FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX
Release Date: December 17, 2004
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson,
Giovanni Ribisi, Miranda Otto,
and Hugh Laurie
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Rating: PG-13 for language, action and
Runtime: 100 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: John Moore
Aldrich, Alex Blum, John
Davis, and Wyck Godfrey
Producer: William Aldrich, Alex Blum,
John Davis, and Wyck
Godfrey EXECUTIVE PRODUCER:
Writer: Scott Frank and Edward
Burns BASED ON THE NOVEL BY:
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch
Peter Chernin, President/COO
The Fox Group
Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen
Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A division of Fox, Inc. and News Corp.
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000
In the beginning, cargo plane pilot Frank Towns and co-pilot A.J. are sent to Mongolia to shut down and evacuate an oil excavation operation. The head of the operation, Kelly, is furious and does not want to leave, but Towns is known for shutting these things down quickly and flying off.
Frank and A.J. finally get the oil crew together and take off, only to find themselves in “the perfect sandstorm.” They are brought down in the middle of the desert without a radio and with very little chance of survival.
One character in the group, Elliott, tells them they can rebuild the plane and fly out. Towns wants no part of Elliott’s idea at first but finally agrees, after being told that people need love, and if they don’t have love, they need hope, and if they don’t have hope, they need something to do. Thus, the movie’s premise (where the story is going) is set out clearly.
Meanwhile, Mongolian bandits target them and kill one of their team members. Furhtemore, all the worst aspects of their characters show through under the strenuous situation, but eventually, of course, they must pull together.
FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX is not a profound movie, although it could have been. It is a remake of a much better 1965 movie by Robert Aldrich (THE LONGEST YARD, THE FRISCO KID and THE DIRTY DOZEN), the father of the current director.
The very beginning of the movie seems stilted but quickly builds to a furious pace to become one of the more exciting movies of the year. The special effects and storm sequences are excellent.
FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX could have served as an excellent vehicle for religious values. However, although there are clear elements of redemptive activity and prayer, these elements are mitigated by a character who explicitly rejects religion and the pilot who does not believe even in luck, although he kisses a lucky medallion. There are also references to one character being jinxed, and he seems, in fact, to actually be cursed.
The good news is that there is no sexual activity in the movie. Also, although Elliott seems effeminate, it is never established that he is homosexual. There are some stilted dialogue lines and funky acting, but what detracts from the movie most is the constant foul language.
Much less foul language and some attention to detail could have made FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX one of the year’s better movies. Even so, as it is, the few who see it and don’t mind the foul language will enjoy it.
FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX is not a profound movie, although it could have been. The beginning seems slow and stilted, but the movie quickly builds to a furious pace. The special effects and storm sequences are excellent. The good news is that there are no sex scenes in the movie, but there is constant foul language and a mixed worldview. Attention to detail could have made FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX one of the year’s better movies. Even so, the few who see it and don’t mind the foul language will enjoy it.