Watch: Millennium Gives Us Our 1st Look at Antonio Banderas In Automata

Automata, movie, poster, Antonio Banderas, Dylan McDermott

poster for Automata with Antonio Banderas

The moviegoing public has flocked to films about automatons, machines, automatons and robots since the movies began. One of the world’s first “blockbusters” or event movies, was Fritz Lang’s Metropolis from 1927, a film so beloved to this day that it has been updated, restored, and rereleased countless times.

One of the givens in 90% of these films is that we get to watch these machines turn on their makers, providing us with countless fables about the evils of progress and allegories for human nature. The latest such film stars Antonio Banderas in Automata, from Spanish director Gabe Ibañez. According to Ibañez, his film is about “this moment where artificial intelligence arrives at the same place as human intelligence.”

Banderas plays Jacq Vaucan, an insurance agent or accident investigator 50 years in the future. Earth’s ecology is on the point of collapse. Vaucan, working for the ROC Robotics Corporation, begins another routine investigation into the “illicit manipulation of a robot”, but this time he gets to know the ‘bots a little better than he bargained for, and even starts seeing their side of things, as the machines develop sentient intelligence and begin to rebel. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

The actor also produced the film. During a recent Reddit AMA conversation he described it as “… a movie about … [a] scientific concept called singularity, which is the time in which machines actually overcome the human mind. So it’s a very reflective philosophical science fiction, going back to the science fiction I love, like Isaac Asimov. That’s the type of movie we tried to do.”

Take a look at this:

I like it. It doesn’t appear nearly as cold and bloodless as the landscape or even the synopsis would suggest. Or maybe it’s just the pulse-pounding score they put under this trailer. But c’mon, how cool was that gunslinger robot throwing off his cape a la Clint Eastwood and his serape? In any case, we see lots of different robots in varying degrees of technological advancement, which may hint at some sort of class structure and sociological hierarchy among the machines. A ‘bot “Animal Farm” perhaps.

In addition to Banderas, Automata stars Dylan McDermott and Robert Forster (in an Olympus Has Fallen reunion – although they didn’t share any scenes in that film), Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Tim McInnerney, Andrew Tiernan, and yes, that was Javier Bardem’s voice. Automata has been languishing on the shelf for a while, which explains the presence of the ex-Mrs. Banderas, Melanie Griffith. Automata bows at the San Sebastian Film Festival next month then opens in the US on October 10, released by, what seems appropriately enough, Millennium.

Worth Another Look: Olympus Has Fallen on DVD

Olympus Has Fallen, movie, dvd, blu-ray, Gerard Butler

As you’re by now aware, movie audiences were treated to not one, but two, White House under siege movies this year. The wildest (and yet more serious-minded), the one people actually went to see, Olympus Has Fallen, has just come out on dvd. Now we’ll all be able to watch Gerard Butler and Dylan McDermott go mano y mano over and over again til our {heart’s} content and in the privacy of our own homes. Woot!

Since my initial review, first posted in March, this movie has gone on to exceed expectations and OVER-perform in nearly all of the markets in which it was released, world-wide. There’s no question it benefitted from being first out of the gate, but as of this writing, it’s the number one dvd rental in North America (per imdb) and has been the number one movie rental in American hotel rooms two months (the only 2 in which it was available) in a row. (I’m presuming they aren’t counting porn, but maybe they are!)  It’s not rocket surgery, but it is a LOT of fun.  Just the thing to watch while sitting on the couch in your jammies with a big bowl of popcorn and a couple of adult bevvies. In any case, I thought this would be a good time to revisit my thoughts on the subject. What follows is a slightly abbreviated version of my review, ending with a listing of the special features on the home editions:

Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen is probably the wildest ride you’ll take since the last time you rode Space Mountain, the Cyclone or even Kingda Ka*.  Watching this action adventure is the equivalent of a turn on one of the world’s scariest roller coasters with a release of adrenaline and dopamine that makes us feel frightened, shocked,  giddy and intensely alive.  Whenever I get off a rollercoaster, I want to get right back on. I felt the same way after I saw this movie.

Gerard Butler stars, in what has been described as “Die Hard in the White House”. It follows a down-on-his-luck ex-Secret Service (Butler) agent who becomes America’s only hope when 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is taken over by terrorists.

When the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the President is kidnapped, disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning’s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President and avert an even bigger crisis.

…We’ve all heard the term “edge-of-your-seat” thriller. If you’ve never actually been on the edge of your seat while watching a movie and thought that was just so much hyperbole, that is exactly the place from which you will watch most of this movie.

If you’ve seen a trailer or clip, you know that the relative calm with which the movie opens, a picture of a happy family that just happens to include the President of the United States (Aaron Eckhart, looking extremely Presidential, I might add), won’t last. It’s like the clickety-clacking of that rollercoaster slowly making its way up to the first peak and then WOO HOO!

We get a brief respite while we and the characters on screen recover. When the action starts again, it really starts and seldom lets up for the next hour and a half.

Director Fuqua’s pacing and the talented cast keep us from looking too closely for the zippers up the backs of the monsters. The plot moves so fast and the actors sell it so well, that we don’t have time to look for holes. (… when you’re biting your nails and dodging bullets you don’t have a moment to think about whether or not  “that would really happen”.)

If you think the sight of the Washington monument moments after a plane hits it looks familiar, it’s supposed to. It evokes one of the defining moments of our country’s recent history for a reason. It’s designed to deliberately stir our patriotism precisely so that when the shooting stops, you understand the journey that the people who inhabit the United States on screen under President Asher, have just taken.  It neatly sidesteps jingoism by giving the bad guy (Rick Yune as Kang) a cause, but does not delve too deeply into his back story except to let us know that however just that cause may or may not be and how cool, calculated and brilliant he may appear, he took the train to Crazy Town long ago.

It avoids predictability by resolving one subplot in particular quickly, without dragging it out into cliché and also by not treating the hostages as “damsels-in-distress” waiting to be saved, but as tough patriots determined to go down swinging if that is their fate. Again, I have to stress the brilliant casting.

Without an actress of Oscar winner Melissa Leo’s caliber, we might not buy a female Secretary of Defense or what she undergoes in that bunker. The same could be said of Angela Bassett’s Director of the Secret Service. Her part was originally written for a man, since there has never been a female director. She is completely plausible and despite the fact that we never learn a single thing about her background, with Bassett’s performance we can understand how tough Lynn Jacobs would have to be to even be considered for the job.

Can we talk about Gerard Butler now? I think readers of this blog know that I’m kinda partial and I’m not one who sees anything wrong with the fact that he mixes genres and continues to try new things, but if he was going to return to action/adventure, this was the movie to do it with.  Butler is more than credible as Agent Mike Banning, the head of the President’s protection detail, mentor and guardian of the President’s son, as well as Agent-in-Exile Mike Banning, with visible, barely contained anxiety stemming from his role in the death of the First Lady and the desire to get back “in”. G does “damaged hero” very well and this movie lets him play to those strengths. We absolutely buy him as an ex-special forces commando able to thin the enemy’s numbers single-handedly. We especially buy his banter. The many one-liners he gets off are hilarious and speak volumes about the man and how he handles himself under pressure. Credit the writers, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, as well as Butler.

Do I even have to tell you that Morgan Freeman was completely believable as the Speaker of the House who becomes the Acting President? We’ve seen him in charge before and we always believe him. In fact, there are factions in this country who think he’s so good at acting like the president that they think he should run for the real job. (Mr. Freeman, I’ve read, takes that as a compliment to his abilities, but has no plans to run.) Freeman’s very casting is almost a spoiler.  How could everything not turn out okay on his watch?

Speaking of spoilers, I’m trying not to divulge anything that is best left for viewing, for instance there are more than a few of those one liners of Banning’s that I’d love to quote, but I will refrain. I can tell you that the fight scenes you may have seen, as well as the battles and carnage, are but the tip of the iceberg. I am serious when I tell you this movie doesn’t let up until the last two minutes of screen time. I can also tell you that the audiences with whom I saw the movie laughed, whooped and gasped at appropriate times and then erupted into cheers and applause when the bad guy finally bought it.

There will be people for whom this movie will be too much. Too much noise, too much blood, too much suspended disbelief, just too much. (For me there was a little too much kettle drum in the score.) This is a hard-R action movie. Lots of shit gets “blowed up” and the F-word is carpet bombed.  It won’t please everyone, nor should it. Those that like this sort of thing will love it.

Olympus Has Fallen, dvd, movie, blu-ray, Gerard Butler, Radha Mitchell

courtesy OHF Facebook page

The only nit I’ll pick was that I think there was probably originally more to Mike Banning’s relationship with his wife that didn’t make the final cut. Radha Mitchell is very good in her limited screen time and both she and Butler do convey a sense of the state of their relationship with very little, but I do believe we were denied a love scene. Just puttin’ that out there.

Olympus Has Fallen, starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Rick Yune, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser and Radha Mitchell, is out on dvd and blu-ray in the US now, Australia tomorrow, August 21, and on 2nd September in the UK.

DVD Bonus Features (basically there are none. Boooo)

-Ultraviolet digital copy

BLU-Ray on the other hand, has a lot of Bonus Features:

-Bloopers

(Check out a partial reel at the link, courtesy AccessHollywood )

-The Epic Ensemble: A look at Antoine Fuqua’s direction and an overview of the main cast’s work.

-Under Surveillance: The Making of Olympus Has Fallen: Cast and crew examine the core story, the process of fleshing out the idea, Antoine Fuqua’s vision of the film as a “cautionary tale,” the plausibility of the plot, technical consultation, creating a conceivably real assault on the White House, shooting in Louisiana standing in for Washington, set construction, and the role of both digital and practical effects.

-Deconstructing the Black Hawk Sequence: A detailed, inside look at digitally creating one of the film’s biggest action pieces.

-Ground Combat: Fighting the Terrorists: An examination of Fuqua’s insistence on reality and choreographing the action scenes.

-Creating the Action: VFX and Design: A broader examination of the film’s visual effects.

Previews: Additional Sony titles.

DVD Copy.

UV Digital Copy.

*The tallest coaster in the World, fastest in North America. 0 to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds and catapulting you 45 stories into the sky.  Not for love nor money.

Olympus Has Fallen is One Wild Ride!

Olympus Has Fallen poster

Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen is probably the wildest ride you’ll take since the last time you rode Space Mountain, the Cyclone or even Kingda Ka*.  Watching this action adventure is the equivalent of a turn on one of the world’s scariest roller coasters with a release of adrenaline and dopamine that makes us feel frightened, shocked,  giddy and intensely alive.  Whenever I get off a rollercoaster, I want to get right back on. I felt the same way after I saw this movie.

Gerard Butler stars, in what has been described as “Die Hard in the White House”. It follows a down-on-his-luck ex-Secret Service (Butler) agent who becomes America’s only hope when 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is taken over by terrorists.

When the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the President is kidnapped, disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning’s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President and avert an even bigger crisis.

There have been a lot of screenings across the country in the past few weeks, building excitement for this this film. It’s practically a hit already and it hasn’t even opened yet. So just what can you expect when you finally get a chance to see it? We’ve all heard the term “edge-of-your-seat” thriller. If you’ve never actually been on the edge of your seat while watching a movie and thought that was just so much hyperbole, that is exactly the place from which you will watch most of this movie.

If you’ve seen a trailer or clip, you know that the relative calm with which the movie opens, a picture of a happy family that just happens to include the President of the United States (Aaron Eckhart), won’t last. It’s like the clickety-clacking of that rollercoaster slowly making its way up to the first peak and then BAM!  We get a brief respite while we and the characters on screen recover. When the action starts again, it really starts and seldom lets up for the next hour and a half.

Director Antoine Fuqua’s pacing and the talented cast keep us from looking too closely for the zippers up the backs of the monsters. The plot moves so fast and the actors sell it so well, that we don’t have time to look for holes. (And I’m not saying I saw any, but when you’re biting your nails and dodging bullets you don’t have a moment to think about whether or not  “that would really happen”.)

Olympus Has Fallen Washington Monument

If you think the sight of the Washington monument moments after a plane hits it looks familiar, it’s supposed to. It evokes one of the defining moments of our country’s recent history for a reason. It’s designed to deliberately stir our patriotism precisely so that when the shooting stops, you understand the journey that the people who inhabit the United States on screen under President Asher (Aaron Eckhart, looking extremely Presidential I may add),  have just taken.  It neatly sidesteps jingoism by giving the bad guy (Rick Yune as Kang) a cause, but does not delve too deeply into his back story except to let us know that however just that cause may or may not be and how cool, calculated and brilliant he may appear, he took the train to Crazy Town long ago.

It avoids predictability by resolving one subplot in particular quickly, without dragging it out into cliché and also by not treating the hostages as “damsels-in-distress” waiting to be saved, but as tough patriots determined to go down swinging if that is their fate. Again, I have to stress the brilliant casting.

Without an actress of Oscar winner Melissa Leo’s caliber, we might not buy a female Secretary of Defense or what she undergoes in that bunker. The same could be said of Angela Bassett’s Director of the Secret Service. Her part was originally written for a man, since there has never been a female director. She is completely plausible and despite the fact that we never learn a single thing about her background, with Bassett’s performance we can understand how tough Lynn Jacobs would have to be to even be considered for the job.

Olympus Has Fallen Gerard Butler

Can we talk about Gerard Butler now? I think readers of this blog know that I’m kinda partial and I’m not one who sees anything wrong with the fact that he mixes genres and continues to try new things, but if he was going to return to action/adventure, this was the movie to do it with.  Butler is more than credible as Agent Mike Banning, the head of the President’s protection detail, mentor and guardian of the President’s son, as well as Agent-in-Exile Mike Banning, with visible, barely contained anxiety stemming from his role in the death of the First Lady and the desire to get back “in”. G does “damaged hero” very well and this movie lets him play to those strengths. We absolutely buy him as an ex-special forces commando able to thin the enemy’s numbers single-handedly. We especially buy his banter. The many one-liners he gets off are hilarious and speak volumes about the man and how he handles himself under pressure. Credit the writers, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, as well as Butler.

Do I even have to tell you that Morgan Freeman was completely believable as the Speaker of the House who becomes the Acting President? We’ve seen him in charge before and we always believe him. In fact, there are factions in this country who think he’s so good at acting like the president that they think he should run for the real job. (Mr. Freeman, I’ve read, takes that as a compliment to his abilities, but has no plans to run.) Freeman’s very casting is almost a spoiler.  How could everything not turn out okay on his watch?

Speaking of spoilers, I’m trying not to divulge anything that is best left for viewing, for instance there are more than a few of those one liners of Banning’s that I’d love to quote, but I will refrain. (In some ways I think there have been too many clips of the film released. I will say this, it’s all about context.) I can tell you that the fight scenes you may have seen, as well as the battles and carnage, are but the tip of the iceberg. I am serious when I tell you this movie doesn’t let up until the last two minutes of screen time. I can also tell you that the audience I saw the movie with laughed, whooped and gasped at appropriate times and then erupted into cheers and applause when the bad guy finally bought it.

There will be people for whom this movie will be too much. Too much noise, too much blood, too much suspended disbelief, just too much. (For me there was a little too much kettle drum in the score.) This is a hard-R action movie. Lots of shit gets blowed up and the F-word is carpet bombed.  It won’t please everyone, nor should it. Those that like this sort of thing will love it. My first response to a friend after I saw the movie? “However good you THINK Olympus Has Fallen will be-multiply that by 10”.

The only nit I’ll pick was that I think there was probably originally more to Mike Banning’s relationship with his wife that didn’t make the final cut. Radha Mitchell is very good in her limited screen time and both she and Butler do convey a sense of the state of their relationship with very little, but I do believe we were denied a love scene. Just puttin’ that out there.

Olympus Has Fallen, starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Rick Yune, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser and Radha Mitchell, opens in the US on March 22 and 17th April in the UK.

So are you in or are you out? Have you already seen it? What did you think? Leave me a comment and we can discuss.

*The tallest coaster in the World, fastest in North America. 0 to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds and catapulting you 45 stories into the sky.  Not for love nor money.

Catching Up Before We Find Olympus Has Fallen

The last Gerard Butler movie that I discussed at this address was Coriolanus. There wasn’t a lot to talk about in the Land of Butler for many moons, but after a long drought, last fall we were given Chasing Mavericks and then in short order, Playing for Keeps, both of which I championed prior to their theatrical runs, elsewhere. It’s fitting that we talk about them here, now, as they’re both due to be released on dvd within the next few weeks.

Let’s start with Chasing Mavericks in which newcomer Jonny Weston played real-life surfing legend Jay Moriarty and Gerard Butler played his mentor, Rick “Frosty” Hesson.

By now, even if you haven’t seen the film, you’ve seen myriad interviews and reviews. Once again I’m struck by the disconnect between what those who are paid to view and review movies think and what the movie-going public actually likes. While I don’t always agree with public sentiment, on this film I do. 77% of the Rotten Tomatoes crowd liked this movie a lot, while only 32% of critics did.

Let me offer my completely biased opinion on this one. As far as inspirational stories go, despite the fact that you may think you know the tale (and cynics will tell you that is the case), this one has managed to sidestep a lot, not all, of the usual hackneyed, movie-of-the-week, traps. Of course it does tick some of those boxes – Absent father: check, Neglectful mother: check, Girl-Next-Door: check, etc.

But, instead of focusing on the fact that it contains a lot of clichés found in other inspirational sports movies (Is it cliché if it’s true? The fact that certain elements are part of the true story is the reason someone wanted to film it in the first place) or Butler’s accent (although to be fair, a lot of critics who didn’t like the film overall have praised his performance, some calling it his best), why not focus on what the movie is really about: relationships.

While the film is set in the insular world of big-wave surfing, both Frosty and Jay have strong growth arcs as their “surrogate father/son” relationship forms, grows and then reverses. Chasing Mavericks isn’t just about Jay Moriarty becoming a world-class surfer, it’s also about his personal growth from misfit kid into a confident man, as well as Frosty’s growth as a husband and more importantly, as a father.

What you get is an emotionally stirring story set against some of the most incredible surf footage on film, made all the more poignant knowing that everything that Frosty warns Jay about, as well as providing him with the wisdom to survive it, is real.

It’s a true story so yes, people are born and people die within the course of the film. The overall message though is simple: live life every day, every minute. Live like Jay.

Playing for Keeps is more problematic.

What started as a story about a little league dad besieged by desperate housewives called “Slide”, morphed into a soccer movie (about pretty much the same thing) when producer Gerard Butler optioned the script. The title was changed to Playing the Field and the plot would seem to support that title. Butler’s character is a pro-soccer (even though I’m American, I so want to call it football as the rest of the world does) player whose career is at an end. Apparently it was all downhill from there and since nothing else has gone right in his life, he decides it’s time to reconnect with his son and his ex-wife (Noah Lomax and Jessica Biel respectively) who are living in a small town somewhere in Virginia. The trouble of course, arrives in the form of those infamous “soccer moms” who can’t keep their hands off of him. (Why anyone had a problem believing this part of the story is beyond me. C’mon!) These women are played by Catherine Zeta Jones, Uma Thurman and Judy Greer, so it’s not as if it would have been a hardship for George (Butler) either.

Okay, so that’s all well and good. I would have liked to have known a little bit more about George and why his career ended, but frankly that was the least of this film’s problems. The trouble really began when someone somewhere along the line decided to shift the focus of the film from George and the ladies in what could have been a funny, sexy romp, finally taking advantage of its star's appeal, to a family melodrama about George and Stacy and Lewis. With the tonal shift came a title change as well, to Playing for Keeps. (My theory is that the producers, Butler among them, heard the universe groaning under the weight of another bad rom-com and took a different tack.)

But having decided that they were now going for warm and fuzzy as opposed to hot and sexy, both elements of the story remained. Women still pursued George and he still accepted their favors, conflicted about his attraction to them and his desire to “play the field” vs nurturing a renewed relationship with his wife and son, but the comedy had been bled out of it.

Here’s the thing, either element could have worked on its own and I even believe both elements could have worked in the same movie, but they had to GO FOR IT. The director, Gabriele Muccino, is Italian. Italians appreciate romance, drama and farce all in one movie (and the fact that this one opened HUGE in Italy, not to mention Roberto Benigni’s entire career, bear that out). I think Muccino pulled his punches for an American audience.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot to like about Playing for Keeps. (Despite what you may have heard, I don’t think it was in any way misogynistic. But then again I don’t ascribe hidden motives or darker meaning to it in any way.) For one, the star hasn’t looked this good in a long time. (In both Chasing Mavericks and Playing for Keeps, Butler's hair deserved its own credit. In PFK he got to keep his accent! Bonus! And then there was that towel…) Okay all of that aside, in PFK, Gerard Butler gives one of his finest, most subtle performances since Dear Frankie (when the script allowed him to be subtle and vulnerable and emotionally engaged that is).

I’ve never been much of a Jessica Biel fan, but then I haven’t seen a lot of her work. I caught a film version of Noel Coward's Easy Virtue with Biel, Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas and she held her own in some pretty good company. I think she was equally good here.

Catherine Zeta Jones looked like she was having a blast playing the vixen in a small but crucial role. Perpetual second-fiddle Judy Greer (who really needs a starring role) also looked like she was having fun. The woman who nearly stole The Descendants from George Clooney got to put the moves on Gerard Butler and had some nice comic moments as well. Uma Thurman’s character, I believe, fared the worst. There was nothing wrong with her performance, but her scenes were cut to make her look a tad nuts. Crying in one scene, then the next time we see her she’s rolling around in a bed lying in wait for George and giggling like she’s on Lithium.

I believe that the stories of each of these characters, as well as that of Dennis Quaid, were more fleshed out in the original and a lot was left on the cutting room floor.

The best part of Playing for Keeps, at least the version we got to see, was George’s relationship with his son Lewis. The young actor who played him, Noah Lomax, was a revelation. He’s adorable, but he’s also talented. There was nothing “kid actor” with its attendant mugging and stiffness about him, there was only a natural kid. Noah next appears in Safe Haven with Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, out next weekend. I hope he goes far.

I’ve mentioned the disconnect between critic and Joe Ticketbuyer, but I also wonder about the gap between what an actor promoting a film says that his or her experience in making that film was, as compared to what the critics have to say about the finished product.

If an actor really doesn’t believe in the product they’re trying to sell you, I think it’s obvious, just as it’s obvious when they do. I realize they are “actors,” but I look for non-verbal cues like body language, which are usually dead giveaways, to me anyway.

One of the things I have always liked about Gerard Butler is how passionate he gets about his work and how committed and tireless he is when it comes time to promote it and get it out there. During interviews answering the same questions over and over, he manages to sound enthusiastic and respond in a slightly nuanced way each time. My obvious soft spot for Butler notwithstanding, (I’ll be the first to say that he needs to choose his projects better) but if that’s “acting”, give the man a break, a good role and an Oscar.

“A movie has to be really bad for me not to like it. If a movie entertains
me and/or makes me laugh {or cry} then I will like it. A movie’s number one job
is to make sure the audience is having a good time…”*

Can we talk about Olympus Has Fallen now?

Here’s the official synopsis:

When the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the President is kidnapped, disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning’s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President (Aaron Eckhart) and avert an even bigger disaster. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) directs an all-star cast featuring Butler, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd and Rick Yune.

This one has been through a few title changes as well. First it was Olympus Has Fallen, then it during the Cannes Film Market it was changed to White House Taken then, so as not to be confused with Roland Emmerich’s White House Down, it was changed back to Olympus Has Fallen. Personally, I like that title a lot better.

Film District (which also released Playing for Keeps) has decided to move UP the release date for Antoine Fuqua’s action flick, from its April date to March 22. One theory is the move is an attempt to put even more distance between OHF and that other similarly themed flick starring our favorite tater, Channing Tatum-tot. (It’s a tag team match folks! Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart vs Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx! Who will win? We may have to have Antoine Fuqua take on Roland Emmerich as the tie-breaker. Secret weapon: Morgan Freeman vs. James Woods. Advantage: Olympus Has Fallen.)

Personally, I really don’t get the assumption that Olympus Has Fallen is somehow the “low rent version" of Tot’s pic. OHF was announced first, cast first, rolled into production first and finished first. It has a better cast and purportedly a better script. How does that make it the “Hydrox version” to WHD’s “Oreo”? WHD did get a series of stills published in Entertainment Weekly back in November. That is the kind of thing that signals the upper hand to the average movie-goer. As it is, you can’t read or hear about one movie without the other being mentioned.

We now have two trailers out for OHF, both a domestic and UK edition. The UK version is slightly shorter, tighter. The differences are very subtle. (I've included both below) Director Antoine Fuqua has admitted working on the trailer up until about three days before it was dropped. Think maybe the earlier release date caught him by surprise?

Personally, I think the move had something to do with getting a “quality” product with Butler’s name on it before the viewing public ASAP. It’s all about perception. And the perception is, G needs a hit.

White House Down is currently scheduled for June 28. We’ll see if it stays that way. As Deadline (and countless others have) pointed out, the theory is it’s usually better to be first ie: Capote did much better than Infamous. BUT just last year, after a spirited game of leap frog, Relativity put Mirror Mirror out first, yet Universal’s Snow White And The Huntsman did far better. Of course they were apples and oranges. And it’s still all about the execution.

Olympus Has Fallen also stars Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Dylan McDermott and Radha Mitchell and will be released in the US on March 22 and in the UK on 19th April. My hopes remain high.

*Eriq Martin/IGN

Parts of this post have appeared on INeedMyFix.com

Domestic Trailer:


UK version: