When this movie hits theaters this fall it will be setting a new standard for digital FX photography action scenes. I had a hard time telling the difference between the real stunt flying and the CGI. It almost makes George Lucas’s dogfights in space look crude. (OK, maybe with the exception of that fantastic first shot in Episode 3.) But imagine that level of technological knowhow applied to a WW1 dogfight. And like the original “Star Wars” there is a scene here involving the German equivalent of the Death Star threatening Paris that is nothing short of spectacular. A shame, then, that the rest of the story is less than inspiring. Whatever the actual history, I didn’t quite believe the subplot of the black American pilot. He seemed a cliché and just one of several stock characters. The love story ultimately goes nowhere, either, though James Franco and Jennifer Decker both turn in moving performances. As innocent and naive as Franco and his friends seem, they never get past the cardboard stage. It would’ve been more interesting to me if they were a neurotic, drunken, whoring bunch of elitists, most of whom would then never get over the experience. Rather than tell that tale of a decadent, sophisticated flyboy of the Lafayette Escadrille, however, they settle here for the Disney version, appealing to the lowest common denominator and an audience of teenagers, with Franco doing a good job playing Luke Skywalker, or maybe Gary Cooper. Jean Reno seemed largely wasted. I kept hoping he’d have more to do. But lest you think I had a bad time, think again. This is a movie about “aeroplanes,” and they are all terrific, be they replicas or virtual. And the overall production design is superb.
Upload on Youtube