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PHOTOGRAPHY

FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX (2004)

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 113 minutes, audio commentary, extended scenes, deleted scenes (with optional commentary), The Phoenix Diaries (Making-Of Documentary), previews

STUDIO: 20th Century FOX

RELEASE DATE: 3-1-2005

ANALYSIS:   FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX has always been an interesting movie about a group of people who have to build a plane when their plane crashes out in the middle of the desert (with little or no hope of rescue). The movie had great actors (like James Stewart and Hardy Kruger) and an interesting script that held you to the very end. Almost 40 years later, they decided to remake it. The setting of the movie changed from the Sahara to the Gobi Desert The remake is very entertaining, but the acting still doesn't hold a candle to many of the performances in the original FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX. Giovanni Ribisi and Hugh Laurie are the two stand outs in the remake. Some of the remake is a little dumbed down, but I feel they should have left most or all of the extended scenes in the final movie.

VIDEO/AUDIO: FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX is presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. This is another great transfer by FOX. Image detail is stellar. Colors are warm and bright while blacks are good.

Even the audio never disappoints. You can hear the movie in English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 5.1 DTS, or French Dolby Surround with the option of English or Spanish subtitles. Dialogue can be heard, but you may want to turn up the volume if you don't have a 5.1 system to hear it loud enough. The music score makes the most out of the 5.1 while the sound effects are presented well too. Extended scenes are in English 5.1 DD while the deleted scenes are in English 2.0 Dolby.

SPECIAL FEATURES: An audio commentary track for the movie (with Director John Moore, Producers John Davis and Wyck Godfrey, and Production Designer Patrick Lumb) starts out as interesting, but it drags on as it seems like they're having a conversation with each other. You learn they found the plane for the remake in Wyoming (it was used for firefighting), a character's fate is changed right before they are to film his death scene, and some details about the production.

The extra that is superior to the commentary track is THE PHOENIX DIARIES, a 42 minute Making-Of-Documentary. It is one of the best Behind-The-Scenes documentary on a movie I have ever seen. THE PHOENIX DIARIES shows the director getting pissed off (and being happy when things go right), the actors doing press interviews, a look at how things are being set up, and the cast having fun during the production.

Also among the special features are four extended scenes (I think they should have kept the stuff cut out in the first three extended scenes) and two deleted scenes (with optional commentary by John Moore and Patrick Lumb). Also on the disc are previews (for Elektra, AVP, Taxi, and Flight of the Phoenix (2004))before the main menu that you can skip over with chapter advance.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Even though FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX was a bomb at the box office, it is least worth a rental since it is a very entertaining movie. If you like the remake, also watch the original starring James Stewart if you haven't seen it.

this DVD Review is (c)2-16-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia