FlightReleased on November 2, 2012 1 comment
In a flick destined to kill airline ticket sales, or at the very least boost in-flight scotch consumption, veteran director Robert Zemeckis and old pro Denzel Washington have teamed-up to bring the harrowing tale of an aviation disaster that calls on Denzel to flex his famous heroic muscle. That shouldn’t be a problem, as he’s been doing it through various characters for over 30 years.
Zemeckis is no slouch either, having turned popcorn films into Hollywood’s version of seminal events, right up there with other CGI champs like James Cameron. Which is not to say his flicks have been consistent, far from it.
With a few exceptions,(like Forrest Gump,) Zemeckis has too-often relied on effects over narrative. We can’t argue with the formula – he’s been too successful, starting with the “Back To The Future” series and flying right on through “Cast Away,” which we thought was a joke, but made a fortune. Having said that, he hasn’t had an adult-themed hit in years. “Beowulf” and “A Christmas Carol,” were tepidly received, and with good reason. Director Bob usually shies away from heavier fare. Meaning his current undertaking is not without risk.
Any uncertainty should be somewhat muted with Denzel carrying the load. As we’ve stated before, he’s a bankable star whose been in some dreadful movies – remember “Unstoppable” and “Déjà Vu?” Such choices are likely a combination of his high-octane ego and the dearth of decent scripts. Even so, waiting for his one good turn every ten years can be frustrating, especially knowing that he can be far better that what he normally gives us. From the trailer, it’s too hard to tell if this will be one of his more memorable roles.
In the lasting tradition of television’s “Law and Order,” this story is ripped from the headlines. Sort of. Back in 2009, just after takeoff, American Airlines Captain Sully Sullenberger had to ditch his flight into New York’s Hudson River after the plane collided with Canadian Geese. All of the passengers survived.
That’s about where the similarities end as far as “Flight” is concerned. After crash landing his plane, Captain Denzel is lauded as a hero, only to be demonized soon after when reports surface that he had been drinking before the flight. From there its NTSB hearings and the inevitable soul-searching as his life begins to disintegrate with the same intensity as his plane did at 30 thousand feet.
What Washington has no control over is the way the third act is written, and if we were betting boys, we’d take the long odds that this one will limp across the line like so many other Zemekis-helmed efforts, with an unsatisfying clunk.
For Denzel’s sake, we hope not.