The Flying Classroom (2003) Poster

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Better than expected!
TAEMO26 January 2003
I went into this movie knowing it was good. But it was better! It is a movie for children as well as their parents.

Everything in it is brilliant. Let's start with the acting. Sebastian Koch as the Nichtraucher (non-smoker) and Ulrich Noethen as Iustus are perfect in their roles. Especially Sebastian Koch is very convincing. The child-actors do a very good job and the rest of the cast is also perfect, not to mention the very funny Piet Klocke as Professor Kreuzkamm.

The screenplay is very good, the writers succeeded in eliminating all clichés. They did not simply turn Erich Kästners bestseller into a very good movie, the matter was also updated to fit in our time. Germany's unification is now part of the storyline of two characters in the movie.

Camera and direction is above average and give the movie a good look.

I enjoyed the movie, and so will you. Go and see it.
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Wonderful; Simply Wonderful
t-175 July 2003
I stumbled across this movie while browsing the on-demand video system on a Singapore Airlines flight between Newark NJ and Amsterdam.

Having no familiarity with the original storyline "The Flying Classroom", I was nonetheless delighted at the quality of the acting, and by even more, the attention to sheer detail in the way props, scenes, etc are presented. Part of this may be due to the fact that no American studio was involved - Constantin Film is a German/European studio, and as such the movie was not adulterated in the way a Disney/Universal children's movie would be.

Everything - including the catchy theme music (not to mention the few phrases of Christmas Oratorio we get to hear), the interaction of the young actors and actresses, the subtle use of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and even the underlying storyline has a very Germanic/European feel to it. And that's no joke either. Beautiful scene of Leipzig in the winter too. Wonderful, simply wonderful.

I plan on getting this one on DVD (to play on my multiregion DVD player) when it comesout.
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The ever lasting story
PhillipSimons22 June 2006
The third display of Erich Kästner's classic "Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer" passes through some perceivable changes. The story adopts clever into the modern time era, still keeping the tragic elements of the divided Germany alive in the form of past memories. But, nevertheless it seems that the real punch-line of Kästners story was lost somewhere throughout the attempt to adjust the characters and main story to our time. The deep emotional fracture, and the virtue of the historical background story aren't quite noticeable. Both crucial elements of Kästners novel - not only the carefully designed historical ballast and action but also the in-tensed psychological element, that clearly incorporation of the partitioned boarding school in the characters of Bökh and Kreuzkamm, together loose their meaning and significance. Also, like with the most movies made by a novel/book, the complexity of the single characters develops only in limited directions.

On the other side, the persuasive performances by all the main actors, and the fact that across the movie all unnecessary clichés we used to see in such teenage movies do not appear, leads to a positive evaluation of this movie. It certainly is both delightful and interesting to see how Kästners story and imagination after decades have past, at least in some basic outlines
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A movie not only for kids
HastnKeks7 January 2006
"Das fliegende klassenzimmer" ("The Flying Classroom") really caught the spirit of the book. If you think from the title it's only a kid's movie you're wrong. The story reaches all generations. Universal ideas like friendship and loyalty are some of the themes.

Finally a movie the whole family can watch without being afraid that there's something some kids shouldn't see.

Though it the main part plays in Leibzig the inside of the boarding school was filmed in the "Landesschule Pforta", a school which once was a monastery. The old bathroom they show is not in use anymore though... just as a secret way to get away from the teachers and visit people in other rooms...
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not only for Kästner-Fans!!!
crazy-kermit26 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Since I'm a huge Erich Kästner fan, I have the three movies of "das fliegende Klassenzimmer" that were ever done. The script of the first one (1954) was even written by Kästner himself. So it's the closest to the book, of course. There was just this part were they run over the ice and slip all the time. It's supposed to be dramatic, but it's just stupid and disturbs...

The second one took place in Bamberg in 73 and the idea of setting it into summertime was really good. They changed the snowball fight into a 'normal' fight, which was really good made. But that Ulli jumped out of a window of the third floor (I think it was the third...) with an umbrella was unrealistic and over-dramatic, too... but I never new which one I like more...

Then I heard that they wanna make a new one, and I wondered, how they wanna set it into this time. There are hardly any boys boarding schools in Germany anymore, but the idea of putting the play into the Thomaner school was genius! (By the way: in this version it's winter again and the snowball fight is a snowball fight^^) And that they reeranged the play into some kind of a rap-musical in the future-space was good, too! Because with it, they could not only create the past difficulties of Justus (Ulrich Noethen) and Nichtraucher (Sebastian Koch) with the DDR, but it also appealed more with the new generation.

The acting was awesome, but I have to say that Hauke Diekamp (Jonathan Trotz) was the most incredible. Not only his acting was very convincing, but it was the first time he acted at all, what is not to believe after watching this movie.

All in all, the newest "fliegende Klassenzimmer" is an awesome movie, which everyone should watch once in his life (not only Kästner fans!)
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The Flying Classroom crashes hard Warning: Spoilers
This kids movie from 2003 is based on an Erich Kästner novel and yet they had four writers adapting it for the screen. The outcome is quite a disappointment as this is a prime example of too many cooks spoiling the broth. The cast is decent: Noethen, Koch, Kling and a very young Frederick Lau (he reunited with Ferkic for "Die Welle") are in here and so is a personal favorite: Piet Klocke. His classroom scene with the boy in the garbage bin was probably the funny highlight of the movie. The movie won many awards, but I cannot really see why. none of the kids were truly good actors and the story was weak too. i cannot say how much they changed from Kästner's original, but the script is definitely not a strength of this film. By the way, it runs for 110 minutes, really long for a children's film. most of these do not even come close to the 100-minute mark, at least these from Germany. In a couple days, I will watch the 1950s version, so make sure to check out my review there and see if I deem it more worth watching than this one here. I am fairly certain it will not have these woeful rap music sequences on so many occasions. Probably not even on one. Apart from Lau, one or two of the kids actors still have acting careers, but most of them went back to normal lives quickly.

The best thing about this film was maybe the soundtrack, at least the main tune that also plays in the very end. However, the kids rapping was just horrible and the other singing parts (mostly choir) were not too memorable either. The two groups of kids fighting was nothing special and I never felt particularly like cheering for one side. It's a bit of a shame Vilsmaier is not acting anymore either. She had decent talent and screen presence, maybe the most from the younger actors here. Initially, I thought Sebastian Koch was evil, but I was wrong in the end. When he climbed up to the kids, he seemed somewhat like a villain. Also, I have to say I did not really think the title fits the film well. The Flying Classroom is mentioned so late into the movie that you keep asking yourself for over an hour why is this film named like that. I doubt, it gets mentioned equally late in Kästner's novel. Anyway, there are many great kids movies from Germany out tight now, many of them based on literature. This one is not among them. Not recommended.
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