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
This version of "Flight of the Phoenix" was released at the end of 2004 and is a modern take on the 1965 film with Jimmy Stewart.
THE PLOT: A group of mostly oil workers crash land in the Gobi Desert where being found by a search party is unlikely. One of the passengers turns out to be an airplane designer who insists that they can create a new plane with the workable parts of the wreckage. Although an outlandish idea, it may be their only legitimate chance at survival.
The plot is exactly the same as the original version with a few notable differences: It takes place about 40 years later; it includes a woman (Miranda Otto); it features a more racially mixed cast; and it takes place in the Gobi Desert rather than the Libyan Desert (although it was shot in Namibia, while the original was filmed in the deserts of SE California).
I'm not one of those people who hates the very idea of remakes. I'm open to filmmakers taking a heralded classic and modernizing it, like the excellent remake of "The Parent Trap." That's what we get with this remake of "Flight of the Phoenix," except that it's not excellent. But it's not bad either.
Although there are some new touches that are as good or even superior to the original (Like Liddle's powerful line to Towns in the debris field, as well as the confrontation with the Mongols sequence), this modernization ultimately pales in the shadow of the original. Why? There's less focus on character development and therefore the movie has less interesting characters. Instead the filmmakers opt for scenes that might maintain the attention of those with ADHD, like an explosion scene, a lightning storm sequence and a dubious attack by the Mongol smugglers at the very end (shouldn't they have attacked while they were pulling the aircraft? Or earlier?). But the biggest negative is that the movie just lacks the brilliant dramatic flow of the original.
The film runs 113 minutes.
FINAL WORD: This would be a better film for anyone who hasn't seen the original, but if you've seen the '65 version it's just so mediocre by comparison. Still, it's worth checking out if, like me, you love survival films. And it is interesting to see a different take on the same basic story.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?