While in an international fair of exhibition of airplanes, a French Mirage 2000 of the last generation vanishes and pilots Antoine "Walk'n" Marchelli and Sebastian "Fahrenheit" Vallois are assigned to locate the plane that is flying in a hiding position below a commercial airplane. The pilots order the Mirage to return to the base, but the Mirage attacks Fahrenheit instead, and Walk'n immediately shots the Mirage saving his partner. However, the evidences are forged by the leader of a force called "Special Missions" and Walk'n is falsely accused of not following the orders and discharged from the air force. Blacklisted in the commercial flight companies, Walk'n and Fahrenheit are pressed to join the Special Missions team, where they disclose betrayals in a net of espionage. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
'Top Gun' for a new generation.
9 November 2005 (France)
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Opening Weekend: $3,712,896
(11 November 2005)
(2 December 2005)
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Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?
The flight sequences from the film were all filmed with actual planes and aerial photography, without the use of CGI. In order to capture the high-speed maneuvers, a specially-designed camera was attached to a Mirage 2000 aircraft which then tailed the 'star planes' as they flew, for only another Mirage 2000 could actually fly at speeds that matched the planes being filmed. The traditional film camera, which was specially constructed with lenses facing forward, backward, to the side, and downward, was installed inside an empty fuel pod and built by Dassault, the aircraft consortium which constructed the Mirage 2000. Using a digital HD camera had been considered early on, but because of its size, it was simply too large to be squeezed into the tank. Because of space requirements, the pod camera could only hold 4 minutes of film, which had to be specially shielded from the elements and sealed in an airtight compartment to prevent the pressure and temperature differences at altitude from damaging it. In addition, the camera could not be controlled by hand, as it was located within the tank, nor could it be controlled electronically by wire, as the tank had to be easily detachable from the plane so it could be swapped from one Mirage 2000 to another on refueling to prevent the daily shooting schedule from falling behind. Thus, a special radio control system was devised, so that the pilot of the Mirage 2000 could activate the camera at will. However, this too had many problems to work out, as the radio frequency could not interfere with the regular operations of the aircraft, nor could it possibly jam air-to-ground communications. Finally, however, a proper system was devised to allow the camera to be activated remotely. For tracking shots where using the Mirage 2000 camera was not practical, a Lear jet was flown in from Southern California in the United States, and used for about a week at great expense. Due to all these concerns and complications, director Gérard Pirès
and his aerial-photography team had to carefully plan each shot with storyboards, something the director normally does not do. However, he said in a question and answer session after the film's screening on at the City of Lights - City of Angels Los Angeles Film Festival on April 7th, 2006 that the time limitations on the film actually did not hinder production, as they required thought and economy towards the shots being attempted, and also as the Mirage 2000 plane itself had to refuel every 45 minutes. The director took great pride in the fact that he was able to use this camera to capture the incredible look and feeling of flight, without resorting to using the computer to manipulate his images. See more
When attacking the desert airbase in the recaptured Mirage 2000D, Capitaine Antoine "Walk'n" Marchelli (Benoît Magimel) fires a Matra 550 Magic IR AAM from the port outer pylon, which destroys a refuelling truck on the ground and the captured Mirage 2000-5 it is refuelling. In the next few shots the Mirage 2000D still has a Magic on the port outer pylon. See more
Version of The Aeronauts