911 Mysteries, Part 1: Demolitions (2007)
"On September 11th, we learned that four passenger planes were hijacked and taken radically off course. Within an hour, two of the planes had flown into the enormous steel towers of the World Trade Center, creating fires and eventually toppling them. Dazed by the news, the American public soon believed the fires in the towers had burned so hot they caused the steel frames of the buildings to give way. A myth developed, fed by official sources through the media to a bewildered audience."- Sofia SmallstormDirector: Sofia Smallstorm
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (scenes of 911 destruction)
Run Time: 01h:30m:50s
Release Date: 2007-08-14
DVD Review911 Mysteries: Demolitions has a quote from Rosie O'Donnell on the front cover ("watch and decide for yourself"), and though I agree with the sentiment, it seems like vitriolic firebrand O'Donnell's name might serve to immediately scare off all those Rosie-haters who would consider this just another heap of conspiratorial anti-government campfire stories. Hell, I'm as liberal and conspiracy-minded as anyone, and even I grow tired of O'Donnell pretty quickly. But that doesn't take away from this latest Disinformation release, and that grim message presented here is that on September 11, 2001 the World Trade Center collapse was in fact a planned-in-advance controlled demolition, and not the result of burning-jet-fuel-weakened steel (referred to here as "the myth").
Is it possible it was a controlled demolition? I sure don't want to believe that, because the implications just seem too diabolically evil and frightening to wrap my pea brain around. In attempt to make that point, filmmaker Sofia Smallstorm spends 90 minutes analyzing the structural integrity and design of the World Trade Center, buildings that the architects claim could withstand the impact of a fully-loaded 707 and remaining standing. There are interviews with workers who were in the sub-basement that day who claim to have witnessed explosions deep underground, and much time is spent investigating what it takes for steel to melt, something the filmmaker says was not possible on 9/11, even under those horrific conditions. Were there thermite charges? Witnesses claim to have heard "explosions" just prior to the towers falling, and during the collapse we are shown what many claim are demolition squibs detonating as the building folds in on itself.
Smallstorm shows various angles of the second plane hitting and the towers collapsing a number of times throughout. That's probably not a big surprise given the title, but no matter how many times I've seen it before it was still an extremely difficult thing to watch over and over. The familiar footage is, however, key to the entire thesis, so this does require something of a strong constitution to view, and I found myself continually imagining the horror going on inside. Are the arguments about the building's construction and effect of jet fuel on steel girders sound? I can't answer that definitively, but the questions raised appear legit. Yet all of that info pales next to the implications about who could have known about the attacks in advance in order to prep the Towers for an eventual demolition, and that trail (according to Smallstorm) in part points to President Bush's younger brother Marvin, who was head of Securacom, a company that provided security for the World Trade Center, United Airlines, and Dulles International Airport. And then there's the billions and billions made by private sector developer Larry Silverstein in insurance payouts, who had just purchased the lease for the Towers months before the attack.
There is also a segment devoted to the collapse of WTC Building 7, which fell late in the day on 9/11. Was that an intentionally planned demolition as well? The fact vs fiction of WTC 7 is a favorite of 911 conspirasists, and while I straddle the fence for the sake of my own sanity, the premise is undeniably strange. Smallstorm, whose narration is so detached to appear almost robotic, strings together news reports and interviews from 9/11, and there is a sense that the implosion was more manmade than we were perhaps led to believe. Or is that just my paranoid nature showing through?
I don't want to sound like Rosie O'Donnell (really, I don't) but watch 911 Mysteries: Demolitions and see what you think. You just may shrug it off as looney paranoia capitalizing on a large-scale act of terrorism, or you may walk away with a genuine chill down your spine. Buy it. Rent it. Get it from the library. It's even viewable online. Then do your own research. Decide for yourself.
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The transfer is 1.33:1 fullframe, though within the context of the doc some scenes appear in nonanamorphic widescreen. Much of the material is culled from archival footage, so image quality and color levels do vary slightly. Some moderate shimmer is visible in spots, though overall the presentation falls well within an acceptable range.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in 2.0 stereo. No sweeping directionality, no wall-thumping bass, just a simple mix with ordinary and discernible voice quality, balanced by the occasional ethereal choir as background music. No hiss or distortion was evident.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Extras Review: No extras at all on the disc itself, though the backcover does list a number of "recommended resources." The feature is cut into 24 chapters, with no subtitle options.
Extras Grade: D-
Final CommentsThere's always the possibility that this could be the biggest load of paranoid crap on the planet, but the presentation is chillingly detached and the information compelling. The ramifications and implied accusations are so mind-boggling that it is difficult to imagine, let alone comprehend, but the questions raised (not always the answers, though) appear fairly sound.
Fact? Fiction? A combo platter? I don't really know, but I encourage you to see this. At the very least it will make you think.
Rich Rosell 2007-08-14