Most movies starring A-list actors come out around the same time as their U.S. release, but when it came to Flight, it was released over here at the start of February just it was due for Blu-ray & DVD release across the pond, where it seen a country-wide cinema release three months earlier.
Flight is the one about Denzel Washington playing Captain William “Whip” Whitaker, a functioning alcholic and drug addict who, after a heavy night with air hostess, Trina (Nadine Velazquez), he takes to the sky in Southjet 227, a 9am flight to Atlanta, which suffers chronic mechanical failure along the way, making the plane head into an inescapable dive, except for Whip’s quick-thinking plan to flip the plane upside down and then back around before crash-landing in a field.
On the basis of it, he’s a hero for saving the lives of the crew & every passenger on board…
Simulation tests show later that no other pilot could’ve landed the plane and saved any lives, so they at least have him to thank for that. However, he still has the matter of his personal demons to deal with, and after waking up in hospital, he eventually meets with lawyer Hugh (Don Cheadle), who tells him that a toxicology report was carried out while he was spark out in the hospital… and it proved not only he was drunk, but also that he was high on cocaine. And if the authorities prove he caused the death of six individuals on the plane, instead of being the hero of the hour, he could go to jail for manslaughter.
Of course, we know that the fact the crash wasn’t his fault, it was down to the plane “falling apart”, as Whip describes it.
Whilst in hospital, he meets Nicole (Surrey-born Kelly Reilly), which is not a new idea – two drink/drug abusers finding common ground – and after setting that sub-plot up, you find it doesn’t really go anywhere.
When it comes to the cast, I still maintain that I don’t think Denzel Washington can act his way out of a paper bag; John Goodman turns up a couple of times as Harling Mays, Whip’s dealer; Don Cheadle is fine but doesn’t have anything too stretching to deal with here; and there’s precious little of Robert Zemeckis’ touches to set this apart from any other film.
Beyond a couple of minor twists and turns, not least with the plane, this is a fairly standard drama, but doesn’t particularly drag, so it has that in its favour. However, it runs for 138 minutes and really doesn’t need to last longer than two hours.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and looks stunning throughout, crisp, clear and colourful.
The sound is in DTS HD 5.1 and, realistically, the only action scene that gets to enjoy the experience comes early on with the plane crash. Beyond that, it’s a standard drama so don’t expect anything much in split-surrounds from then on, but the ambience, dialogue and everything basic is fine.
There’s only a few extras here, totalling less than an hour excluding the last one, and they are as follows:
- The origins of Flight (10.29): Screenwriter John Gatins tells us how he once met a pilot who was a grumpy bum, director Robert Zemeckis says he loves a great story and there’s other comments from Denzel Washington, Bruce Greenwood and others. Clips from the film are mixed in, but it’s too short a piece to be able to go into the film in any great detail.
- The Making of Flight (11.31): Similar to the previous extra, this is another puff piece that doesn’t make you feel fulfilled and mostly blows smoke up Denzel’s ass.
- Anatomy of a plane crash (7:46): I bet you can’t guess which part of the film this is about…
Pre-visualisation footage is shown alongside with the filming of the crash, which is, naturally, all set against green screen.
- Q&A Highlights (14:18): John Horn, from the Los Angeles Times, leads a Q&A session. Why highlights, though? Why not the full thing?
Also, while most of the key cast and crew are present, Denzel was ill so wasn’t there.
- Audio descriptive track: Does what it says on the tin.
The menu features clips from the film playing with the theme playing in the background. There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired, plus Danish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish.
Meanwhile, there are a few chapters more than the average title, at 15. A film this long needs twice as many, though.
Running time: 138 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Released: June 3rd 2013
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (English only), DD5.1: French and Italian
Languages: English, French and Italian
Subtitles: English and 7 other languages
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Redcode RAW (5K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Producers: Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes, Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey and Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: John Gatins
Music: Alan Silvestri
Whip Whitaker: Denzel Washington
Hugh Lang: Don Cheadle
Nicole: Kelly Reilly
Harling Mays: John Goodman
Ken Evans: Brian Geraghty
Katerina Marquez: Nadine Velazquez
Camelia Satou: Boni Yanagisawa
Margaret Thomason: Tamara Tunie
Kip: Conor O’Neill
Gaunt Young Man: James Badge Dale
Whip’s Dad: Timothy Adams
Deana: Garcelle Beauvais
Ellen Block: Melissa Leo
Tiki Pot: Charlie E Schmidt
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.