I should love this but I don’t. For one thing, it looks too much like War of the Worlds, another sci-fi commentary on post-9/11 jitters. I’m also suspicious of the fact that J.J. Abrams is keeping the script so tightly under wraps given the subject matter. That suggests a twist ending, and we know how twist endings to terrorism metaphors tend to go in Hollywood. And can this really be called an allusion to 9/11 when the end of the clip is practically a frame-by-frame reenactment? It’s an “allusion” the way “JFK” was an allusion to the Kennedy assassination.
One more. If you’re going to do shaky-cam verite to affect realism, how about casting kids who don’t look like they’ve stepped out of a Benetton ad? That’s a terrible problem with all these disaster movies, but especially ones referencing terrorism: When you’ve got nothing but beautiful people walking around, you reduce the drama to little more than a soap opera with a really, really heavy subplot. Is panic your subject or just seeing how the young and pouty rise above the inconvenience of the end of civilization? There were a lot of fatties running from the smoke on 9/11 too, J.J.