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|Index||35 reviews in total|
No-one could have put money on this working. And, of course, in many ways, it doesn't. If I saw it for the first time now, I might hate it. However, I watched it endlessly as a child. An American in the 1980s finds himself shunted back in time to World War II and meets the famous Biggles. The time zones are linked by Biggles' commanding officer, now an old man, and the very 80s Jim finds himself part of a plan to prevent the Germans developing a new weapon. It's cheesy trash. I absolutely love it.
"Biggles" aspired to be an adventure movie in the sense of the old serials
and dime novels; it comes close to succeeding on some levels, but blows it
where it matters. The story itself centers on a bland frozen food
who keeps finding himself transported back in time to help a
Some things worked out very well; the close up shots of biplanes dogfighting and streaking down to just graze the ground, the accuracy of the equipment and weapons for the time period. (For those who don't believe machine guns existed back then, the one they use is a Bergmann MP-18, which was correct for 1917-1918.) You also get to see Peter Cushing in one of his last roles.
Other things required some suspension of belief, namely the Germans developing secret weapons in World War ONE.
But what ruined the movie for me was the god awful eighties pop music soundtrack, and a lead actor who has as much charisma as a wooden door. You can tell they were thinking of making a TV series or move franchise from this one, with different music and a better lead, they might have.
...what a pity the original movie wasn't worked on with the same
I am a very big fan of the books. I read 'Biggles of 266' when I was aged 10 and 29 years later I'm still reading the adventures.
What a waste of the Biggles movie license.
The film wasn't all bad, though. Neil Dickson's portrayal of Biggles was spot on. The supporting actors did a pretty good job as well. The production design was excellent (well, the 1917 bits, anyway). That takes care of the good points.
Where the hell did they drag that soundtrack up from? Nasty is what I call it. I actually cringed during the film, due to inapropriate music.
The stunts were mostly unnecessary ego-boosting cliches.
The script was a total nightmare. Either copy Indiana Jones OR Back to the Future, not BOTH! If they'd cut the 80s bit out, cast Hyde-White as an american reporter and kept the secret weapon bits in, I would have no quibble with this film.
I would recommend buying the DVD if only for the unintentionally hilarious documentary. "..we thought a big star would've 'unbalanced' the film..." you don't say!!!
Â£3.99 at WH Smiths - buy it now! The spirit of Edward D Wood Jr. lives on!
My Grandad used to read the books as a child and my Mum introduced them to
me, so its inevitable that i'd watch this film as a child needless to say me
and my Mum love it !!
The film strays "slightly" away from the books World War 1 setting, (only in the eighties would they have made it into a time travel story) but the characters are faithful to the originals written in the books.
The films plot is a bit silly, but its lots of fun without been stupid and it makes me feel better every time i watch it.
I just hope my "time twin" is someone as cool as Captain James 'Biggles' Bigglesworth ;)
This film is not meant to be taken seriously, but is a thoroughly
romp, with a lot of humour. I watch my recording from time to time, and
still laugh at it.
I particularly liked the way that Col. Raymond explained to Ferguson that the Germans are developing a secret weapon that could change the outcome of WWI, as though the war is still taking place, rather than being long over. This film gave the feeling that the past is still just as real as the present, and is somehow happening at the same time - spooky!
The background music was excellent: the "So you want to be a hero?!" piece as the biplanes streaked along just over the ground, woods on both sides, was marvelous.
The supporting characters of Algy, Bertie and Ginger seemed to fit so well with the old Capt. W.E. Johns stories - the actors really looked the part. Neil Dickson was excellent as the brave but human British hero who, when Von Stalheim proposes a toast "To War", replies "To Peace". The film definitely captured some of the "Boy's Own" era of British story-telling, when the heroes were bold, resourceful and always ready to have a go at the enemy, regardless of the odds or the danger - but always remained polite and courteous.
I really don't understand why this film bombed out at the box-office; after all, we have all seen far worse films which did much better. Perhaps the name "Biggles" is too British to attract an American audience, who don't have the nostalgic fondness for the character that we who read the books in our youth have?
I hate to quibble with a comment but I had to offer some follow up to the comment regarding the disbelief of a German secret weapon during World War I. The concept for a wave type weapon has its origins before World War I with Nicola Tesla, who first postulated the notion of what has become known as scalar waves. Modern physics denies that such waves can exist but Tesla was convinced that they did and according to some he provided it (Tesla Horwitzer). The British actually developed the first theoretic underpinnings for a sound weapon of the type depicted in Biggles and frankly I thought that is where the idea came from. We "moderns" think far to much of our capabilities. What is happening today is that some open minded scientists are revisiting discarded Victorian science. How many people know that the modern principles of William Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic principles are taught today in a truncated form and that the missing parts may in fact provide the theory for effective wave weapons (ever wonder why the US government spends so much time on Star Wars technology?). By the 1930s, the Germans were developing a number of secret weapons including the so called death rays. I think it prudent to give early modern humans credit for being just as creative as our generation and a lot more open minded.
I always believed I'd grow out of this film, but that hasn't happened yet. True, the plot's impossibly silly, but when I first watched the film, that didn't matter to me. Frankly, it still doesn't. Don't watch this film if you're looking for some serious intellectual stimulation. However, if it's great fun, great music and a major dose of eighties nostalgia you're after, this could be the one for you. One last thing - the main theme "Do you wanna be a hero" still sends shivers down my spine every time I see the opening credits.
'Biggles', taken as an SF-Adventure movie, is great fun. It bears little resemblance to the 'Biggles' books of W E Johns, though. Excellent performances, costuming and production values and sure to entertain boys from 8 to 80!
I really enjoyed the film and thought it was pure genious!
Biggles is a star unto himself! The film is full of action and alittle comedy!
I like the fact that Biggles was a real live person and some of the film was based on fact and not fiction. Ginger, Algie and Biggles were all pilots in the First World War and possably went on to see service in the Second!
The film is a fantastic eighties fantasy,war adventure pact with a prefect plot!
Good against Evil
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The good parts - Peter Cushing, who cannot go wrong, and adds some much
needed gravitas to the modern parts.
The WW1 cast - perfect in every way.
When the story is in WW1 - The English soldiers coolly wandering into a courtyard full of Germans is one of my favourites scenes.
The scene with the sonic weapon - just believable (given Tesla's experiments) and nicely gruesome.
Alex Hyde White isn't too bad once the story gets going.
The whole time travel. OK, I can see it working - but it doesn't here. It's just an excuse to modernise and Americanise the film, because god forbid an 80's audience try and deal with the story of British people in the past.
Calling it Biggles - he's barely in it. Not enough to justify being the title character.
That soundtrack. That truly awful, grating, inappropriate soundtrack.
Marcus Gilbert - the one anomaly in the WW1 cast - he's awful.
The modern American cast with the exception of Alex Hyde White - grating, irritating and stereotyped in every way.
I think, on some level, the original writers and director did want to make a proper Biggles movie - the standard of the WW1 part shows that. I suspect they were over-ruled by producers and studio hacks who couldn't understand why anyone would want to watch just a straight forward story about brave British flyers in WW1. (The films penultimate line 'You're not a god, you're an American!' hints at some bitterness)
Pity. There could have been a good film there.
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