2000s Failsafe-3L

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)Cold War tensions climb to a fever pitch when a U.S. bomber is accidentally ordered to drop a nuclear warhead on Moscow.]]>

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: CLOONEY,GEORGE
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Hank Azaria
  • Doris Belack
  • Don Cheadle
  • George Clooney
  • Brian Dennehy

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

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, poignant, and flawlessly performed, October 18, 2012
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This review is from: Fail Safe (DVD)
"Fail Safe" is a story of a Cold War turned hot as the result of a simple technological glitch. A very minor equipment failure accidentally triggers Armageddon, as the United States' automatic nuclear deterrent systems set in motion events that, once activated, cannot be undone. The star-studded cast gives chilling, edge-of-your-seat performances as the world rushes to avoid worldwide nuclear holocaust.

The first few minutes of "Fail Safe" appear to be slow and mundane, but the pace soon quickens to breakneck speed. Don't look away, don't blink, don't even wipe away your tears; you'll want to watch every moment of this tale. And then brace yourself for the jaw-droppingly shocking ending! This film is a must-see for every movie buff and cinephile out there! Fantastic!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars but this version got only one due to the terrible acting. There was little or no emotion displayed, January 13, 2015
By 
Tim (Portland, OR) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fail Safe (DVD)
I have watched the original movie version of this story so I was comparing this live telecast performance with the original. I expected so much more from the actors. Except for a very few words this live performance was the exact same dialog as the original. I would rate the original movie as five stars, but this version got only one due to the terrible acting. There was little or no emotion displayed. My seven-year old grandson can read a book with more emotion then was shown by the actors in this remake. It was painful to watch such great actors display so little emotion when reading their lines. Sam Elliot gave the best performance. Brian Dennehy was dead in his portrayal of General Bogan. Even Richard Dreyfuss as the President gave a deadpan performance. He is certainly no Henry Fonda. Don't waste your money on this DVD. I highly recommend the original 1964 version of the movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent homage to television's golden era,... and a gripping Cold War thriller, October 11, 2014
By 
Patrick L. Randall (Silver Spring, MD) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fail Safe (DVD)
The era of live television drama (other than awards shows and sporting events) is a relic of the previous century. What was once standard procedure during the 1950's went the way of the dodo bird when recording technology improved. In Spring 2000, CBS decided to harken back to those fondly remembered earlier days with a remake, performed completely live, of the epic Cold War thriller, "Fail Safe".

"Fail Safe" was an early 60's novel about a horrific error of miscommunication from Strategic Air Command (SAC) that sends a bomber wing on its way to bomb the Soviet Union. It was made into a 1964 film starring such acting heavyweights as Henry Fonda, Walter Mathau and Larry Hagman. (Note: the book also served as the inspiration for the better known black comedy, "Dr. Strangelove"). In 2000, CBS threw together another heavyweight cast. This group included George Clooney (as the very start of his Hollywood kingpin status), Richard Dreyfuss, James... Read more
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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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