[WWI] Flyboys

Christopher Malany cmm-saj at snet.net
Sat Apr 7 10:34:35 EDT 2007

Hello, Stephen:

I've got to agree about many of the comments I've read
on list about this film, including your own.  I'm of
two minds about "Flyboys":  

1) As a WWI aviation enthusiast, I welcome any film
about the topic.  Decent replicas and
computer-generated effects let me see something on
screen that otherwise I can only imagine.  Also, my
wife, who is usually completely indifferent to my
hobbies, actually suggested we go see the theatrical
release, enjoyed it, and asked me some good questions
about WWI aviation.  She learned something from the
movie, in spite of itself.

2) On the other hand, "Flyboys" is a good example of
of the chronic problem of Hollywood and History,
particularly with war films.  Hollywood has a genius
for combining lavish production values,
state-of-the-art CGI effects, hackneyed writing, and
plot lines that ignore or distort basic historical
facts.  Looking to "Flyboys," the basic scenario
provided plenty of real drama:  Young men coming of
age in the horror, stress, discomfort and tragic waste
of the Great War, against the backdrop of evolving
aerial warfare.  It's not necessary to pick apart the
film, again - "Flyboys" trivialized virtually all of
these themes.

IMHO, the last competent aviation war film Hollywood
made was "The Bridges of Toko-Ri."  "The Blue Max"
tried, but every departure from the plot of Jack
Hunter's novel weakened it.  My favorite WWI aviation
movie remains "Ace's High," based on the play
"Journey's End."  The flying and "special effects"
sequences are clumsy and dated, but the film tries
hard to evoke the realities and ethos of the Great War
in the air.

- Chris Malany

--- Stephen Auslender <auslend at snet.net> wrote:

> OK guys, my turn.
> I read so many of your posts about the film "The
> Flyboys" that I had to rent 
> it.
> What did I think of it?
> Well, It was pertty so-so, even kind of boring at
> times until the last big 
> battle at the end of the film and then they ruined
> the whole thing.
> Talk about a hokey ending!
> Its like they had an average writer who had just
> finished a high school 
> course in creative writing do the film, using all
> the tricks he learned 
> reading a book on making Hollywood type films. Then
> they went Hollywood and 
> brought in a drunken old hack to butcher it at the
> ending.
> It was almost as bad as the last film make of Pearl
> Harbor - but nothing 
> could be that bad!
> It appears that Hollywood thinks special effects can
> compensate for really 
> bad writing.
> The last good WW1 aviation film I saw was "Wings"
> and that was made how many 
> years ago? Seventy five?
> I'm surprised the film lasted three days in Canada.
> Pretty aeroplanes, though.
> Stephen 

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