Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Title: Flight Of The Phoenix
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi, Hugh Laurie, Miranda Otto
Director: John Moore

Flight Of The Phoenix is yet another remake of an old film, a current trend that seems to have no end in sight. The original film was made in 1965, and apparently had a more political edge than this version does. However having not seen it, or many of the other films being remade, then I guess there is a certain excuse for updating them for modern audiences. And lets face it, most of us, I am sure, take it for granted that these remakes have little to do with the originals other than a plot outline and title. So we take these new versions on their own merits as much as we can.

With that, Flight Of The Phoenix is an example of state of the art filmmaking. Such that in terms of composition, Flight Of The Phoenix has some great visuals, some great integration of soundtrack, and decent performances. On the other hand, there is little surprising or original about this film. Even thinking about films made in recent years, there is a certain comparison between this film and say Pitch Black – both featuring a crash in a hostile environment, which sees the survivors forced to scramble for survival.

In the context of this film, the parent corporation has closed down an exploratory oil field in Mongolia because it isn’t paying off. The film starts with Hugh Laurie as the corporate man who has done the cost analysis getting an earful from Miranda Otto as the plane arrives to remove the workers from site. Dennis Quaid and Tyrese are the pilots of the plane and as representatives of the closure they aren’t especially popular. This sets up the tensions as the plane takes off and flies straight into a brutal sand storm. The result is that the plane crashes, being torn apart as it comes down.

Most of the crew have survived, but they find themselves in the middle of the Gobi desert, of course and unlikely to be found. What are their options? Wait and see if they can be rescued seems to be about the best they can do, being too far away from anywhere to risk walking. Then Giovanni Ribisi makes his presence known, someone who has somewhat forced himself on the group at the oil field and isn’t especially trusted or known by anyone. But he claims that he can provide a design for a new plane built from the old.

From there we have group tensions, hostile weather, dwindling supplies and heavily armed nomads. The film goes through the motions from there, including a little bit of product placement, and a little dance routine which I am fairly sure was not in the original. Shiny, adequate entertainment.

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