Dave’s 3-Word Review:
The Main Course
Earlier this year, a movie was released about the White House being targeted by a group of terrorists. One man had to stand against the armed suspects. This film was entitled Olympus has Fallen. Later this same year, White House was released with the same exact plot. So the main question automatically falls to…which film is better, Dave? I’ll tell you: Both films are incredibly similar, and there’s no better way to explain it quickly other than to say Olympus Has Fallen was the appetizer. White House Down was the main course.
Channing Tatum stars as our main hero, Cale. Alongside him is President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) as terrorists make their way into the White House asking for $400 million. Of course…they are really looking for something else, and for a very specific reason. Cale’s daughter Emily (Joey King) is among the trapped hostages, and consistently in imminent danger. It looks like the head of the Secret Service (James Woods) is behind the attack. Cale’s objective is to get the President to safety and save his daughter in the process. Although, with all of the government corruption happening around them…Cale cannot trust anyone but himself and the President.
This film is exactly like Olympus Has Fallen except for a few minor but important details. First of all, the main hero is not working alone, he has the President alongside him. Second of all, this included a really nice arrangement of comedy to balance out the seriousness. Thirdly, the White House actually looked like a White House inside. Fourthly, I guess it just had more destruction and CGI than Olympus, thanks to Roland Emmerich. I feel the all of this together made White House Down feel like more of a full and complete movie, especially the dynamic balance between the comedy and action. The comedy never feels overbearing, and it honestly hilarious at times, including an obvious nod to Independence Day.
The chemistry that Tatum and Foxx serve together is perfect. Something you would expect to see from Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day. It works well, and it allows the actors to bounce ideas and jokes off of each other that will just glue the audience to the film. One performance I could have done without was the dang daughter. Kids. Always screwing things up in movies. I get it, she’s bold and brave, but she just gets the main characters into trouble. I also had some trouble believing Jamie Foxx was a U.S. President, but maybe that’s just me. Other than that, the performances themselves were really great, and I found this movie to be quite the thrilling ride.
Some of you may already know that 60% of the White House was reconstructed for this film’s shoot. Thank God they did that, because the sets are just gorgeous. Unlike Olympus Has Fallen, which didn’t have as many convincing sets to make the audience believe it was truly the White House, this film just had shot after shot of interior White House shots that look exactly right. For those of you that only know what the Oval Office looks like, look into what the rest looks like, you’ll see what I mean. They worked hard to make sure the White House looked right, and they were successful. Because it was done so well, I was more convinced with the story, I was pulled in more, and I had a much better experience this time around.
The CGI was similar in quality to Olympus Has Fallen. I think both films had their issues with it, but for the most part, it was done more effectively and more often in White House Down.
Some may disagree with me on which film is better, and those would rely more strongly on the story of the film, which is fine. I personally had no qualms with either story of either film. The only difference is I can’t really care about a story if I am not as convinced as I should be that this isn’t a production. White House Down simply felt more real, Olympus Has Fallen felt like a production. In the end…that’s just what it comes down to.
White House Down was filled to the brim with enough heart-pounding action and perfectly timed jokes that it warrants a buy from me. Others may not like Emmerich’s craft, and that’s their prerogative. As for me, I love his stuff.