Flight Of The Phoenix

Cover Art and Menu: 5/10
With a standard boring cover and a semi-boring menu it’s hard to think of much to say that would infuse any enthusiasm about this package. Well, that’s not fair really. Let me think about it some more……(thinking)…nope, nothing good or bad to say. I’d put this cover in the neutral zone. Not bad, definitely not good.

Features: 8/10

  • Extended Scenes – Who knows why they cut certain scenes from a movie, but in this case a couple of these are super interesting. They add a whole new dimension to certain elements of the story, so they are worth watching AFTER THE FACT.
  • Commentary by Director John Moore & Guests – Some commentaries are an absolute bore, and then there are the ones that are as entertaining as the movie itself. This is a good one folks. John Moore, the director, is a funny guy. Ok, there’s not just that, but there’s also the fact that he’s totally passionate about making movies. I love to hear someone so intimately involved in what he does you can hear it in his voice. If you like the movie I recommend giving the commentary a listen. Over all it adds a lot to this movie watching experience.
  • Making Of Documentary – By far this is one of the best extras I have ever seen. A documentary style film that high lights some of the most amazing shots from the movie, interviews with the cast and crew and lots of following a nearly manic directory through the whole process. The style of this extra gets top notch. They made an effort to add a lot to it to make it more entertaining, better to look at, more fun and artistic to just sit back and enjoy. Moore is a colorful guy, and you get a close look at his highs and lows, his moods and his manner as a director. You get a first hand look at the difficulties of making this movie in the desserts of Namibia, and how making this film was more than just a 9-5 for the cast and crew, it was an adventure.
  • Deleted Scenes – Two scenes taken from the film, neither of which took away anything too interesting.
  • Theatrical trailer – Until someone makes me WANT to watch these trailers I have nothing to say except “ta da, a trailer!!” Calm down, I know it’s soooo exciting.

The Movie: 7/10:
Before I get started you should know I have never seen the original Flight of the Phoenix starring Jimmy Stewart, so I’m not comparing the two. I was a clean slate going in, I didn’t even know what the story was about before hand. That’s the way I like it.

The story is simple enough, a plane crashes in the dessert and the survivors have no hope of rescue. Sounds bleak, I know, but it’s a “what if situation”, not a fairy tale.

The special effects are excellent I must say. I have to say it’s the most amazing plane crash I think I have seen on the big screen. I was bracing myself for impact, that’s how up close and personal the scene gets. I won’t dispute or defend the possibilities of how it could all happen, that would spoil the fun. There are lots of times when your imagination are put to the test, but you just have to ride it out and keep thinking to yourself, “it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie”. If you can master that you will enjoy the movie a whole lot more.

What kinds of things might challenge your imagination, or better yet the logical side of your brain? There’s the constant flow of events that keep hammering this down and out crew. From several sand storms to explosions to power trips amongst the group, just being stranded in an impossible desert with a low water supply doesn’t seem that bad.

The performances are entertaining. Quaid is always the same so nothing new here. Solid, not over the top or subtle, just good old Quaid. Giovanni Ribisi is always enjoyable to watch and in this film he’s got a certain crazy edge about him which makes his character that much more intriguing. Everyone does a good job really. I don’t personally think that all the characters added much to the mix, but each performer put their all into each scene which balances out the “why do they even need that guy” inquiries that your brain might attempt to do.

The film looks amazing. There are several interesting visual tricks here and there that keep it from being a flat boring action flick. They filmed in Namibia so the fact that they weren’t on some human made set, but on a real desert added so much to the look and feel of the whole thing. The idea is complete isolation, and that comes across every time we get a sweeping view of the crash site and the endless sea of desert surrounding them. I know, they could have used just as convincing CGI to pull it off, but just like homemade cookies vs. store bought, there’s something to be said for the real thing.

Overall I say this is way above average but there are problems with corny dialogue now and then, not to mention the way to frequent theme of overcoming the odds. It gets a bit stale and takes you away from that level of believability we all like to enjoy when watching such an extreme circumstance on the big screen. Don’t hesitate to check this movie out as soon as you can. It’s worth a couple hours of your time!

Value: 7/10
The movie’s good and they made an excellent effort in the extras department, so when you can find this DVD for around $15 I say go for it. You could rent it for a couple of bucks, but if you are a Quaid fan I suggest stuffing this one on the old DVD shelf for keeps.

Overall Score 7/10