Eagle Eye asks a question we all wonder about but hate to ask: is a higher power watching our every move? No, the film isn’t religious; it explores the much more timely topic of the modern-day Big Brother, asking whether a “higher power” is monitoring our cell phones, computers and all other electronic devices. Theoretically this could be an intriguing topic and film, but director DJ Caruso deep-sizes it all into a series of cliches and improbable action sequences that just require too much willing suspension of disbelief.
As in Transformers, Shia LaBeouf plays the unlikely and initially unwilling hero with an unrelenting determination to save the day after discovering a cache of terrorist weapons in his apartment. You know he will succeed, so there’s really no tension in his morally troubling scenarios, and his character, Jerry Shaw, is about as indestructible as Sam Witwicky, but without his alien robot buddies to ensure his safety. Tell me how I’m supposed to believe all this again?
Eagle Eye almost works as a brainless action thriller, but its concluding message about monitoring threats against our country feels a bit tacked-on in light of the scatterbrain ride we’re taken on during the rest of the film. If you’re going to put us on the edge of our seat for two hours and demand we suspend disbelief, it’s best not to cap the adrenaline fix for a false sense of self-importance.
Eagle Eye is presented in AVC 1080p encoding, but heavy filtering is apparent in the entire film, which tones down the colors with a grayish-blue tint and mutes the skin tones. Normally this would seem like a horrible flaw for a format that’s capable of lifelike color and clarity, but the Blu-ray transfer remains sharp with only a light film grain, and it retains all the detail you’d want to see whether the camera is zoomed-in or at the macro level.
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless audio mix has been beefed up for the action sequences, which make full use of the surrounds and subwoofer channels. Unfortunately, when cars aren’t crashing into one another or Shia isn’t running through a crowd, the surrounds go completely quiet. A little more balance would have helped round out the presentation, but the mix delivers the impact when it really needs to.
Now, about those bonus features. The Deleted Scenes (4:39) includes four scenes, three of which are irrelevant. The last, an alternate ending, is unforgiving in the pursuit to force a sequel where one isn’t welcome. The next feature, Asymmetrical Warfare: The Making of Eagle Eye (25:32), is a bit more worthwhile, as it reveals how Steven Spielberg conjured-up the idea for Eagle Eye 10 years ago. Ironically, a concept that we now consider not only relevant but probable was, at the time Spielberg hatched it, shelved because he thought it would’ve been too far-fetched. My, how times change. Considering the mix of behind-the-scenes footage mixed with the audio commentary, this is a true making-of piece rather than a collection of clips from the completed film.
Eagle Eye on Location: Washington, DC (5:58) — The crew travels to DC to film in the streets and in the Library of Congress. Half of this comes across as an advertisement for the Library of Congress with some neat facts presented by the building’s director of communications.
Is My Cell Phone Spying on Me? (9:14) — One of the more intriguing concepts in Eagle Eye, which is also featured in The Dark Knight, is the ability for a person’s cell phone to spy on them. The script was designed to closely mirror what’s possible or will be possible in the near future. It’s a scary thought that this featurette and the various interviews within it hammer home.
Shall We Play a Game? (9:22) — Director DJ Caruso sits down to chat with John Badham, his mentor and director of War Games. This is a great watch as there are numerous similarities between Eagle Eye and War Games impossible to ignore. Knowing and hearing about the relationship between the two films’ directors makes the connection more natural than a modern day “rip-off” of a 1980s cult classic.
Road Trip (3:05) — This appropriately short featurette glosses over the hectic on-location shoot that had the cast and crew traveling all over the country to film the myriad of diversely set scenes. A seven-minute Gag Reel rounds things out, alone with an arrow-controlled Photo Gallery and the full Theatrical Trailer. For some reason, though, the infamous teaser trailer that debuted in front of Transformers and set Internet message boards on fire is nowhere to be found.
Eagle Eye is a fun if nonsensical thriller, but surviving it requires fending off the urge to rationalize numerous reality-bending occurrences, even as the filmmakers try to create a story grounded in reality. It’s really not worth more than a rental, but the two hours you spend watching it will at least give you a decent thrill ride.
Click here to buy Eagle Eye on Blu-ray at Amazon.com.
- Score: 7.4