Thursday, September 28, 2006

Flyboys - A Thrill-Ride by Numbers!

There are few things in life that can be done to a human being which are more insidious than poisoning his or her Entertainment with Academia. I hate nothing more than to reach the halfway point in a film only to be assaulted by a History Lesson. Or a Lesson on Ethics/Philosophy/Politics/Whatever.

If I wanted to learn I would read a Magazine article about Learning. Education and Entertainment do not mix. PBS should have taught us that lesson long ago. However, Hollywood continuously churns out film after film based on History. These films purport to be action-based but actually cram our heads with useless knowledge as a way of setting up the next battle sequence.

With Flyboys, Hollywood seems to have learned its lesson. There are no pesky historical contexts to confuse the story which follows a group of Americans who travel to France to become fighter pilots in the early years before America’s official involvement in World War Part One. There are vague allusions to battle lines and missions but mostly the film is about Good Guys getting into aerial dogfights with Bad Guys who are easy to recognize because they are German and therefore completely lacking in humanity. Between these dogfights there are passing references to bombers and a munitions factory. I’m not sure how that plays into the larger conflict or why four bombers holding about ten small bombs each is so important for the war effort, but I like not knowing. I also don’t mind not knowing why the Death Star, or Zeppelin as they call it in this film, is unfazed by hundreds of high caliber bullets but explodes into a fiery ball when hit by a wood-framed biplane. Oops. *Spoiler Alert*

There was also no pesky moralizing or so-called ‘Complicated Characters.’ James Franco is the Loner Turned Leader. Jean Reno is the Stiff Commanding Officer Whose Heart is Thawed by Motley Crew of Soldiers. Also showing up are War Wearied Mentor, Spoiled and Intolerant Rich Boy, PostAdolescent Who Becomes First Casualty of Main Villain, Beautiful Love Interest Who Must Be Rescued and so on and so forth. I could describe each of these characters further but I would succeed only in rephrasing their character types.

In this modern day world of nigh-universal Wi-Fi access to the Internet and televisions with hundreds of channels there is nothing that movies need to teach us. If movies can teach us nothing, then the only thing better than Flyboys is irony, which never ever ever gets old. Ever.


Blogger The Movie Show said...


I know this is totally incestuous, but good review.

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