Flyboys Can't Seem To Take Us High Enough (Josh's Take)
by Josh Green
September 22, 2006
At the beginning of World War I, a group of young Americans volunteers for the Lafayette Escadrille, the French military's aerial combat squadron. Seems like the typical Hollywood war movie right? Flyboys seems to be one at its surface, but deep down it actually offers much more than the expected action sequences. The group of young Americans who decide to become the country's first fighter pilots is a diverse group, including a spoiled rich kid, a down on his luck farmer, and an African-American boxer. Throughout the course of the movie they must overcome not only their training and intense aerial battles, but also conflicts in their own trust and tragic losses amongst friends.
Flyboys succeeds in way that some recent films have not: it establishes a relationship between the characters within the film to a point where the audience actually cares about them. This aspect enhances the battle scenes on more than just an "eye candy" level. James Franco gives his best performance as Blaine Rawlings, the son of a farmer who has no family left. He provides a very likeable and heroic character in which the audience can relate to.
The aerial sequences in the film are outstanding. All of the tactics and flight movements were very realistic. Some of the cinematography is breathtaking, such as when we see planes fly only inches away from each other. There is also a ground battle that provides an accurate look at what trench warfare was really like in WWI.
Although I really enjoyed Flyboys, it could have been better. Flyboys is an interesting peak at what these young heroes went through in volunteering for a war in which America was not yet involved. However, there were multiple things that bothered me. Certain shots revealed some errors and some of the editing seemed off. I'm not trying to be picky, but if these tiny details had been fixed, Flyboys would be the best war film to come out since Saving Private Ryan. Instead, it feels like there are pieces missing from the storyline and certain elements of the movie generally don't mix well.
Flyboys is able to give us an enjoyable, but somewhat turbulent, flight through the heroic events of WWI. The film does offer a great amount of history and spectacular battle scenes. Enjoy Flyboys for what it is.
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