Sunday, December 14, 2008

Flightpath

I watched Flightpath with Jodie Foster recently. I watch pretty much anything with airplanes in it, even if it's not really an airplane movie, as this wasn't. It was instead a version of the ancient "Mother has lost her child and no one else will believe her" plot. The oldest version I know of that story is the changeling myth, not coincidentally the namesake of a current movie, same theme, starring Angelina Jolie. I haven't seen the latter.

The airplane in Flightpath is the fictional "E474" a A380-like airplane. Its engines were designed by Fosters character, who nevertheless knows every closet, access panel and electrical relay in the whole aircraft. More interesting than the movie was the director's commentary. The crew of the movie apparently went around to aircraft manufacturers and airplane scrapyards looking at layouts and hatches and access panels on all different aircraft. At one point a staffer was in a copyshop, photocopying an aircraft manual for use as a prop and the copyshop called the police, who called the FBI, who called Homeland Security, who showed up to find out if they were terrorists. The anti-terror sentiment was so strong that in the end they deliberately disregarded the research thy did on where the hatches actually were and went with the common airplane movie device where the protagonist can escape from the airplane washroom into a gigantic loft where they can short out all the airplane systems and plunge the aircraft into darkness by crossing a couple of wires.

Another part I liked was the comment that the studio had "pretty much one cockpit that was used in every movie for the last ten years. It was destroyed on Cast Away when they drove it into the water tank and shorted everything out." I'm going to be watching old movies with an eye for that now. I like to compare scenes from different movies. Maybe someday I'll get software that allows me to splice them together to make a visual commentary on similarities.

I suspect I blogged about the same thing last time I watched this movie, but I couldn't find the entry. And hey, I rewatched it so you can reread it.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm much the same, in that any airplane appearance immediately spikes the attention meter. One of my favorites is watching old TV shows or movies, such as Hawaii 5-0, to see the older generation of commercial airliners. Hawaii 5-0 was usually pretty good in this regard, since United Airlines was a sponsor (some great inflight footage of DC-8s), but typically a show would have the actors taking off in one kind of plane, inflight in a 2nd type, then landing in a 3rd. 707 to DC-8 to 737, for instance.
Bob in Minnesota

Anonymous said...

I like it best (speaking of Hollywood Aviation) when a DC3 touches down on a dirt strip, accompanied by the loud chhirrp of tires on pavement. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I kept waiting for her to find snakes on that plane... hissss

Lynn said...

I like the really old movies ("No Highway in the Sky") and TV shows (one of the "Twilight Zone" episodes, for example), where the airliners have 4-man crews (2 pilots, flight engineer, and navigator, I believe).

This must be the era were the rumors about pilots and flight attendants fooling around in the cockpit started. From what I can see of airliner cockpits when I get on and off of planes these days, the amount of space for each pilot is about the same as a in Mercury capsule; not nearly enough room to do anything but sit there.

Lynn

viennatech said...

The biggest problem I had with Flightplan was when I asked the question "Why?" no one could answer it. I watched the movie because it was airplane related, but after seeing it, it made no sense. Why did her daughter need to "dissappear?" It was just silliness. Now at least "Airplane!" had something to laugh about, this was simply a waste of time. Too bad really because the idea was cool and the cinematography is decent. Just no meat...

ea757grrl said...

We watched "Flightplan" several months ago (had never seen it before, but I'll watch almost anything with Jodie Foster in it) and found it reasonably entertaining...until the resolution unfolded. For whatever reason, the payoff seemed so contrived that everything else about the movie just collapsed.

Every time there's a movie with an aviation element, I perk up, but I'm frequently disappointed. With that, I'm left with the realization that that "Airplane!" is probably the best aviation-related movie I've seen.

BTW, related to the fun of seeing the same cockpit, and the same props, in different movies: seeing the same real aircraft in different movies. For instance, the same World Airways 707 (N374WA) shows up in "Skyjacked," "Magnum Force" and an episode of "Charlie's Angels."

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

I normally will watch anything with an airplane in it and I will normally watch anything with Jodie Foster in it so this one seemed like a natch, eh? However, the trailers for this one looked so gawd-awful that I just could not bear subject myself to it. When this one was hitting the theaters I was having one of my odd bouts of self-esteem so I decided not to disrespect myself by watching this one. Based on your post and the other comments here I think I made the right call! :)

Sarah said...

Continuing the chain, I'll watch almost anything with an airplane in it, and almost anything with Jodie Foster in it.

Though that may change if she keeps doing empty money makers like "Flightpath" and the revenge fantasy "The Brave One". Where are scripts like "Contact" these days?

Roger said...

I too saw Flightpath, albeit a few months ago. I was most amazed at all the extra space they had, above and below the cabin, in the avionics bay, etc.