entertainment. The events of 9/11 happened once, but we as a society have some kind of perverse desire to relive it over and over again.
Posted By Anonymous Jim Parkhurst, San Clemente, CA : 9:19 PM ET
During World War I, the cry was "Remember the Lusitania", during World War II, the cry was "Remember Pearl Harbor", during this 21st Century "war" on extremist Islam, the cry should be "Remember Flight 93, and the other victims of 9/11". Sometimes we need reminding.
Posted By Anonymous dmitchell, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada : 9:20 PM ET
I agree with Tim Carr. The American people may have not forgotten the events on that day, but they have "put it aside". With the war on Iraq(not the 9/11 terrorists), the hurricanes(Katrina AND Rita), and massive illegal alien problems(May 1 protests), Americans have just put their focus on other issues. This movie/documentary is meant to make us remember and be proud of what we are able to accomplish. In my opinion, our media (exc. CNN, I am a diehard viewer) has put far too much focus on atheletes and celebraties. We need something like this movie to bring us back to what really matters to us.
Posted By Anonymous Jay Greer, Westlake, La : 9:48 PM ET
I don't mean to offend but I think it's unfair to characterize someone who doesn't agree with you as being unpatriotic. I will not see this movie and it has nothing to do with a lack of patriotism. I live near to the area where the plane went down. That morning we heard the National Guard were at the Johnstown Airport which is about 8 miles from my house. The mall was closed but we didn't know why these steps were being taken. All we knew was there was one plane unaccounted for. My cousin was awakened by the sound of a plane; when they went outside they saw a plane flying erratically and very low. We watched CNN for days and saw images of that terrible day. It's etched in our minds, we don't need a movie to remind us.

Finally, in my opinion the War in Iraq was decided upon before the 2000 election and has nothing to do with the War on Terror; the war on terror should be focused on Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden and the rest of Al Quaeda.
Posted By Anonymous Christina, Windber PA : 9:55 PM ET
The first time I saw the trailor for this movie my eyes welled with tears.

I don't know if I was ready to see the film, but I did. I sat through it, body tense, wondering if I would be able to take it. I was torn, I cried, I felt sick, I was angry, and I'm still overcome by the experience.

I am grateful this movie was made. It was a reminder of not just my own experience of walking out of a middle school classroom where I was teaching at 9:25 to have the school librarian coming down the hall saying, "We're under attack," and then turning on the television to watch the events unfold, but it was also a reminder of the strength of the American people.

It was a salute to our history and the people who gave their lives for the goals the country was founded on.

It was a testiment to the fact that no American airplane will be an easy target for terrorists again.
Posted By Anonymous Tina R., Durham, North Carolina : 10:08 PM ET
As a memorial I would salute the people that lost their lives on that day.
Out of respect I would not want to see anyone's family perish in such a manner.
Everyone should follow their example and take action to control their own destiny and not let someone control it for them.
Posted By Anonymous BeeMax,Vicksburg,MS : 12:51 PM ET
I'm just worried about what this film could do. I know a few people who have seen it, and they have told me how they've realized how evil Islam is. That's exactly what we want, right? Make all Muslims look like evil terrorists.
And, yes, Spielburg had a right to make Schindler's List, he's Jewish, and it's part of his history. But random people making this film? That's cheap. Let the families make the film, and on top of that, they should get to keep all the proceeds.
Posted By Anonymous Bekah, Miami, Fl : 1:21 PM ET
If this movie were in any way exploitative, I would be first among the naysayers, but it isn't.

What happens onscreen isn't any different than what happened in my head when I recently heard excerpts from the 911 tapes. If the movie had used star actors, a pounding score and dramatic dialogue, that would almost have been a welcome distraction.

Instead it just showed humans who I knew were going to die, as THEY realized they were going to die. It's a lot like Randy McCloy's letter to the miners' families. You can read it or NOT read it, but either way, the tragedy will have still happened.

When I hear opinions that this movie should not have been made, it makes me feel as I did in 2001 when people wanted to digitally remove the twin towers from pictures and film footage, because it was "too painful" to see them. If you erase those deaths from the public recall, you also erase those lives that went with them. You've almost got to battle through the awful memories, to reclaim the good ones. That elephant in the room will never get out if you just keep walking around him.

It's not "too soon" to make this movie. It's "too soon" not to.
Posted By Anonymous Michele Jackson, Northridge CA : 1:54 PM ET
I don't believe the liberal media hype that Americans are afraid and disturbed to see the movie United 93. when i first heard about the movie i was excited to finally see a movie that deals with the reality of the attack on US soil by these cowards who are murderers.It's all hype, don't believe cnn, who are pushing their own agenda. it was digusting to see a cnn anchor man talking about his fears about seeing this movie what a sissie!
Posted By Anonymous Debra Lopez,San Francico Ca : 2:38 PM ET
I saw the film last night and it was deeply moving. I don't think it was too soon to make a film about flight 93. Had it been made 50 years from now, it still would have been difficult. This movie was a memorial...a chance to continue healing from that tragic day.
Posted By Anonymous Jeremy, Laguna Beach, CA : 3:06 PM ET
I took my teenage son to see this movie with me. It was a very moving experience. Well worth seeing. I think it is a good reminder of just what happened, and how we need to stay alert.
Posted By Anonymous Carol Renee' Illinois : 3:32 PM ET
No, wary of watching flight 93, because it a fabrication of what really happen. The truth is this plane was shot down by the U.S. government. What is really happening is that they want to make heros out the poor people because you blew them out of the sky.
They knew the plane was headed to washington, do you think the american people is dumb enough to believe this plane crash the way the movie flight 93 portrayed it. I guess some are!
Posted By Anonymous Tim,Chicago,Ill : 4:15 PM ET
I have no desire to see United 93.

I don't consider it "patriotic duty" to go see it, and I don't think those who don't want to see it are "unpatriotic" as someone previously mentioned.

I watched every horrifying moment of the news that day. I lived it, albeit second hand. My heart goes out to the families of all of the 9/11 victims, and they will never be forgotten, but trying to re-instill fear in the American populace is not a good way to honor them.
Posted By Anonymous Melinda, Poconos, PA : 4:16 PM ET
I strongly agree with Tom Foreman's assertion that we'll never know everything that happened on Flight 93.

And like him, I do not much want to see the movie.

However, we do not know that the plane crashed into an empty field. What we do know is that there was a large crater found in a field near Shanksville, and that many people heard explosions. To interpret from that information that Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville is to dishonor lives that were lost on 9/11 and covered up by lies.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Terlisner, Seattle, WA : 4:58 PM ET
I don't have any plans to see this movie at this point. If this was truly a memorial then ALL proceeds would be donated to the victims or a foundation. Donating a token 10% just for opening weekend is offensive. Too many people are going to profit off of this tragedy.
Posted By Anonymous Lynn, Las Vegas, NV : 7:46 PM ET
I understand both the desire and the reticence to see the movie. I myself hope that I will be able to muster the courage to go see it. Having been in downtown Manhattan the day the planes struck, I feel the shock of that day even when considering to see the movie. However, after having seen the families on Larry King, giving their overwhelming support for the movie, I want to have the same courage they show. But it is difficult.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, West Orange, NJ : 9:52 PM ET
The number one reason people should see this movie is to remind themselves of who the enemy is. The enemy is not President Bush, its not the Republicans or the Democrats, its not Congress, the enemy are the terrorists. We were united like a country never has been before in the weeks after 9/11. Now less than 5 years later we are torn apart bickering. Exactly what the terrorists want us to do. See the movie and remind yourself who the enemy really is.
Posted By Anonymous Brian, Parker CO : 11:20 PM ET
I commend the families of the brave people who where on the flight that fateful day for supporting this movie. I also commend the directors and everyone involved in the making of the film. I have plans to go see it. Yes, it was a tragedy for our entire country, but it would also be a tragedy for people to not see it. You can't ignore that it happened. Yes it is true that we will never know exactly every single detail of what happened on that plane, but there were cell phone calls made, some information got out and we know the plane was ment to kill others. We know the passengers on the plane decided to fight back. All of these events are events that need to be told and respected. We need to remember these brave Americans!
Posted By Anonymous Lori, Cape Girardeau MO : 11:33 PM ET
I lived through 9/11 and I have no sdesire to "honer" the dead by paying money to a corporation to relive that horribel day.
Posted By Anonymous G : 6:24 PM ET
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