For years I have been a very outspoken critic of web sites and video games that support major motion picture releases. It always seems that millions of dollars are spent on crafting imaginative and fun movies but the web sites that promote them are flat and boring. One recent exception was the site for Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride which was probably a better experience then the actual movie.
I recently took some time and went through the new site for Oliver Stone’s new movie World Trade Center. I have to confess that this subject matter is still really hard for me to deal with because it is not just something I experienced from a distance on CNN. Two of my roommate in college and best friends narrowly escaped with their lives on September 11th. One of my roommates is a member of NYC SWAT and was n the second tower when the first one fell and he barely escaped the second tower before it fell. My very best friend and the best man at my wedding was a producer for FOX news at the time and he only escaped by hiding under a car with his camera man when the first tower fell. I spent days after September 11th trying desperately to find out if they were alive. I could not watch any of the news coverage as it was just too hard since I didn’t know if my friends were alive. I am still haunted by those days and know that I am extremely blessed that they both survived that day.
The moment I will always remember came weeks later when I was able to return to New York to see my best friend who was the producer for FOX. We met for drinks in the evening and were catching up and making small talk when he picked up my new cell phone to admire it. I picked up his phone and saw that it was covered in a fine white dirt. I asked him why his phone was such a mess. He looked at me and said “It is dust from the Trade Center collapse. I haven’t had time to get a new phone since 9-11.” It sounds dramatic but it sent a chill into my soul. Something about touching even such a small piece of the tower is a moment I will never forget.
The site is an artful blend of large photography and a lot of video to create a very immersive experience. The interface is simple enough and lets you easily access all of the content. The best content in the site is the “In Their Own Words” section which is 24 video testimonials from NYC police and fire first responders. I hope that the quality of the site is a sign that the movie will do justice to those who list their lives on that terrible day.