A Navy navigator is shot down over enemy territory and is ruthlessly pursued by a secret police enforcer and the opposing troops. Meanwhile his commanding officer goes against orders in an attempt to rescue him.
A police sergeant must rally the cops and prisoners together to protect themselves on New Year's Eve, just as corrupt policeman surround the station with the intent of killing all to keep their deception in the ranks.
Master explorer Dirk Pitt goes on the adventure of a lifetime of seeking out a lost Civil War battleship known as the "Ship of Death" in the deserts of West Africa while helping a WHO doctor being hounded by a ruthless dictator.
A group of air crash survivors are stranded in the Mongolian desert with no chance of rescue. Facing a brutal environment, dwindling resources, and an attack by desert smugglers, they realize their only hope is doing the impossible... building a new plane from the wreckage of the old one. Written by
I have the greatest respect for producers and directors. Regardless of the quality of their work, they must struggle to bring their personal vision to film, and this requires intelligence, technical proficiency, artistic sense, and the skill of a great storyteller. So why do so many directors do remakes of classic movies that deliberately do away with the qualities that made the earlier version(s) as great as they are? Why not fiddle with the less important aspects of the movie? In the original "Flight of the Phoenix", there are several aspects of the film that are essential to the movie; the complete absence of women, the contrast of the claustrophobic setting of the crash site against the vastness of the desert, the lack of backstory for the characters, the revealing of the hidden hopes and fears of the characters through pure dialogue, and the total isolation of the men from outside influences (with the exception of the encounter with the Bedouins.) The 2004 version of the movie basically does away with all of these elements, and the result is not positive.
The original movie was basically a stage play, with limited special effects and a setting that could easily be reproduced on a stage. I don't believe that John Moore improves the movie in any way other than the introduction of some brief, but impressive, special effects.
I also have to point out that some of the reviewers have obviously never seen the original 1965 version, or, if they did, they paid little attention to it. One reviewer, for example, observes that the pilot, Frank Towns, has to be talked into leading the effort to rescue themselves, suggesting that this was somehow a new element in the story. Fans of the 1965 version will recall that this was a major plot element, wherein Towns did not wish to be responsible and did not believe that the effort to rebuild the plane would be successful.
As many others have said, see the original first. Then, if you really want the 21st century special effects, see the 2004 version.
Additional Comment: I just watched this again because a friend had not seen it. These people were the dumbest fools that ever got stranded anywhere. Not to mention that, aside from a minor touch of sunburn,they stay in miraculaously good shape without hats, sunscreen, or any other significant protection.
** out of *****
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