An action-adventure in which a group of air crash survivors - cast-offs from society who will never be missed - are stranded in the Mongolian desert with no hope of rescue. As they attempt to build a new plane from the wr... more »eckage of the old one, in hopes of flying back to civilization, they experience a rebirth of their own.« less
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 12/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Saw it Saturday at the Bridge theater in Culver City. In one word, my review would be, "awesome." I remember when I was a boy my dad taking me to see the old Robert Aldrich movie "The Flight of the Phoenix" at the tiny Kings Park Theater on Long Island. That as so long ago James Stewart could still play an action hero. I loved the picture then, and I think a lot of boys my age still will connect the movie with similar male-bonding experiences with their dads--maybe they should have released this re-make during Father's Day holiday instead of Christmas. Anyhow, the remake did not disappoint. Dennis Quaid is no Jimmy Stewart, but he's just as good in this as he was in THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. Funny in this one he's always traipsing up and down over Gobi desert hills in Gunga Din heat sweating his balls off, whereas in TOMORROW he was all icy cold with ice forming over his face. What a year it's been for poor Dennis Quaid. In this film he plays Frank "Shut Em Down" Townes, a crack pilot who makes some unfortuante decisions early in the film and spends the rest of the time living them down and trying to righten things.
Miranda Otto looks completely different than she did in the final two films of the LORD OF THE RINGS tragedy. She plays Kelly, a tough as nails oil driller and physically she looks a lot like Evangeline Lilly who plays "Kate" on ABC's LOST. Everyone around me sitting in the theater was commenting on how much this film resembles LOST. Frank and Kelly are just like Jack and Kate in LOST, there's a quasi-Sayed guy who spouts a lot of mystic Kahil Gibran philosophy, a chubby guy sort of like Hurley, and strange monstrous creatures out there who are using the castaways as target practice. And of course, there is the shadow of the wrecked plane spilling out over the sands. But THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX is not a rip off of LOST, rather, the resemblance is the other way around. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat its lessons, but for today, my tip is, if you like action pictures and don't mind the constant burning sun, see this film and try to figure out what twists and turns are coming next. And also, even if you dislike Giovanni Ribisi in other movies, don't let us casting here prevent you from seeing this film, because he shows another side of himself here and will really win your heart despite playing such a loathsome, racist, lying, manipulative and sociopathic character."
Should have left this bird alone...
David Foskin | Waterford, Ireland | 11/24/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to be fair to the new "Flight of the Phoenix," an adaptation of the novel by Elleston Trevor, because I keep wanting desperately to compare it to Robert Aldrich's 1965 film version, which got everything so right that I wonder why a remake was necessary. The fact that John Moore, the director of this new version, gets everything wrong in those same places makes me eager to simply make my review a list of direct comparisons.
I'll try not to, however, since every time I confront a remake, I always tell myself to judge it on its own terms. (Such advice doesn't always work, of course, especially when the new version is a pale imitation of a classic.) I will allow myself a one sentence contrast, and it is this: where the 1965 film takes its time letting the story unravel on its own, quietly but fiercely, the 2004 version opts to make everything louder, and louder, and louder, until it's convinced that the only way to get dramatic impact from such a premise is to pound loudness into the viewer.
For a while (and here's where I force myself to ignore the original movie... good luck), Moore's "Phoenix" gets things right. It shakes up the story a bit, ditching the military characters and making everyone involved employees of an oil company. Flying out of a lousy Mongolian outpost, they get slammed by a nasty sandstorm and crash in the Gobi desert, presumably somewhere just inside the China border, although nobody's too sure. The crash sequence is great stuff, nerveracking and fierce, one-upping such modern crash scenes as the one in "Cast Away." So far, so good.
With survival a prime issue, a bizarre stranger and the film's only non-oil company employee (Giovanni Ribisi) suggests they build a new plane out of the working parts remaining from the old one - a plot point that doesn't appear until much later in the 1965 version (sorry, can`t help myself), suggesting that this new version is eager to tighten things up, move things along much faster, and simply Get On With It.
It's around here that things start to go south. Uncertain of how to keep things moving in a movie in which so little happens, screenwriters Scott Frank (who should've known better) and Edward Burns (who doesn't, no surprise) keep tossing in increasingly annoying moments. It all starts with the casting of Sticky Fingaz (perhaps not his birth name?) as an eye-patched badass; his character exists merely to inject some hip-hop lingo into the proceedings. We even get a bit in which he takes over the stereo system and blares Outcast's "Hey Ya!" Good song, bad scene.
Then come the occasional explosion or electrical storm, which make for some decent action sequences but feel too forced and out of place in what's meant to be more of a character piece. And, in what evolves into an obnoxious turn of events, the arrival of a tribe of nomad baddies (arms smugglers, the story guesses), handled so expertly last time out (sorry again!), here becomes a cop out - whenever the plot gets stuck, just toss in some random nomads. (Their arrival during the final scene was so unnecessary that it borders on laughable.) By attempting to spruce things up for a modern audience, the film winds up being a series of wrong choices.
Worst of all, the filmmakers opted to dumb things down, instead of trusting the viewer to be remotely intelligent. There's an overlong explanation of the meaning of "phoenix" dropped in for all the morons in the audience, and a major revelation regarding one character is drawn out past its breaking point (the clumsiness of the scripting is only intensified by Marco Beltrami's ham-fisted musical score, which mistakes "loud" for "important").
Moore, who also made the dumb-but-enjoyable Owen Wilson actioner "Behind Enemy Lines," here tries to cram too much action into a film that doesn't need it. Fortunately, the cast rescues many a scene. Dennis Quaid, in the Jimmy Stewart role, is as magnetic a screen personality as he's ever been, and his energetic presence keeps the story plowing over its mistakes. Ribisi makes for a nice mystery man (even if the script fumbles the mystery); Miranda Otto is wonderful enough (and gorgeous enough) to make things worth watching; model-turned-actor Tyrese Gibson shows a growing promise as a star; and Hugh Laurie brings more out of his character's breakdown than the script requires, thank goodness.
Still, the cast can't fully save a dying production. This new "Phoenix" makes too many mistakes, the biggest one being the mistake of confusing "modernizing" with "dumbing down." Moore's version may interest those unfamiliar with the original movie, if only because they don't know what they're missing. But know this: you're missing one hell of a whole lot. "
This is a laughable remake
Dario Straccia | Michigan | 03/07/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"If you havent seen this movie yet. DONT. Buy the original with James Stewart. Its about 100 times better.
Where do I start. The film has one great scene and that is of the plane crashing. Thats it. After that we get one bad scene after another. We never get to know the characters like we do in the original. They seemed more forced in this version. There are some lines pulled right out from the orignal but they cant save this trainwreck, they are delivered so badly its embarassing. When the plane gets buried in sand the passengers dig out not only the plane but the surrounding area as well but it looks like they manage to dig out a HUGE area around the plane that would take bulldozers a week to dig out. Theres a stupid scene where the passengers start dancing to a song on a cd player. These guys have just crashed, low on water, working day and night to build a plane and they are goofing off dancing? Dont even get me started on some of the life speeches in this film. I also got a good laugh after the film they put pictures of the characters and what they did after they were rescued. The model designer was on a magazine cover now working for NASA. Cheesy as hell.
The only people who will can possibly enjoy this film are KIDS"
Flight of the Phoenix
Billy L. Parrish | Maryland Mountains | 01/09/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is the WORST remake of any movie I've seen in my life. The original movie had SUPERIOR actors and paid close attention to ALL details pertaining to what life would really be like if this indeed happened. This remake includes wimps,stupidity and a list of ridiculous ideas and total ignorance of what it would be like trapped in a desert in conditions that are beyond most imaginations. I'm going to burn this DVD in my outdoor firepit first chance I get. You really need to see the original to understand just how bad todays movies are!!!"
Great extras, mediocre film
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 06/17/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Sadly, Flight of the Phoenix is just another duff remake. Despite massive advances in special effects and a moderately exciting last two minutes, this feels even longer than Robert Aldrich's much longer original, and the reason is pretty elementary: lack of characterisation and drama. Where Aldrich typically set his flawed protagonists at each others throats in a hostile environment that was driving them mad and dealt with the way the pilot who crashes off-course in the desert turns his guilt into anger at his passengers, this is mostly feel-good stuff, full of life lessons, spiritual slogans and far too much high fiving for any self respecting survival drama - at one point they even get down and boogie. A modicum of drama is thrown in at the last minute in the wake of the key revelation about the new plane's designer, but it's so little and so late that it totters on the edge of laughable. As a result, some good actors and Giovanni Ribisi (horribly overacting the old Hardy Kruger part minus the Nazi undertones) are stranded by committee filmmaking rather than the elements and poor piloting.
Strangely, for such a bland film, the making of documentary is surprisingly gloves off, showing director John Moore in full effing and blinding mode as he throws several fits (and he's not the only one). At least one of the extended scenes (involving a biplane) was good enough to be in the feature, and the commentary throws up the odd interesting fact amid the mutual back slapping. The result is a modest extras package that easily outshines the film."