Interesting and informative retrospective documentary
This forty-five minute documentary offers a nifty and illuminating glimpse at the making of the cool 80's action thriller "Blue Thunder." Co-writer Dan O'Bannon reveals that the original script concerned a chopper pilot who goes psycho and was much darker in tone. In addition, O'Bannon notes the "!984"-style Big Brother theme of advanced technology making it easier to invade people's privacy. Through subsequent revisions the character of Murphy was made much more heroic and appealing. Director John Badham admits that the film was extremely difficult and exhausting to make, noting that the numerous helicopter stunts were especially hard to pull off. The designing and building of the helicopter was a daunting challenge in and of itself. The casting process was likewise pretty tricky: Badham originally wanted Bryan Brown to play the villain, but when he wasn't available wound up going with Malcom McDowell instead (ironically, McDowell suffered from a severe fear of flying which he had to surmount head on while acting in the picture!). On the other hand, Roy Scheider was connected to the project from the get-go. Badham raves about what a joy Warren Oates was to work with and discusses Oates' unfortunate untimely death after the film wrapped (the movie is dedicated to Oates' memory). The special effects involving miniatures were shot in slow motion. The film required two editors to cut it together and a couple of scenes were ultimately excised from the final finished picture which included a scene with Scheider being grilled by a police psychiatrist. Moreover, we also get an alternate tamer TV version of the infamous scene with the lovely yoga girl. Although the film received mixed reviews from critics, "Blue Thunder" nonetheless make $50 million at the box office and inspired both the "Airwolf" TV series and its own short-lived TV show. Well worth seeing for fans of the flick.
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