Thursday, December 12, 2013

White House Has Fallen

 White House Down
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins, Jason Clarke, Joey King, James Wood
Released: June 28, 2013

Olympus Has Fallen
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Gerald Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett,  Melissa Leo, Rick Yune, Dylan McDermott, Finley Jacobsen
Released: March 22, 2013

Remember in 1998 when both Armageddon and Deep Impact, both about asteroids destroying the earth, were released within months of each other? And wasn't there two movies about volcanoes erupting within the same year too? White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen are both about the White House being taken over by terrorists and one man (Channing Tatum for WHD and Gerald Butler for OHF) must stop them. Both movies came out earlier this year only separated by a few months. There are only two main differences that I can find in both movies. One is that OHF takes itself much more seriously than WHD. It has a very somber mood while WHD goes for the more blockbuster summer popcorn thrill ride. It even makes a meta joke when a guide is giving a tour of the White House and tells the group where they are standing is where the aliens blew up the White House in Independence Day. Apparently that line was not in the script, so good for Roland Emmerich for having a sense of humor to keep it in. (Just in case my mom is reading this, he directed Independence Day!) Also, the marketing! I saw trailers, commercials, and posters for WHD everywhere while I had no idea that OHF even existed until I saw it on DVD and heard somebody talk about it on a podcast when they were reviewing these two movies. I thought it was one of the straight to DVD releases!

Why don't we compare how similar they are? In the first time in Cinematic Sara history, I created this nifty table from my iMac's Pages:

White House Down

Olympus Has Fallen
POTUS: James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) Even though Foxx isn’t as young as I thought he was, I could never believe him as the President of the United States. He was just never authoritative to me in a way, say, someone like Denzel Washington would be able to pull off. The First Lady is in Paris when the chaos happens.

POTUS: Ben Asher (Aaron Eckhart) Asher is a widower with a young son. His wife died in a car accident a year prior when their car slid into an icy bridge and she plummeted to her death. There was only time to save Asher. 
The hero: John Cale (Channing Tatum) First of all, I could watch Channing Tatum in anything. He is very nice to look at! Cale is a bodyguard assigned to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. He gets involved with helping Sawyer when he is in the White House on a tour with his daughter when the mayhem begins. 

The hero: Mike Banning (Gerald Bulter) Banning used to be head of the security team for the POTUS, but he was pulled from the team because he was the one who saved the POTUS and couldn’t save the FLOTUS so it brings back bad memories for the President. When Banning sees something is wrong at the White House, he goes into Jack Bauer mode. 

The (main) bad guy: Emil (Jason Clark, the guy from Zero Dark Thirty). With the help from the inside, he leads his men inside and they start taking hostages. The bad guys sneak into the WH acting like janitors. 

The (main) bad guy: North Korean terrorist, Kang (Rick Yune) who is posing as the South Korean’s Prime Minister’s assistant. That way he is invited into the White House when Asher has a meeting with the PM. After the WH is surrounded by Kang’s men and the security guys have all been taken out, Kang takes the POTUS and others (including the Secretary of Defense (Melissa Leo)). Kang wants Asher to pull troops from his country where there’s a civil war going on and he wants the codes for the missiles he plans to launch and the only people who know them are the POUTS and two other officials in the room.
Inside Man: Martin Walker, retired head of the Presidential Detail (James Wood) He is the one who is behind the overthrow of the White House because his son was killed in war and he wants revenge. He also wants codes that will launch a missile.  

Inside Man: ex-Secret Service agent-turned-traitor Dave Forbes (Dylan McDermott). I don’t remember why he was working with the North Koreans, but Banning doesn’t know his old pal is one of the bad guys until Forbes says Kang’sname and Banning asks him how he knew his name. He tells Forbes to be on the good side for once and radio Kang to tell him he has Banning captured and after he does that, Banning kills him. Dude, pick a side and stay with it! 
The veteran: Speaker of the House, Eli Ralpheson (Richard Jenkins). He is the one Cale works for and he is also behind the whole plot as well. He is promised if he goes along with it, he will be the next POTUS because they launch a missile at Air Force One which has the VP in it. (What’s this an epihour of 24?) But what he and Walker failed to realize is that they didn’t succeed at killing the President and their plans are thwarted.  

The veteran: Speaker of the House, Allan Trumball (Morgan Freeman). See, even the veteran actors are playing the same roles! Unlike Ralpheson, Trumball is a good guy and has to take over as POTUS for five minutes when it is feared that Asher is dead. 
The kid: Emily (Joey King) Cale’s daughter who has an unusual fascination with politics for a girl her age. Her flag waving skills helps save her dad and POTUS at the end of the day (don’t ask). She has a YouTube channel and takes videos of the terrorists as she’s hiding. She is captured and brought into a room with the other hostages, but not before she uploads the videos to her channel and they go viral and soon it’s all over the news. The journalists say her name and post her picture. Now I  shouldn’t compare this ridiculous event to a real, horrifying one, but I remember when Columbine happened live (as this was happening live too), students would call news channels from inside the school to tell them what’s going on, but the journalists would be very careful to say DO NOT TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE so they wouldn’t be found and shot in case there were any TVs on. Why are these journalists saying her name and posting picture of her when her hostages could be watching it on TV? That was just stupid and that would never happen. 

The kid: Connor (Finley Jacobsen) He has nothing to do except be saved. After he is safe, Banning continues on with getting the POTUS and defeating Kang. This category is the only one where there’s a major difference between the two movies. It’s the only one where the characters are played by opposite genders. And while Connor is barely in the movie, Emily plays a very big role in hers.
The (main) female: Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhall). She works as an assistant for the POTUS and is not in the White House when it’s taken over. She’s working on the outside to help Cale and Sawyer escape.

The (main) female: Director of the Secret Service, Lynne Jacobs (Angela Basset). She fully and completely trusts Banning with her life and with the life of the President. She knows if anybody is going to save Asher, it’s going to be Banning! She’s also on the outside helping Banning.

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