Saturday, May 16, 2009

Movie Review: Flight Of The Phoenix (2004)


I must admit, I've not seen the original movie on which this is based, but I can't help wondering if it was really this slight.

The crew of a failed Oil Rig are picked up in a plane to be demobbed; they include a suspiciously well balanced cross section of humanity. A bolshy woman (Miranda Otto) a hispanic guy, african americans, a middle eastern guy and even an Englishman (Hugh Laurie doing his best stuffed shirt impression).

In fact, the only general grouping not represented fully are those from the "far east", a strange fact since they're in the Mongolian part of the Gobi desert and later just inside the Chinese border. Weird.

Oh, and the two leads are Dennis Quaid doing his best Kevin Costner impression as well as Giovanni Ribisi transcending the pedestrian material as he always does.

It's tough to describe a film that has the ending described in its title, and its story being so simple to be described as "they build a plane".

In fact, since the plot is so slight, the makers insist on creating false tension, be it through making folk behave entirely irrationally and walking off into the desert alone, or by introducing a troupe of nomads, who wait until the most ridiculous moment to charge the heroes and hence provide little more than a moment of confusion at that crucial stage.

Now, supposedly the story then becomes about the interactions between the characters, but these are reduced to little more than forced sections of camaraderie (complete with terrorist fist bumps galore) and people arguing about what to do, when their position is so desperate as to force the only possible option, one that incidentally almost no crash victims get.

So it was a reasonably amusing way to spend some time - not clever, not exciting and with more than a little half hearted manipulation (ooh someone we don't give a crap about just died) and some extremely irritating editing.


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