I would have accepted even that given that Ladder 49 has no plot.
I was highly disappointed with Ladder 49 for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the problem of having no plot. I could not believe John Travolta as a firefighter and apparently he didn't think so either as his performance is so bland that it's close to phoned-in. Phoenix isn't much better but since he plays the blue-collar guy roles so well at least I'm not thinking he's as out-of-place as Travolta.
The story is basically the life of an everyman firefighter from the time he enters the department until the end of his career. That's all it is. Yeah he gets drunk with his pals, yeah he gets married, yeah he and the wife argue about the danger of his work, yeah he hangs out with the other firefighters, and yeah they fight fires. Naturally there are a few tear-jerking moments and some funny moments but since the film is simply a narrative of mise en scene Hollywood fireman cliches, you can see what's coming long before it happens. Don't expect any substance from the flash.
The fire effects are really good and there are some excellent stunts but I think Backdraft did a far better job.
I have no doubt this film was produced as a post-9/11 effort to capitalize on the refound heroism of those brave men and women who risk their lives daily to save the lives of strangers. I think they deserve better than a movie that plays on cliches and is so left without any substance that it relies on a flashy Hollywood ending that so blinds the audience with sentiment that it hopes to make them forget that they just saw a movie with no plot.
I guess I saw a different movie than most of the rest of you. This very minute was the first that I've seen this thread, so I haven't read anything about it. I thought Joaquin Phoenix was fantastic in Ladder 49; much better than he was in Signs.-and I liked him in THAT. Of course, this was a much meatier part for him. I have 6 friends who are firemen, and I told them this morning that I thought that this movie was a great "tribute" movie ... whether or not someone wanted to "cash in" on 9/11 or not... I recommended it to them.
Backdraft was a completely different animal. Yes, the common thread is the fire, but this movie was handled and felt altogether different.
"I thought Joaquin Phoenix was fantastic in Ladder 49; much better than he was in Signs.-and I liked him in THAT. Of course, this was a much meatier part for him. I have 6 friends who are firemen, and I told them this morning that I thought that this movie was a great "tribute" movie ... whether or not someone wanted to "cash in" on 9/11 or not... I recommended it to them."
That is great. Glad you loved it as much as I did. My grandfather was a volunteer fireman, and I have been urging him to see Ladder too.
I just rented this over the weekend and checked it out, overall, I liked it, but man, that ending.
The movie created a conflict for me, on one hand I knew what the filmmakers were trying to do with that outcome, but on the other hand I didn't care because I felt a tad manipulated, like the movie was blatently TRYING to set me up for a big ol' heartbreak.
The film lost major points because of that. But on the plus side, the acting was great, especially Pheonix and the fire sequences were spectacularly executed and were very realistic, particularly that explosion in the beginning of the film...wow!
Like I said, I know what was trying to be conveyed, but there's just something about the way it was executed that screams audience entrapment, I felt railroaded instead of moved and yes, a bit let down.
Still, a good movie that does honor firefighters, i'll give it that. I've found that since 9/11 i've gained a whole new respect for that profession that I never even gave a second thought about before, even now if Backdraft happens to be on television, i'll watch it and i'll tear up a little.
It's a job I sure as hell couldn't do, that's for sure.