CHARLOTTE, NC (Theoden Janes/The Charlotte Observer) - Warner Bros. has unveiled the first trailer for its forthcoming drama, "Sully," and frankly, it looks vaguely similar to the original trailer for 2012's "Flight" – which was also about the dramatic and heroic emergency landing of a commercial airliner, and the subsequent investigation.
The key difference, of course, is that "Flight" was fiction and "Sully" is based on actual events.
Almost certainly you know of them: On Jan. 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 took off from New York City's LaGuardia Airport (bound for Charlotte) and ran smack into a flock of Canadian geese, causing the loss of power to both engines. Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger made a brilliant landing on the freezing waters of the Hudson River; all 155 people on board survived.
The two-minute preview, which touched down on the internet Wednesday night, opens with Sullenberger – portrayed by Academy Award winner Tom Hanks ("Forrest Gump," "Philadelphia") – appearing to suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Then Hanks provides this solemn voice-over: "No one warned us. No one said, 'You are going to lose both engines at a lower altitude than any jet in history.' This was dual engine loss at 2,800 feet, followed by immediate water landing, with 155 souls on board. No one has ever trained for an incident like that."
In real-life, less than 3 1/2 minutes elapsed between the Airbus A320's run-in with the birds and the emergency splash-down. The trailer provides a few glimpses of the before and after, but not of the actual impact. There are also multiple shots of Laura Linney, who plays Sullenberger's wife Lorraine, and Aaron Eckhart, who plays his first officer Jeff Skiles.
Most of the dialogue we get, though, suggests the federal inquiry into the "forced water landing" (as Hanks' Sully refers to it) plays the biggest role in the film. "The left engine was still operating," an investigator says to Sully. "Simulation showed that you could make it back to the airport," says another.
He's asked: "When was your last drink, Captain Sullenberger? Have you had any troubles at home?"
Which leads him to wonder: "What if I did get this wrong? What if I endangered the lives of all those passengers?"
"Over 40 years in the air," Hanks/Sully says, "but in the end, I'm gonna be judged on 208 seconds."
From everything we've been told, though, Sullenberger is an American hero. And the fact that the incident is still referred to as "The Miracle on the Hudson" in no way suggests he got it wrong, as the word "miracle" typically is associated only with ultra-positive things – like astonishing Olympic hockey wins and cute babies.
Anyway, we'll just have to trust that "Sully's" Oscar-winning director, Clint Eastwood ("Million Dollar Baby," "Unforgiven"), can tell us lots we didn't know about this story, in dramatic fashion.
"Sully" is in theaters nationwide on Sept. 9.
A few other odds and ends about the movie and its inspiration, if you're still reading: