2000s

Published on October 11th, 2010 | by Chris

3

Fail Safe (2000)

Review of: Fail Safe (2000)

Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On October 11, 2010
Last modified:October 5, 2012

Summary:

If you really want to see this story, go find that '64 original. Or just read the book, even.

Fail Safe (2000)Ah the classics, such as 1964's Fail Safe, based on the Burdick novel of the same name....  And then somebody gets the bright idea to remake it.  Not just "reboot it", but remake it more-or-less verbatim.  That's what happened with 2000's Live TV experiment Fail Safe.

Now, the original film is a real gem.  (see the link above for the review of that, along with the plot of this one.)  There's no denying it.  A tense thriller chock-full of paranoia and despair from an era where it belonged....

The biggest problem with this, though, is that its, well, bland.  Everyone seems like they've rehearsed their lines 1000 times and the entire thing comes across as very mechanical.  VERY.  It also doesn't help matters that they tried to recreate the original shot-for-shot it seems.

BUT, as an experiment in live TV, I guess it was a success.  Back in 1964 there may still have been events such as this going on the air.  A bit late, maybe (I'm thinking more 50's-ish) but the sentiment is at least well received.

Not even an "ensemble" cast can pull the dullness out of the grey muck.  Clooney, Cheadle, Dreyfuss, Dennehy, Wyle, Cromwell, Keitel... the list is almost too long to repeat here.  Not sure what happened, really.  If they were shooting for such an exact recreation that they didn't want the actors to, well, act.... or if like I said above they rehearsed the thing so many times (to avoid a live TV snafu) they all got sick of it.....

What else is there to say, really.  If you really want to see this story, go find that '64 original.  Or just read the book, even.

Amazon (this version): Fail Safe (2000)
Amazon (1964 version): Fail-safe (Special Edition, 1964)
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0235376/

The trailer for this one....

And the original, you tell me.

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Description

Fail Safe (DVD)George Clooney stars as a U.S. fighter pilot mistakenly commanded to start a nuclear war with Russia. Now he must be stopped--at any cost--to avert Armageddon in the chillingly realistic movie Fail Safe...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: CLOONEY,GEORGE
Manufacturer: WarnerBrothers
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Richard Dreyfuss
  • Noah Wyle
  • Brian Dennehy
  • Sam Elliott
  • James Cromwell

Features

  • Oscar? winner George Clooney (Syriana, Ocean's Thirteen) and Emmy nominated Noah Wyle ("ER,""Librarian: Quest for the Spear") head an all-star cast in this tense and powerful Cold War thriller performed live on network TV (CBS). An electrical malfun

Reviews

Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both the 1964 movie and the 2000 made-for-tv are great, July 25, 2013
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This review is from: Fail Safe (DVD)
I have both the 1964 movie and the 2000 made-for-tv on separate DVDs. Both are great productions, if for different reasons. The original movie was made during the Cold War, and hence, may be more dramatic for those that lived it. The made-for-tv version adds the intensity of a live production and more modern production techniques. I can't say, in my mind, that one is better than the other, they are just different. The actors and crew in both versions created a compelling production with thought provocating consequences. Buy one, buy both, either is worth the experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good TV Movie, November 29, 2014
By 
M. E. Newell (Georgia, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fail Safe (DVD)
Let me right off that I have not seen the 1964 production of "Fail Safe," but the 2001 Made-for-TV version (that was done live) staring George Coonley was good. While it did start out a little slow, it quickly makes up for it as President of the United States and the military tries to convince a bomber crew that they have received false orders to attack the Soviet Union in cold war days. Unable to stop them, the President allow the Soviets to attack one city in the United States and then stop the conflict. The viewers get drawn into the action as the end is near. This was a great movie that keep the viewer interest and makes them wonder what would the government do if this really happened.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, September 9, 2017
By 
jim .m (cleveland,ohio) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fail Safe (DVD)
good price. original 1964 has better acting, more suspense.
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Fail Safe (2000) Chris

Summary: If you really want to see this story, go find that '64 original. Or just read the book, even.

2.5


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



3 Responses to Fail Safe (2000)

  1. I agree. There are so few war movies being made these days, why would you waste time and money and acting talent to copy a classic movie? This was a ridiculous waste of time and effort. It reminds me of the word for word remake of “The Lion in Winter”. Please find a great war novel that has not been made into a movie yet.
    Speaking of “Fail Safe”, something about it has always bothered me. At the end, the President agrees to allow the Russians to counterbomb NYC. Wouldn’t the Russians have insisted on Washington as the logical equivalent of Moscow? Both capitals would be destroyed. Fair is fair. You could argue that the U.S. came out ahead because of the accidental destruction of the Russian capital because we had to give up our largest city, but not our government headquarters. Also, most of our leaders’ families would survive whereas most of the Russian leadership’s families would have died.

  2. Dennis A Pope says:

    MAJOR SPOILERS: Actually the president ordered NY by our OWN fighters which is quite different then allowing Russia to bomb NY. Also it is noted that there ARE some US leaders relatives in NY including the president’s wife which means he gave an order which absolutely would seal his wife’s fate.

  3. Chris says:

    You are, of course, correct in that…

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