As a period flic, it’s getting, umm, rave reviews. But despite the critical scorn, this WW1 aviation freak is still going to catch it this weekend to see what modern day cinematic imagery can do with WW1 era dogfights.
agreed. All accounts say the dogfights are great, so see it for that, if only that. I’m told 60 million of the budget was in private investments, Hollywood wanted nothing to do with crusty ol’ ww1.
I don’t know if I’ll see the movie, but the trailer makes me wish someone would make a modern WWI sim.
Same here, really want to see it just for the WWI look & feel and the cinematography. If it’s theater run is too short for me to catch, it’ll be a DVD rental for sure. Something tells me this is way better in theaters though.
Saw it tonight. There were several of the usual cliches, but overall I really enjoyed it. The dogfights were great and several times, the physics and actual aviation maneuvers played a dramatic role in the story. I love CGI.
My review from another forum, forgive the crosspost if you’ve been subjected to my writhing twice…
Yes, I did get talked into seeing a movie I had absolutely no desire to watch, thanks for asking.
Ok, there are two types of movie viewers out there (well, plenty more, actually, but stay with me here): there’s the guy who saw Independence Day wanting a legit sci-fi action flick and came away thinking it was the stupidest, vilest, godawfulest waste of two hours imaginable; then there’s the guy who saw ID4 and caught on right away that this was just an updated Disney-ized film from the 1960’s with a megabudget and a total lack of shame (the scene where the family dog emerges from rubble with a bark and wagging tail tipped you off). The first viewer hated Independence Day, the latter laughed along with it, in on the joke.
So it pleases me to say that while Flyboys is silly bordering at times on stupid, when compared to ID4 and films of similar ilk, it’s practically Il Postino. By which I mean to say that Flyboys is a willfully dumb movie, historically improbable at its most realistic…
…and given all that if you’re of the right mind going in, one of the most enjoyable 2 hours spent at the movies this summer.
Yeah, I typed that. Look, there are serious movies that can be made about WWI, and I hope those movies are made someday. Flyboys thankfully never pretends (much) to be that movie. Instead, it desperately wants to join that grand tradition of hokey flyboy war movies that began with “Wings”, got a terrific update with “One Of Our Aircraft Is Missing” and “Flying Leathernecks”, and possibly experienced its apex with 1969’s “Battle Of Britain”.
I’ve seen all those movies. I’m a fan of the genre. I have every episode of “Baa Baa Blacksheep” on tape I can lay my hands on, and I’m here to tell you that Flyboys is the creme de la creme of those movies, easily the best of them all.
The movie is shameless, silly, stupid, and almost vulgarly obvious. In many ways it plays out like a throwback to a pre-code MPAA, a time when they made films with those attributes, and such attributes actually earned critical praise. One negative review of Flyboys asks sarcastically “Has this script been in a drawer since 1944?” The answer, of course, is no…but having made such a brilliant homage to the genre to which it belongs, what that clueless reviewer meant as a negative is actually one of the things that’s so damn terrific about the movie.
I’ve also read that the combat scenes are too overdone. The hell they are! They’re terrifically over-the-top, complete fabrications, and despite all that provide one of the best verisimilitudes of just how freaking scary it must be to be a fighter pilot we’ve ever seen in the movies. The Zeppelin scene itself is reason enough to plunk down ten bucks to see Flyboys (and yeah, they call it a Zeppelin, which seems sorta anachronistic to me, since I thought in WWI they called 'em dirigibles, but lets not let that get in the way of how fucking kick-ass it looked in the air, and how TOTALLY AMAZINGLY SWEEEEET the dogfight around said dirigible/zeppelin was.) What’s even cooler is that the special-effects folks threw us WWI flying buffs a bone, and made the Nieuport 17’s look pretty realistic, and made the Fokker DR1’s look AWESOME…even if it’s pretty absurd to think that there were entire squadrons of German flying aces with DR1’s. They looked very authentic and very very nifty.
And then there’s something else this movie has going for it. The little side story between James Franco’s character and a local French girl is actually very sweet, and very well done. If it’s a little over-obvious and awkward, well, so what. It totally works, and the two have real chemistry, and I bought into it hook line and sinker.
Well said, I bow to you!
Ol’ Cassidy did a sweetass Immelman and then a beautiful stall-turn sideslip in that sequence. There were plenty of times where I thought “No way in hell could WWI airplanes climb/turn/dive like that” but then they make it all up to you by showing you maneuvers you remember from playing Red Baron and all is forgiven.
Was “Battle of Britain” that far off from reality? I know it wasn’t historic in the same sense say as “Bridge Too Far” or “The Longest Day”. I presumed that the characters in “Battle of Britain” below the General Officer level were made up, but I thought the movie was at least trying to stay reasonably close to history as far as the overall sweep of the movie. What about “Sink the Bismark” (1960)? Was that one completely inaccurate as well? You’re killing my childhood memories here triggercut ;-)
Hey, there may well have been much more historical accuracy in “Battle Of Britain”…but the whole counting the planes when they take off, and then forlornly counting the ones that return…the squadron pet dog that loses his master…all that kind of Hollywood heart-tugging dorkiness THAT I LOVE can be found in Flyboys. Damn straight.
Just got back from seeing it and totally agree with triggercut’s review. Flyboys just might replace Knight’s Tale as my guilty pleasure.
Did you say Knight’s Tale? Ohhhh noooooo I agreed to see Flyboy’s tomorrow with a friend but now you having me scrambling for an excuse to get out of it.
Knight’s Tale: also ruled.
BTW–a smart observation from someone brighter than me on Flyboys: it’s a period piece…but the historical period isn’t WWI, but rather that 1942-1952 Hollywood era of war movies.
I couldn’t agree more.
Just saw Flyboys… thought it was fun. Some hokiness, some hard to believe sequences, but overall it was an enjoyable ride. Really fun dogfights.
As for historical inconsistancies, check out this link.
Although not everything that happened in the movie necessarily happened to these particular pilots, it did happen at some point somewhere else, which is neat.
Saw it on Saturday, and enjoyed it for reasons similar to triggercut’s. “Vulgarly obvious” is spot-on: Was there anyone in the audience who didn’t predict how the final dogfight would play out by, say, the 30-minute mark? Or that the racist millionaire pilot would eat his words before long? Or that the cocky newcomer would prove… Ah, never mind.
Having seen it, I’m wondering why I liked Flyboys as much as I did, yet loathed Pearl Harbor, which shared many themes. Was it the pacing? Lack of pretensions? Absence of Affleck? I think Flyboys was just executed better overall, and didn’t aim too high by trying to be a momentous event of great meaning.
(SPOILER, since it relates to the ending)
I recall reading about a US naval aviator who, having bailed out over the Pacific, was circled by a Japanese plane as he drifted to the ground. He pretended to be unconscious, then pulled out his 1911 and fired into the enemy’s cockpit. Japanese plane then peeled off and disappeared. Post-war, the American learned from Japanese records that a pilot flying in the same area had crash landed and was found dead with a single .45 bullet in the head. Has anyone read something similar, or is this just some kind of Weird War Tale?
As a side note, Christopher Walken as McBain brought down an F-5 in a similar manner while en route to deposing an evil South American dictatorship.
For me, it was the sense that they really wanted the movie to revolve around the airplanes. We were given factoids, anecdotes, tips and tricks and all manner of other detail about them, how they flew and how they fought. It almost felt like the characters were a grudging addition to make the movie have some meaning other than to have dogfights… and that’s why I paid them no mind but sat up anytime a plane was onscreen.
Pearl Harbor, on the other hand, was much more interested in some bawdy love triangle than the actual attack. Gosh, thankfully that tedious battle scene is over, we can get back to finding out she’s pregnant and you love her but you’re my best friend BLAH BLAH BLAH.
That sounds about right. To be honest, it almost felt like a cop-out having the movie build up to the climactic dogfight against Evil German Ace. I guess a movie like this needs a backbone for hte narrative, no matter how flimsy! It likely wouldn’t have worked as a series of vignettes that goes on for two hours until -whimper- the war ends. To the film’s credit, at least it didn’t build up to a blockbuster “Destroy ze Krupp railgunworks and ze war will be over!” mission. (Though I wouldn’t have minded seeing a SPAD careening down a trench, dodging gunfire before hand-dropping a bomb down a ventilation shaft.)
One disappointment that I forgot to raise earlier: Aside from the glut of enemy triplanes at the expense of all other types, it would have been nice if they’d mixed up the German paint schemes a bit more. Since all the Flyboys’ Nieuports were pretty much identical, I don’t think the audience would be confused by seeing a lozenged-out Albatros, so long as the black crosses were prominent enough. It would have made the WW1 buffs delirious, while the average moviegoer would be treated to a Skittles-esque explosion of colors.
Enjoyable. But for a historical piece I was a little annoyed at the overly politically correct presence of the black guy,who was absent for some reason from the real photo at the end.
But if they want to do a movie on the Tuskeegee Airmen, more power to them, I’d be at the front of the line to get in…
He was absent because he was taking the picture.