Flight of the Phoenix (2004) Poster

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The politically correct version of the flight of the phoenix!
Graham Watson26 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Almost 40 years after the original the 2005 version shows how much the world has changed. To start off with there is a woman passenger in this film unlike the original where the only female was an exotic Arabian dancer (although a mirage). In this version the frail girl passenger is a foul-mouthed oil driller who wears the obligatory tank top and spandex pants once the boiler suit has been discarded.

In addition to this we have two black men, one who is the co-pilot. In the original the Mexican dies in the ill-fated march through the desert however in 2005 the Mexican survives. (The writers are probably sensitive to the many Mexicans who die trying to cross the Arizona and Texas border in hot conditions). In fact he defies almost certain death when the wing of the new construction collapses on top of him but survives. In 1965 the cocky Scotsman survives but in the 2005 the Scotsman perishes in the shoot out with the nomads. Interestingly, we are still aloud to use nomads as the cruel bad guys, again in the original it was the Arabs who were the barbarians, that won't cut today, so it's probably why outer Mongolia was chosen.

However, the writers slipped up with their choice of the anti-hero. In the original the blond hared blue eyed bespectacled trouble maker was a German called Dorfman, who menacingly portrayed the stereotype of Nazi arrogance and superiority who audiences back in 1965 (20 years after the war) could easily hate; yet he turned out to be the hero in the end.

To bring it up to date and really be politically correct they should have used a Muslim. We all could have hated him but then hailed him as a hero in the end too. All in all a pointless remake and for die-hard fans of the original they may have a hard time swallowing this one. The original, which is a longer movie, is superior in portraying the hopelessness of their predicament as well as the underlying tensions between the survivors. Cowardice and bravery are on show in the 1965 version, but in this one ---, just stupidity!
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ho-hum remake
Roland E. Zwick6 January 2005
"Flight of the Phoenix" is at best a so-so remake of the fine Robert Aldrich adventure classic from1965. The plot in both films is fairly simple and straightforward. After a plane crash lands in the Gobi Desert, the survivors hit upon the notion of rebuilding the damaged vehicle in the hopes of flying it back to civilization. Dennis Quaid assumes the role, originally filled by Jimmy Stewart, of the pilot who, against all odds, endeavors to lead his passengers to safety.

Although the new version follows the original fairly closely in terms of both character delineation and plot development, the story doesn't seem quite as fresh today as it did when we first encountered it close to 40 years ago. Perhaps what's missing is the guiding hand of a master craftsman like Aldrich to really deliver the goods (John Moore, a far less distinguished director, is manning the controls here). This "Flight" feels awfully predictable and rote, as we plow our way through each of the various survival threats, rescue attempts and internecine personal conflicts that are standard in all such tales of survivors stranded in a hostile environment. Each of the characters steps out of the shadows to have his or her own Moment in the Sun (yes, in this version, there is actually a woman aboard), before receding dutifully into the background to allow the next person to do the same. About the only intriguing element in the story is the fact that the main character, the pilot of the plane, has to actually be talked into participating in the Quixotic rescue plan. Thus, he is a leader and a hero more by default than by design.

Although the crash itself is fairly impressive from a technical standpoint - despite a rather phony-looking, computer-generated sandstorm that brings the plane down - once we end up on the desert floor, the movie doesn't do a particularly effective job conveying the truly grueling nature of the predicament these individuals are facing. We never really get the sense that they are just a few water droplets away from dying of thirst or heatstroke. Moreover, the feat that they are able to accomplish seems barely credible - from a sheer mechanical engineering standpoint - given the lack of resources and expertise with which the group has to cope. The main weakness with a film like "Flight of the Phoenix" is that, when the plane goes down, we're stuck in the desert right along with the characters, and if they don't have anything particularly interesting to say to one another, we can feel just as stranded as they.

Thus, despite a few quality moments, this "Flight" never manages to get off the runway. Check out the original instead.
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The Flight of the Repeat
thinker169112 October 2006
Comparing this new version to the original would be comparing a farm horse to a thoroughbred from the Kentucky Derby. This version has new actors filling the shoes of established characters, and yet none have the quality to hold the story on course, causing it to crash like their airplane. The original had James Stewart and Richard Attenborough, both with performances worthy of academy awards and established the foundations of a true classic. In addition, the rest of the cast stood of themselves and even Ronald Fraser gave a most stirring performance as Sgt. Watson. Superior veteran actors like Peter Finch, Hardy Krüger, Ernest Borgnine, Ian Bannen, Christian Marquand, Dan Duryea and George Kennedy, all gave the original solid star power and allowed the Phonix to rise from the screen into the memory of it's viewers. This new version has Dennis Quaid as Frank Townes, sympathetic enough, but far less convincing of his character. All in all, the new version falls, like most remakes, well short of the original. Sorry, but this film should have been left in the desert with the remains of the fallen airplane. **
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Woeful - many factual and logical errors
frisbie-319 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Here's just a few things that make no sense...

1. They fly out of a mine site in Mongolia (Gobi desert - frozen high altitude wastelands). But they crash in a hot sandy desert that looks pretty much like the Sahara where they are all running around in short sleeves. How did that happen? They flew from central Asia to Africa? The Gobi just got 40 degrees hotter with a whole lot of sand? 2. Aeronautical dude says the plane is overweight. If that's so, how did it get out of a high altitude airfield in the fist place? And it didn't just creep off the ground if ripped into the air at a ridiculous rate of climb.

3. Last night when the new plane is ready, it gets completely buried in a sand storm, except for the tail. Damn! What a sandstorm. A whole plane buried in one night. But even more amazing, they dig it out in one day using only one shovel. So that's say .... a couple of thousand tons of sand? And that's not even counting the runway, which presumably would have been buried too.

4. They decide to earth the plane in an electrical storm. Well that would make it a brilliant path to ground for an electric strike, ensuring that it gets completely destroyed. Passenger jets get struck by lighting quite often but they always survive because the lighting doesn't have a path to earth through the jet. Grounding of planes is to prevent static discharge during fuelling, not to dissipate a lighting strike.

5. The petrol cans explode when some sparks drift onto them. Don't they always on Hollywood? (dangerous part of the world). Petrol does not explode unless it is in the exact ratio of 14.7:1 with air. That's why cars need a carburettor. Otherwise, it just burns. Anyway setting fire to the spillage on the outside of a can won't make the contents inside it burn, let alone explode.

6. An exploration site gets shut down, but the workers don't know until some some dickhead pilot turns and up says he's there to take them home? Yeh, right, that would happen.

Tons of other unbelievable nonsense. Not worth spending any more time to write about it. I got ripped off with this DVD. Worst movie in years.
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What a waste of time!
Dan-17920 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
If you are planning to see this movie, don't bother. It's a poor remake of a very good old movie. As a pilot, and from a pilot's point of view, the crash scene was completely unbelievable. If you aren't a pilot, you may enjoy the crash scenes, but I can tell you that the plane would have been in tiny pieces before it ever hit the ground. Once it hit the first sand dune, it would have broken up into small chunks after the first ground strike.

The interaction between the actors was forced, and never really developed.

The most unbelievable part came when yet another! freak sand storm comes up and the Phoenix is sitting on the sand and starts to lift up as if ready to fly. A few moments later, you see the fuselage of the original plane rolled over by the wind. Yet, the Phoenix doesn't get blown away (even though it's got wings (the fuselage doesn't)) and it's trying to fly as the wind picks up.

Next, we see our heroes sitting on the sand and the Phoenix is almost completely buried but the sand blown around by the sand storm.

Quite dramatically, the decision is made to dig the plane out of the sand. Give thought to trying to dig a 2 bedroom house out of a 10 foot drift of sand after spending a week or two in the desert with little or no water, a few cans of peaches and you have an idea of the task facing our heroes. To get an idea, just go out in your yard and dig a hole 2 feet deep and 2 feet square. It will take you a LONG time to do it. Imagine doing it under the conditions described above! Yeah, right! The next scene shows the Phoenix dramatically out of the sand, clean and undamaged, and ready to fly! Once again, yeah, right.

Finally, our heroes get the plane started with a hoard of Mongolian Marauders chasing them into flight. Of course, there is the perfunctory scene when a cable to the rudder is shot away by automatic rifle fire and the engineer has to climb back on the fuselage to dramatically fix it while keeping from falling off or getting shot by the hoard of horsemen. Ho hum.

And, of course, we all fly off into the sunset.

Get a copy of the Jimmy Stewart version. A much better film.
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An enjoyable movie with some great style, but ultimately Hollywood.
Richard Brunton9 November 2005
I've not seen the original, before you ask, but I do know of it, and quite frankly I'm sick fed up of remakes. Yet there was something that attracted me to this story, the cast was one. A nice multi-national crew featuring Dennis Quaid, Hugh Laurie and Tony Curran, and the fact that it's a very simple story with nothing other than desert and cast to deal with. It kind of gave me the feeling of a slightly larger Ice Cold in Alex.

Unfortunately I was watching it on Sky and at my parents, that means no surround sound and the picture was cropped, damn Sky. However we didn't seem to lose much of the feel of the movie.

The cinematography value here is high. The movie looks great, it does seem as though they have high production values. The opening sequences with the plane flying over sand dunes are superb, and then when it hits the storm the effects are excellent and it's at that point the action really kicks in, before that we were introduced to the varied multi-national characters and their initial roles. The crash sequence is well filmed and edited and builds the tension superbly, all the shots here are believable, and have you on the edge of your seat. After this the action really dies down for most of the movie, only restarting at the end, when the believability also flies out the window in favour of Hollywood action.

Quaid is very good in this movie, an actor who I wish we really did see more of. The rest of the cast is an interesting ensemble from Curran to Kevork Malikyan, and it works well. I know that when I see a lone Scotsman in a movie it usually grates like hell with me, partly because they are usually played by Americans, but also because it just doesn't seem to fit, here it does because the entire cast is a mishmash of people. It really does feel like a group of remote oil workers.

The plane designer, played by Giovanni Ribisi is a terrible character, slimy, loathsome, and someone that you would expect to be a serial killer. Ribisi plays him really well, and through the movie the tension is built in a series of near clashes between characters, until the final clash which turns into a satisfying climax for the character and the movie.

Disappointingly the ending is very formulaic and makes all the Hollywood bells and buzzers flash and bleep, therefore making the Studios and their misinformed test screenings happy. Through the movie a band of vicious Nomads are mentioned, and a small clash occurs between some characters and a Nomad scouting party, but apart from this they are pretty much useless and are merely a very poor tension building device. This is surprising when the rest of the tension building moments are so much better formed.

That said, there are some idiotic moments where you just cannot believe the characters and the decisions they are making, never mind some of the outcomes. My father was almost shouting at the screen in despair.

All said it is an entertaining and effective movie, just suspend your disbelief concerning the reality of the situation after the crash, and grit your teeth through the Hollywood ending, and you've got yourself a good movie.
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No comparison to the original movie
spiro-1220 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In the original movie Hardy Kruger commented to Jimmy Stewart something to the effect that "the only thing outstanding about you is your stupidity". Interestingly enough in the remake, stupidity seems be the only thing that "outstanding".

I have been on foreign oil drilling assignments and can guarantee you that you would never see a woman anywhere near a drill rig. As a matter of fact, the same thing applies in the US. Women just do not work as roughnecks. You do see women engineers and professionals, but never as workers.

The remake is just plain lame and an excellent example of "corporate" creativity trying to milk a good story just one more time.
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Not as Good as the Original
adekwoz16 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This remake of the 1960's Flight of the Phoenix is very unsatisfying. The character development is not as rich as the the James Stewart version. Dennis Quaid simply did not portray the depth of emotion that James Stewart did in the original. Giovani Ribli was good as the model plane designer but again he didn't get enough scenes and Harvey Kruger's portrayal had a lot more edge. Also missing was the Richard Attenborough character who keeps the Phoenix project going. His role was combined in the characters of several of the cast in the remake.

Now, I am not saying this is a bad film. I view it as a companion piece to the original. The special effects were awesome. Being trapped in the Gobi or Sahara (as in the original) was more meaningful to me when I saw the vast desolation of the desert in this remake. See the original Phoenix for its wonderful character study and see the remake for it's special effects and you have one fabulous picture. The original Phoenix stands on its own. My recommendation is see the original and then view the remake.
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From the ashes
jotix1009 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This remake of the more successful 1965 film of the same title was shown on cable recently. We were curious as to how the great screen play by Lukas Heller had been adapted by Scott Frank. The film, directed by John Moore, has taken the action from the Sahara to the Gobi desert. The result is a thriller that has some good moments, but in the end, doesn't improve in the better made earlier film.

The scene for this new version takes us to a remote spot in Mongolia where a woman engineer, Kelly, and her crew, are evacuated because the company she works for decides there is no oil to be found in that remote spot. Next, we watch as an aircraft piloted by Frank Towns, arrives to take everybody to Shanghai, China. A mysterious man, Elliott, who doesn't have anything to do with the oil company, comes along for the flight to China.

On the way, the plane suffers an accident caused by the terrible sand storm affecting the region. They land on the desert with only minor casualties. The aircraft seems to be out of commission, but Elliott, who tells the stranded passengers that the plane could be rebuilt, gets to act as the leader of the whole operation. In fact, he is an engineer who knows how to do it. Since they have the proper tools they begin to transform the wrecked cargo plane into something that resembles a toy model, which Elliott promises will fly. Little prepares us for what really turns out to be Elliott's real job.

The film has some moments, but the direction doesn't take it anywhere. The cast does what it can with the material they have been given. Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi, are seen as Capt. Towns and Elliott. Miranda Otto, a good actress, plays Kelly, who didn't exist in the early version.

Seen as a curiosity, it will entertain, but for a better take on the same subject, a look at the former version will be more satisfying.
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A classic example of how NOT to do a remake.
innocuous9 January 2005
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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So many flaws
missouriman2521 December 2004
Do not waste your money. This remake is extremely flawed, and my child could have done a better editing job. For the first 10 minutes, I thought it was fantastic. But, once the plane wrecked and came to a complete stop, so did the movie. The other IMDb threads cover the flaws, so I won't repeat. Rcristia's entry contains just a sampling of the many annoyances and distractions.

If I were forced at gunpoint to find something positive about the movie, it would be Giovanni Ribisi. Excellent, funny, worth a $1 video rental just to see him.

On the other hand, Dennis Quaid, who I really enjoyed in Frequency, Far from Home, and The Rookie, sucked. Especially during the flight in the sand storm, when I would think a pilot would be at least a little apprehensive, he delivered his lines as though he were taking a leisurely Sunday drive in the country.
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Mediocre remake
Wuchak15 August 2012
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.

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A good film!
Sherazade1 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A plane that was sent to go relieve workers on a site that wasn't yielding any benefit results crash lands in the desert on it's return trip. Slowly but surely each and everybody that was on the plane (those who survived anyway) begin to realise that this was some sort of sabotage mission and therefore begin to band together in order to survive. The ones who refuse to band together find themselves on the wrong side of the desert when they come face to face with tribal rebels which as you know can only result in war torn death battles. Giovanni Ribisi stars as a very frightful passenger who claims that he can redesign the plane (if the other passengers help build it) and get it flying again. It's amazing to see the scenes in which they struggle to keep the food supply and fight over every little drop of water that isn't accounted for. Dennis Quaid plays an angst ridden captain and Tyrese Gibson (in yet another riveting performance as an actor) plays his co-pilot. The most stunning scenes are however stolen by Ribisi who will have you at the edge of your seat with his eccentric and volatile behaviour. Give this man an Oscar already! He deserves it!
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Lifeless in the sand
Tirogesflair18 September 2006
An instantly forgettable - a film that rewards no one with renewed viewings. I got the impression no one cared about this film - certainly not the actors and all the tech stuff was thrown away . So how do you build a plane out of a crashed one ? That bit was skimped over but if so, where was the film's plot ? There was no love interest, no real threat (except at the end when the 'Nomads' lined up on a horizon in the way I think I have seen in many Westerns). Everyone phoned in a performance on this movie and it should have been scrapped on the runway.

I trust everyone will be tempted to see the original 1965 film.
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directors from hell
Ashlevine21 December 2004
The characters and relationships in this film are dumbed down to fit today's standards of superficiality in adventure films, blunting the tension of the original and leaving little of its nuance. Quaid plays Frank Towns, a jaded pilot ferrying oil workers in his ratty cargo craft. Frank and co-pilot AJ (Tyrese Gibson) encounter a sandstorm so ridiculously monstrous.The plane's radio antenna is sheared off and the craft goes down hundreds of miles off course, leaving the survivors no way to call for help. Passenger Elliott (Giovanni Ribisi), an aircraft designer, initially draws Frank's scorn when he suggests they can build a new plane from the wreckage of the old and fly to safety. There are occasional moments of real kinship among members of the disparate group, but the overall dynamic shallowly flits from antagonism to camaraderie and back with jarring abruptness. One minute, they all hate each other, the next, they're devoted chums. As if surviving a crash, struggling to stay alive and constructing a new plane were not drama enough, the group is needlessly menaced by smugglers on horseback. These desert rats winds up a big distraction to the movie's climactic action.
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Second version of the Robert Aldrich's classic with spectacular crashing on the desert
ma-cortes14 December 2005
The picture deals upon a varied bunch aboard airplane after locking-out an oil rig . The group is formed by an obstinate pilot (Dennis Quaid), a navigator pilot (Tyrese Gibson) and the passengers crew (Hugh Laurie, Miranda Otto , Jacob Vargas , Giovanni Rivisi..). The airplane crashes on desert of Mongolia (in first version was Sahara) and they must survive and hold numerous risks , odds , dangers , hardships and try to rebuild their aircraft from the wreckage in order to prevent the suffering caused for hostile elements : sandstorms , burn sun and Mongolian enemies. Misfortunes on desert atmosphere filling one with revulsion for the conditions in that unlucky are forced to exist stranded at uninhabited place : famine , warming , thirsty , bandits (in this adaptation have more importance than the first) and taking on themselves .

Movie is a thoughtful change about the Hollywood screenplay of the plane that crashes in far countries as : ¨Alive : Miracle of the Andes¨ or ¨Airport¨ series . The film is based on Lukas Heller novel and screenwriter is the actor Edward Burns . It's an intelligent and dramatic movie developing the narration about the plane construction of riveting manner and with a semi-male star-studded , exception of the enticing Miranda Otto but in the original adaptation was totally masculine . Dennis Quaid acting as a stubborn pilot is nice although he doesn't reach to James Stewart who was greatest but he feels embittered considering himself guilty of the accident for his error . Tyrese Gibson as navigator is cool but in same role Richard Attemborough was better as a boozy alcoholic co-pilot . Giovanni Rivisi interpretation is first-rate but he copies the terrific playing by Hardy Kruger and imitates even the physical , bleaching the hair . Other secondary cast : Hugh Laurie , Jacob Vargas , Scott Campbell , Tony Curran , all of them are very fine . Sensational music score by Marco Beltrani. Motion picture was rightly directed by John Moore , though with no originality .
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Dreadful Rubbish
patcal24 July 2006
Possibly the worst film I've ever seen. The direction was lousy with the film just lurching haphazardly from one scene to another. The script must have been the most banal I've heard and can't have been written by a fully grown adult. The music was appalling and totally inappropriate and intrusive. The absolutely rubbish "songs" were even more inappropriate and intrusive. There wasn't one moment when I felt that the actors were remotely interested. The female part, thrown in as usual for politically correct reasons, was as excruciating as it gets. The manner in which the old plane was turned into the new plane was the equivalent of the "loaves and the fishes" topped only by the sudden transformation from the finished product being buried in the sand to being in pristine condition and lined up to fly very shortly afterwards. I've always believed in the magic of the movies but for sheer awfulness this travesty of a film takes the biscuit. It doesn't deserve even 1 but 0 is not allowed by the system.
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What a waste
backseat-221 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
The original Flight of the Phoenix is a classic film for many good reasons. The people who have remade it in 2004 have mostly failed to understand those reasons and have made a disappointing movie where a very good one should have been easily within their grasp.

My first complaint is the general dumbing down of the plot elements. The story line is pretty much intact, but the writers obviously are either stupid themselves or believe that the viewers are.

Second, even while the story is dumbed down, the film makers have failed to present some basic points in ways that were clearly dealt with in the original. For example, the initial mysterious and unexplained shot of the starter cartridge for the motor, while an otherwise normal takeoff is performed (this would be a good time for them to explain how these old engines often needed to be started using modified shotgun style explosives), then later when the engine of the Phoenix is started, their use is not really made clear. People were leaving the theater asking what happened to the shotgun shells. How dumb of the film makers to screw things like this up so badly.

Third, the disaster level is sensationalized to a point far beyond reason. A simple sand storm in the original was plenty effective, and suitably scary, to bring the plane down in the desert. Here, they have to whip up such a stupendous storm that you'd think the world was coming to an end. Also, the plane gets buried in sand twice; this is stupid because the work involved dwarfs the work of making a new plane (which should be the focus of the movie), and because when they dig the plane out they also seem to have dug out all of the surrounding desert as well. This is just god-awful stupid. And when the Phoenix is taking off, a character gets to crawl out on the tail to splice a broken cable (as if just getting it off the ground was not exciting enough), which would be pretty much impossible just down wind from the prop wash on a plane that is at take-off speed. Furthermore, piloting such a contraption should take all of a pilot's attention, but here everyone is high-fiving, goofing around and generally NOT PAYING ATTENTION the moment that the plane lifts off. Insanely stupid! What did they get right? Well, they obviously made a study of key plot points and made sure they had them in the new movie as well, even while they failed at everything else around. They got the interaction between the pilot and the designer right, the bit about special water usage, the alarming "one blast to clear out the cylinders", the point where the pilot has to concede that he is no longer in charge in order to keep the designer happy. The plane, both before and after the crash, look great.

What else could they have done away with and simultaneously improved the movie? Well, the local bandits were a distraction; the original movie barely had the local Arabs, and it was not a major plot point. They could really have left out the jerkily (albeit currently trendy) missing-frame editing in the 'exciting' spots. And they could have certainly left out the distracting and irritating rock sound track (movie soundtracks are supposed to heighten the emotions or otherwise add something, NOT call attention to themselves). And having the plane fall into a canyon only to swoop out at high-Gs was another ill-conceived addition.

My only hope is that people will go see this one, and in the course of doing so will hear that there is a much better version out there from 1965 IN WHICH THEY FLEW THE PHOENIX WITHOUT SPECIAL EFFECTS (OK, so it crashed later), then will rent or buy the excellent original and be re-introduced to a real classic.
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Terrible Remake, Watch The Original
christian12319 March 2005
Flight of the Phoenix is a boring and predictable film and as a remake its far from the original in terms of quality. The crash of an airplane in the Mongolian desert forces the captain (Dennis Quaid) and his passengers—a crew of laid-off oil workers--to band together behind a mysterious stranger (Giovanni Ribisi) to rebuild a new plane out of the parts from the wreck while fighting off sandstorms and desert smugglers. The plot sounds okay and with a decent cast this could have been a decent movie. Unfortunately they take a classic film and ruin it. The original had a lot of suspense and entertaining moments, but the remake is very predictable and has little to no entertaining scenes. The dialog is lame and the action is okay but nothing special. If you have seen the trailer then you have seen the film as they spoil the ending for you and pretty much everything else. The acting isn't that good either as Dennis Quaids performance is pretty lifeless. The characters are all boring as they are no interesting people and I started not to care about them. The ending is ridiculous and it also leaves a few unanswered questions. The direction is okay but the film is still pretty bad. Rating 3/10, there's very little reason to see this film and I recommend you skip this and rent the original.
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Phoenix Crashes and Burns
hannibal wolff19 December 2004
Another unnecessary remake of an OK film from the 60's starring Jimmy Stewart . When will Hollywood stop remaking marginal films ? Just because they own the rights to a particular property is not a green-light to go ahead and try and remake it . Alas Denny Quaid is no Jimmy and as the film is centered on his character there is very little movement or forward momentum . They crash! and Giovanni Ribisi is an engineer with the idea to re-build the airplane and fly it out after hanging in the shadows for a large part of the movie . There is a woman in the cast this time who is totally unnecessary to the plot the original was an all male cast . There is sand,lots of it,and a bunch of desert dwellers who appear to menace the crew . Save your ducats and see something else . 1 of 5 stars for Phoenix
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A big disappointment
Greg19 December 2004
Back in 1964, Robert Aldrich stranded James Stewart, Richard Attenborough and Peter Finch in the desert after their plane crashed in the film Flight of the Phoenix. The movie was about a group of unluckies that band together to rebuild a new plane from the working parts of the wreckage. The film was fairly well done for its time and even grabbed two Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Ian Bannen) and Best Film Editing.

But were we really lobbying for a remake? Was there a demand or a group of picket sign wielding stampeders outside the studio office demanding that an update be greenlit?

Who knows? What we do know is that some 40 years later, fairly untested director John Moore was given a hefty budget to remake the film appropriately named, Flight of the Phoenix. Surprisingly however is that the film was a remake in almost every sense. With the exception of the plane crash (to which I give credit as being one of the best ever filmed) the movie updates the language, but everything else is relatively the same. Where in the original, there was such laughable dialogue as 'Mr. Towns, you behave as if stupidity were a virtue.', in the remake we get equally giggle generating script excerpts as, 'I think a bee stung going in your big dumb ass.' Hmmmm. Updated indeed.

If a remake is suppose to be bigger, badder and louder, I suppose Flight of the Phoenix 2004 fits the bill. But you can also add stupider to the mix since the writers decided not to spend any time in developing characters outside of the 40 year old script (that is unless you consider the crew dancing in the face of death to Outkasts' Hey Ya in a ridiculous MTV moment). And that is very irritating.

We had four decades to fix the kinks and iron out the wrinkles to make a superior film of what is an interesting concept. Instead we get cliché after cliché and improbable situations that are laughable to today's audiences. What do I mean as laughable, you say? Well, how about an electrical storm that ends as soon as it hits the only thing that is important to the survivors. Or how about a group of nomads that can attack at any time, but wait until the exact second that the newly built plane decides to take off.. I can go on, but what's the point.

Flight of the Phoenix was a major disappointment to the holiday theatre going experience.

Change that. Flight of the Phoenix was a major annoyance during the holiday theatre going experience.

Where psychologists agree that hostages and their captors develop a bond over a period of time, it is evident in this circumstance that people in need of each other for survival will begin to fight over petty trivialities if not dancing to the latest pop hit on the radio. All this did was leave me to care nothing about any of the characters and I couldn't give a rats ass whether they survived or not.

Flight of the Phoenix therefore falls in the same category as Get Carter, Sabrina, The Jackal., as films that were just mediocre when released decades ago and are amazingly given more of a disservice in the remakes for the new MTV generation. We didn't ask for a Phoenix remake and frankly, my life is worse off because of it. And for that. I give it one and half stars, not even enough juice to get it off the tarmac.

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Failed to Deliver to Such Great Possibilities
Phroday20 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
****SPOILERS**** Based solely on its own merits; meaning that I am discounting the fact that it is a remake and viewing it on its own plot, story, characters and direction; This movie was awful. The premise began well, alongside interesting film work involving great shutter and simple fast flash effects, the movie stood to be interesting. The characters were all introduced well and most showed promise for future plot. Sadly, it all ended there. The characters remained vacant with plenty of time for actual development. Also, a female lead was prodded into the realm of a Quaid love interest, but just as most things did in this movie, it died before the development phase began. While I am a fan of Giovanni Ribisi, his character was overwritten and overplayed as a stereotypical uber-geek which would have been acceptable if more history had been plugged into the role. He just wandered onto the oil site on vacation? It makes little sense as the place is in the middle of a massive dessert. This point also leads to the so called "Amazing Plot Twist." He doesn't design planes, he designs SCALE PLANES!!! Oh good god, all hope was lost. That was barely a twist, it wasn't even a waltz. Then the final insult to injury, this movie goes from a possible psychological thriller (pitting minds against one another in a struggle for survival) to a pitiful action film with the lack of character and conflict development and the addition of the conflict with the Mongolian Nomads. All this side of the story served was for added pressure to get the plane off the ground, as if there wasn't enough with the looming dehydration that was heavily played through the entire story. All in all, this movie fails to stand up to its potential. Weak acting for most of the cast. Poor character development. Unneeded villain additions. An unimpressive plot "twist." I give this movie a 3 out of 10.
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Look the Original
tomberlin5514 March 2005
OK, the visual effects are nice, the setting in the Gobi dessert is interesting but the rest... Look the original form 1965 (the year i was born). Each character had a personality, there were so many conflicts between the survivors. They were starving not only talking about it. Also the building of the plane was more detailed. The worst character is the plane designer. Shooting a prisoner for a "normal" guy is very out of bounds, why is this guy acting so crazy? Hardy Krüger in the original was so believable! Dennis Quade is a good actor but not comparable to Jimmy Stewart. People who don't know the original might find it a good movie.
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Enjoyable and Dramatic
Allie (MuskratPower14)30 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
AT first look, you wouldn't think much of this movie. It is, after all, a remake, and remakes and sequels rarely do as good as the original-with the exception of Spiderman 2 and Shrek 2, and some others. But i think this movie did a fine job balancing the new actors in the same storyline. The story is about a group of oil drillers, who after their company is shut down, has to be flown out. En route, the plane encounters a storm and crashes in the desert-miles away from civilization. Giovanni Ribisi gives an awesome performance as Elliot, the passenger who has a plan to rebuild a new plane out of the wreckage of the old one, using only what they brought with them. Dennis Quiad also does a good job portraying Captain Towns, the pilot. His character is the one everyone looks to after the plane crashes, and although uneasy about everyone looking to him, manages to get them out safely. The twist in the movie is 40 yrs old, but when it is finally revealed in the film the actors do a great job reacting to it. Flight of the Phoenix did have some flaws, like the layout of the Gobi desert and the damage to the plane, but all in all i would give it a 7.5 out of 10. I would also recommend the original-just so you could see the background of how the movie was made in the past.
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As Good If Not Better Than Original
homeopt20 March 2005
Most movie geeks have an obsessive need to denigrate remakes of so-called classics. Usually it's done out of knee-jerk response against Hollywood but it's truly odd when they defend movies like the original version which had already been discarded (rightly so) in the trashpile of mediocre B movies.

This version sets out to do exactly what the original did -- entertain. It is not a platform for Academy Award nominations, neither was the original. And it does entertain. I never felt bored watching this movie. The special effects were well done and the cast was well put together giving us a true mix of ethnicities and characters, unlike the original.
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