Flightplan

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Flying Scrapyard.

Sep 28, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Jodie Foster

Cons:Not as good as Red Eye.

The Bottom Line: Not as bad as a turbulent flight from Texas to Hawaii.


It was Flightplan's bad luck that it got released almost a month to the day after Red Eye. If Flightplan had come out a year earlier, it might have passed as halfway decent entertainment. But coming in the wake of the superior film, Flightplan has its flaws severely magnified and that results in what might've otherwise been a generally good film crashing and burning. And crash and burn it does. The primary flaw in Flightplan is so obvious; it's not even worth mentioning now: if you've seen the trailer, you've seen the movie.

Most people have seen the trailer and thus know the basic premise of it. It's with Jodie Foster and it's almost like Breakdown in the air (Breakdown being that great 1997 thriller with Kurt Russell stranded in the middle of nowhere and forced to hunt for his wife). We expect the movie to actually deliver plenty of suspense and drama, much like the two aforementioned movies did. And it does deliver some of both. But not to the same extent and that succeeds in keeping the movie (just barely) out of first class.

Foster plays Kyle Pratt, a recently widowed mother living in Berlin. Her day job seems to be designing luxury airplanes such as the one that's the focal point of Flightplan. This plane is like the Titanic with wings as it's double decker, complete with Luxury levels. However we do not see it run into any flying icebergs, nor are the rich sent to one floor and the poor to another (thankfully, there is also no theme song from Celine Dion).

So Kyle and her daughter Julia need to transport the hubby's body back to the states with them. And they wind up flying on Air Titanic. Halfway through the flight, after taking a lengthy nap, Kyle wakes up and discovers that her daughter has vanished into thin air. Not only that. But there's no flight reservation for her. And her daughter isn't even on the reservation list!

From there we get to all of the major moments shown in the trailer (for those who haven't seen the trailer and still plan to see the movie, skip the rest of this paragraph). We see Foster wondering if perhaps she's insane. We see her (possibly) putting the flight in danger (or possible inconvenience). We feel a few moments of genuine suspense here and there. But it never quite reaches the same level that Red Eye did. And when the payoff finally arrives, we're left echoing the sentiments of the late Peggy Lee: Is that all there is? (I admit that that lyric can be applied to 90% of the 2005 summer-early fall movie fare)

As for Ms. Foster, I will say that she does well with what she has. Yet I wonder: Doesn't Hollywood have any roles for this woman other than women in danger? Silence of the Lambs is a classic sure. Panic Room was good. But come on here. Jodie made The Accused! She made the original (and still the best, sorry Ms. Lohan) Freaky Friday. In the supporting cast Peter Saarsgard and Sean Bean are fairly decent. However, when the villain is unmasked, it seems anticlimactic and the baddie is nowhere near as evil as Jackson Rippner in Red Eye.

Flightplan is not the worst airplane based thriller ever (that dishonor goes to the godawful Turbulence). Nor is it the worst movie of the past 6 months. It is however the most disappointing one this side of War of the Worlds. It's not one that will leave you feeling ripped off or make you walk out wanting your money back. But I can't recommend it when Red Eye is still in theaters. If you haven't seen that one, go see it. Flightplan is worth seeing when it hits the Blockbuster shelves. But it's more of a bag of peanuts, while Red Eye is a first class meal.


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