There are five combat sequences that make this flick worth your ticket--maybe 20 minutes worth seeing in the entire film. The CGI is excellent, especially the Gotha bomber. Wow. And the Zeppelin ain't bad.
Having said that: It's riddled with factual and historical errors, ALL of which were avoidable had the writers/director cared to pay attention. (It probably would have cost nothing to do it right.)
A short list would include: Nonexistent aircraft in 1916 such as the Fokker Triplanes (all of them red except the black one!), Sopwith Camel, SE-5, and Bristol Fighter.
The concept of training pilots to fly in a combat squadron is of course absurd but the director apparently thought it necessary as a plot device.
French airmen learning to fly in a British airplane (Sopwith Strutter) is equally absurd.
For the real hair splitters, the Gotha and some triplanes have the straight-edged Balkan crosses that appeared two years later. Other fingernails on the blackboard include "9mm Spandau" machine guns (they were 7.92 Mauser) and "canvas" covering on the wings when cotton or linen were used because canvas was much too heavy.
But beyond that, the script takes a pedestrian approach to what could have been a more evocative, even inspiring, film. There are no standout performances, and the syrupy, chaste romance goes nowhere. The only reason for including it probably was to draw in more of an audience as a date flick (not quite a chick flick.) For those of us who truly enjoy aviation films, this one proved a major disappointment but hey, within limits, almost any WW I flying flick is better than no WW I flying flick.
Action / Adventure
Action / Adventure
Before the United States entered World War I, young Americans went to France to be fighter pilots, joining the Lafayette Escadrille. This fictional version follows a laconic Texas rancher, an eager Nebraska kid, a Black boxer already in France, and a New York swell, as they arrive green for training, get their baptism by fire when German planes ambush them on their first mission, and graduate to heroics. Rawlings, the Texan, falls in love with a young woman he meets at a bordello. Keeping their eyes on them are Captain Thenault and Cassidy, the resident ace, who keeps a pet lion. Can the boys measure up?
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August 26, 2012 at 5:21 am