This is not a trailer, this is breaking news. You are not in a cinema, you are watching a very large television – you can tell you are watching a television as the footage is shot via wobble-cam and the picture is really fuzzy, just like on all televisions. Where is this breaking news happening I hear you cry? “Washington,” the news says. Washington? But that is where the White House…shit the bed, the White House is on fire!
And so the trailer for White House Down begins, the latest offering from Roland ‘I will blow that up’ Emmerich. Rumours that the film owed 50% of its opening weekend takings to fans who accidentally inserted the word ‘trousers’ in between ‘House’ and ‘Down’ and subsequently queued up hoping to see Channing’s Tatum or Jamie’s, um, Foxx, are unsubstantiated…but back to the trailer…
‘America Will Never be Destroyed…’ The blockbuster titles proclaim, you know the sort, like the impact font in word but with added animation. Then to show that this film doesn’t care about quotes from past Presidents the roof falls of the White House amid much screaming.
‘From the Outside…’ Continues the quote.
Everyone panic! People run through halls. Walls are on fire. Unseen explosions boom around them. A missile explodes out of nowhere. Air Force One gets hit. This is a bad day for America.
‘If we Falter…’ The quotes are still carrying on, they don’t care that a plane has just been destroyed by a missile and the White House is on fire, but how can they, they are only words. Helicopters fly through the streets. “What the hell is happening?!” screams a female voice. Aren’t you watching the news lady, the motherflippin’ White House is on fire?!
‘And Lose Our Freedoms’. Another explosion in the White House. A helicopter goes down. A TANK!
More quotes, because quotes are not only poignant but also exciting. ‘It Will Be Because…’ A helicopter zooms past the Washington Monument just in case you still have no idea where this film is set or where the White House actually is.
‘We Destroyed Ourselves.’ – Abraham Lincoln. This quote clearly has nothing to do with the plot of the film, it was just a nice quote about destruction and America from a man who once occupied the Oval Office. I bet ten, whole, English pounds that *James Woods – not in the trailer, is in the film -is definitely not the bad guy and that there is no way he orchestrated the whole thing from the inside.
Everyone is running away, away from the White House, which is now totally on fire. How much more ‘down’ can this building get?! Strings scream at us through the speakers, informing us how truly terrible everything is. News footage over – whoever shot this must have had all the clearance cards, the ability to fly and nerves of steel.
Darkness. Silence. Men, bad men, men who lurk in shadows, walk across a polished floor. They have done this to the White House, the bastards! But wait, who is this? He is wearing a suit, and has a gun, yes! It is the Channing, come to save the day (the end of Lincoln’s quote ran, and I believe this is verbatim, ‘Blah, blah, blah…destroy ourselves, but don’t worry because Channing Tatum will save us all.’). Here we go…or not, nope the trailer is still being deep and silent, leading me to conclude that Emmerich, director of Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, may have changed tact. Maybe everything isn’t going to get blown up, maybe this is a dark, noirish, spy thriller, maybe everything should be in slow motion?
Everything is now in slow motion. A command centre, everyone looks sad. Jamie Foxx hides behind Channing as gun fire ricochets of a nearby wall, or Tatum’s face, who knows…probably his face. Jamie Foxx hangs out with Channing on top of a lift. These guys are bonding. No idea who Foxx is meant to be, but Channing is definitely trying to protect him, so either they are lovers (White House Down to F**k) or Jamie Foxx is Barack Obama.
More helicopters, giant stone Lincoln, Jamie Foxx shining a torch in slow mo. A giant, red, digital clock tells us something will happen in 8 seconds. Channing is on a walkie-talkie, “Tell me how much time I have got?” 8 seconds, Channing, can you not see the giant red clock?
Slow motion set to ‘off’, so get ready for a turbo injection of computers, explosions, shooting, more helicopters and hugging kids. What? Oh yeah, Roland made this didn’t he. Who is this girl? Channing is hugging her so I am guessing she is his daughter, but they are in the Oval Office, is she the President?
No time for that, here comes the 80’s action film role call. ‘Channing Tatum’ – slow-motion-turn-around-Channing-face. God I wish I looked like Channing Tatum. ‘Jamie Foxx – slow motion-looking-down-and puzzled-Jamie-face.
Back to the action. A rocket launcher, a car flipping into a swimming pool. Gun fire cuts a building in half. Channing and Foxx duck. “We got to go, got to go, got to go!” shouts Channing. Ah, so Jamie Foxx is Barack Obama, which makes Tatum…John McCain? I suppose it does sound like John McClane, and this is Die Hard in the White House.
Another helicopter – the end. Thank God.
Verdict: A terrible trailer which has minimal dialogue, minimal action and is obessed with helicopters. As previews go it doesn’t really push the boundaries of trailer production. Although it runs for 2 minutes, it felt like 4, and as most of it was in slow motion, and ol’ Abe wittered on for the other half of that, there was probably only about 30 seconds of film, sorry, breaking news, in there. The film will be awful, saved only by Channing and Foxx’s enduring awesomeness.
To pretend you have seen the full film, say: “It was the stupidest God damn thing I have ever seen in my life!”
Don’t say: “I liked it when Jeff Goldblum got in the spaceship.”
*This is almost certainly what happened.