Monday, October 23, 2006

Flyboys: Great Flying Film!

I saw the recent World War I flying film Flyboys in a second-run theater yesterday, and I really liked it. Based on a true story, it follows a small group of young American men who volunteered in 1916 to fly with the French as members of the Lafayette Escadrille, before the US had entered the war. It has some of the most amazing aerial combat footage I have ever seen, a seamless and nearly dizzying blend of real aerobatic stunt flying and incredible computer generated digital effects. The script, atmosphere, and most of the acting are quite good as well, giving a good feel for what it must have been like to fly and fight in these underpowered and hard to control early airplanes.

Flyboys is the first film focused on WWI aerial combat in over 30 years. It was released on September 22 and doesn't appear to have done too well at the box office, sad to say. I'm glad I got to see it on a big screen but I'm also looking forward to the DVD release (1/1/2007) in hopes that it will include a good making-of special with behind the scenes material on the aerobatic flying. In the meantime there's a very interesting 62 page text-only document of production notes (PDF) available at the MGM web site. The picture above is not from the film - it's one I took in 2001 at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in New York - one of the few places where you can still see some of these WWI warbirds, many on the ground and a few in action.

No comments: