This Week in Movies: Eagle Eye

Andrew Burford

The funny thing about changes in Hollywood is that there are few, if any. Let’s take a look at the “Scary Movie” spoof franchise for instance: not only did that particular 2000 film produce three sequels but it also spawned a following of four other similar spoof comedies (and counting), Date Movie, Epic Movie, Superhero Movie and the most recent Disaster Movie.

Now if my math is correct, that figure amounts to seven nearly identical spoof comedies in the past eight years. With Sci-Fi Movie on the way, I often cannot help but wonder why the American entertainment market functions in the way that it does. Ideas get recycled, repackaged, redone with someone else in front of the camera and yet the audience rarely seems to care.

Most studio executives have a good answer for that: who cares, so long as the product pleases the audience? Does the benefit of creativity really outweigh the risk involved? Or, on the contrary, does the benefit of a built-in target audience not outweigh the tiresome reputation a franchise may gain in the process?

Nonetheless it was not until Eagle Eye last weekend that the counter-argument really became spelled out for me on my own personal terms. I think I might just be catching on. Sure, I’ve seen the premise of Eagle Eye in a hundred other movies: man builds machine. Machine turns on man. Man is screwed. The critic in me was saying “Go watch 2001: A Space Odyssey,” but the consumer in me wanted to stay put with my brain turned off for once. After all, I have enough work to do as it is anyway.

With director D.J. Caruso reteaming with Shia LaBeouf after last year’s surprise hit Disturbia, it comes as no surprise that Paramount greenlit Eagle. LaBeouf plays Jerry Shaw, a young Stanford dropout who finds his new life filled with far more work than he intended. After returning to his apartment one evening only to find a mass amount of terrorist supplies, Jerry begins receiving mysterious phone calls from an unknown source that in turn forces him to go on the run for his life. Along the way Jerry finds Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), a young woman receiving the same phone calls. Together they attempt to unravel an exciting mystery held deep within the U.S. government.

As was hinted before, this pic is enjoyable no matter how cliche it is. I found myself watching it from beginning to end, and ultimately such is the goal of the entertainment industry. Though I can guarantee that I will remember almost nothing about Eagle Eye come next week, it’s safe to say that another reincarnation of the project will be arriving in theaters soon enough.

Furthermore, Shia LaBeouf impresses once again, serving as even further proof that he is one of Hollywood’s newest and most bankable stars. With two $300 plus million domestic releases in the past year, his appeal is clearly undeniable to a massive amount of people. Even for the LaBeouf-haters out there, you may indeed be surprised.

So for that I recommend Eagle Eye. Give your brain a rest as the work begins to pile up. Eagle Eye is playing at the Hamilton Theater now.