Flight Of The Phoenix

"Weak"

Flight Of The Phoenix Review


There are bound to be very few surprises in a movie that gives away its ending in the title. A remake of a 1965 Jimmy Stewart movie in which the survivors of a desert plane crash build a new makeshift aircraft from the wreckage of the old one, "Flight of the Phoenix" has no surprises at all.

From a guy showing pictures of his wife and kid (uh oh) before the doomed cargo plane even takes off to ferry workers home from a shut-down Gobi Desert oil rig, to the personality clashes as social order disintegrates, to the inspirational speeches that bring them all back together, everything in the story comes pretty much on cue. Even the band of desert marauders who turn up to threaten them arrives just in time to kick off the third act.

Dennis Quaid stars as the cantankerous captain who tries to fly above a huge sandstorm rather than delay his flight, subsequently crash-landing 200 miles off course with his co-pilot (Tyrese Gibson, "Baby Boy"), the rig's project leader and token female (Miranda Otto, "Lord of the Rings"), the corporate stooge who shut her down (Hugh Laurie, Fox TV's "House"), and a gritty cultural cross-section of rig workers.

Their only hope is that the one passenger who wasn't supposed to be there, a nasally nerd (Giovanni Ribisi) who happens to design airplanes -- and happened to be "backpacking" through the remote, almost impassibly inhospitable area for no explored reason -- can engineer an air-worthy vessel, using the parts and equipment on hand, before their food and water run out.

Director John Moore ("Behind Enemy Lines") conspicuously skips over important details (how does this crew get its improvised plane out of the ditch where they build it?), fails to establish the terrain (aerial shots show a vast field of dunes, yet some scenes take place in rocky valleys) and has his characters inexplicably spend their down time outside in the blazing sun. There's never any real sense of peril because the entire film feels prefabricated. When Quaid has only five chances to start the new plane's engine, how many tries do you think it will take?

The only unpredictable element is Ribisi's character, who is coldly practical (to the point of arguing that an injured man should be allowed to die sooner rather than later to conserve supplies), but becomes egomaniacal upon realizing that "everyone here is dispensable except me."

Ribisi's performance is somewhat affected -- as if he's basing the engineer's entire personality on his nasal twang -- but if it weren't for him there would be little here to hold one's interest after the original plane goes through its cinematic barrel rolls, its fuselage-chopping lost propeller and its sand-blasting belly landing during the computer-generated opening storm.

So while the do-it-themselves plane of the title does eventually get off the ground, the movie doesn't really follow suit.



Flight Of The Phoenix

Facts and Figures

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th December 2004

Box Office USA: $20.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $21M

Budget: $45M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Davis Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Fresh: 35 Rotten: 81

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Frank Towns, as A.J., as Elliott, as Kelly, as Ian, as John Davis, as Alex Rodney, as Jeremy, as Sammi, as James Liddle, as Rady, Paul Ditchfield as Dr. Gerber, Martin Hindy as Newman, Bob Brown as Kyle, as Lead Smuggler, as Jeremy (as Kirk Jones)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.