Living in the Age of Airplanes full movie review - Beautiful but lacking detail
This film is quite obviously a labour of love so it's hard to knock it.
Beautifully shot, wonderfully scored (by James Horner who was a pilot) and narrated with great feeling by Harrison Ford (who is a pilot as well), there is no doubting the commitment of everyone involved and it is hard not to get swept away with the stunning photography.
That said, the film has its flaws. Although it serves as a timely reminder of how far humanity has come in the last 100 years and how awesome (in the true sense of the word, not in the cheap way the word is used by millenials nowadays) airplanes are, it is very light on detail.
Suffice to say that the Wright brothers don't even get a mention. Nor are there any interviews with engineers, airplane manufacturers or historians. Too much of the film is spent showing us beautiful destinations you can go to by plane (tourist spots) instead of showing us planes and their engines while telling us minutiae about them.
The second issue is that the film is told through the rosiest of rosy tinted glasses. There is no mention of airplanes' use in warfare (from the First World War to 9/11), for example. Nor is there any mention of the dangers or downsides of airplanes, which is quite ironic seeing how Harrison Ford had to crash-land his private plane earlier this year and James Horner sadly died while piloting a plane a few days ago.
This film is therefore competent and beautiful to look at (especially on the big screen, which I had the pleasure of doing) but it's not sufficiently sophisticated. It serves as a great reflection on the airplane but not so much an education. I personally didn't learn anything that I didn't now about airplanes and I'm not a big airplane enthusiast.
Children will no doubt love it and have their interest in airplanes sparked but anyone looking for a meaty and informative documentary about airplanes will have to look elsewhere.