Dennis Quaid, Tyrese, Giovanni Ribisi, Miranda Otto, Tony Curran, Sticky Fingaz, Jacob Vargas, Scott Michael Campbell, Kevork Malikyan and Hugh Laurie

John Moore

Running Time:
113 mins

Out to buy on DVD 27/06/05

"We could make a new plane"


After closing an exploratory oil drilling station in the Mongolian desert, pilot Frank Towns (Quaid) is flying the crew of the rig back to civilisation when they are confronted by a huge sandstorm. Consumed by the storm, the plane is forced to make an emergency landing but the crash leads to loss of the radio antenna and the lives of three of the crew. The survivors find themselves stranded in the middle of the desert, one hundred miles from safety and no hope of rescue. Thinking everything is lost, one of the survivors comes up with a plan to build a new plane out of the wreckage.

Hollywood's lack of imagination continues as another remake flies onto the silver screen but can 'Flight of the Phoenix' update the 1965 original?

Trying to follow a movie that is considered a classic and starred Hollywood legends James Stewart and Richard Attenborough is always going to be a difficult task but this version of the film might not have the same star power but it is still quite entertaining. At its heart, 'Flight of the Phoenix' is a story about the enduring power of the human spirit and this is what drives both films, making it so watchable.

While you will know the names of many of the cast, there is no superstar here to hog the limelight and the film benefits from it. This is an ensemble cast with each character playing their part and nobody really have the lion share of the lines. The regeneration of Dennis Quaid's career continues as he steps into the extremely large shoes of James Stewart to play pilot Frank Towns. This is a good role for Quaid as he shows his leadership qualities as well as doubt the character feels about been rescued. Giovanni Ribisi is always an actor worth watching and as Elliott, the man who comes up with the plane-rebuilding plan, he creates a character that is both secretive and obsessed. Tyrese continues to move into movies and away from his music with only fine performance. His character doesn't really have a lot to do but he has a good screen presence that makes the role more noticeable. Miranda Otto leaves her 'Lord of the Rings' role behind her to make inroads into Hollywood with another good performance. As the lone female character, Kelly, you might have expected her to be the love interest for Quaid but she is a strong female character that has just as much to contribute to the situation as the men. There are also good performances from Hugh Laurie, Jacob Vargas and Tony Curran.

The crash sequence that sets the scene for the movie is spectacular. Performance and special effects combine to produce and exhilarating experience for the viewer. You feel like you are thrown into the sand storm along with the crew as the director and his team really raise the tension of the situation and the sheer peril of a plane crash.

You have to wonder why Hollywood can't come up with any new ideas lately and why they feel that they have to remake films that are already considered extremely good but 'Flight of the Phoenix' is still a good watch. It is the ensemble cast that make the movie more watchable than it could have been. The story about the will to survive is an enduring one and will keep you captivated while you wait to see if the Phoenix will actually fly.


Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, the movie is presented extremely well.


Commentary by John Moore, John Davis, Wyck Godfrey and Patrick Lamb
The director, producers and production designer come together to offer a very frank and informative commentary track for the big budget remake. While never really justifying why the film needed to be remade, the group do cover all aspects of the film production, talking about the Namibia location, the script changes and the cast. They also reveal how the desert shoot brought the cast and crew together, forging real friendship and making the cast a true ensemble. This is a good track that really takes you inside the making of a big budget movie.

The Phoenix Diaries (41.58 mins)
During the 28-day Namibia shoot, various members of the cast and crew were given video cameras to record their own experiences during the making of 'Flight of the Phoenix'. So instead of your usual collection of behind the scenes footage and staged, promotional interviews, this featurette gives you unrestricted and uncensored access to the production. Now we see the many of the hardships the cast and crew when through filming in an inhospitable place, the camaraderie between cast members and crew, how the stars hated the on set interviews with the press and the filming of many of the major sequences of the movie. This is a more honest account of the making of a major motion picture than you will ever see.

Extended Scenes (9.51 mins)
Entitled 'Biplane', 'No One gets left behind', 'After the storm' and 'Pursuit/Extended Ending', these are extended sequences from the movie that ended up on the cutting room floor. Strangely there is no commentary track companying these scenes, even though the deleted scene has one.

Deleted Scenes (4.55 mins)
With optional commentary by director John Moore and production designer Patrick Lamb, these two deleted scenes entitled 'After the crash' and 'We're drinking too much water' are well acted scenes but the commentary explains why they didn't make the final cut.

Previews of '24: Season 4', 'Elektra', 'House of Flying Daggers', 'Mr and Mrs Smith' and 'Kingdom of Heaven'


Fox has produced another good DVD that will really please fans of the movie. The commentary track and deleted/extended scenes are good but it is the excellent featurette that is the real gem of the disc, offering a fascinating look into the production of the film.


Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

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