The Flight of the Phoenix

Release Date: December 17, 2004

 Don't forget the 'X'

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
28/133 Dan Krovich Surprisingly entertaining and effective
48/48 Les Winan The first half was terrible.
89/126 Kim Hollis Dumb and insipid. The action isn't bad, though.

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The Flight of the Phoenix is a remake of the 1965 film of the same name, which itself was based on a novel. The film tells the story of a group of oil workers returning from shutting down a derelict rig whose plane crashes in the middle of the Sahara during a sandstorm. Miles from anything remotely resembling civilization, with no hope of rescue and running out of food and, most importantly, water, the group of survivors attempts to construct a new plane from the wreckage of the original in hopes of flying out of the desert to safety. The jury-rigged plane is dubbed the Phoenix, after the mythical bird which rises from its own ashes.

This remake, like the original, will feature an ensemble cast, and judging from the first few names, it will be nearly as star-studded as the ’65 outing. One change that has already been affected, however, is to switch the location from the North African Sahara to the Mongolian Gobi Desert. Just exactly why this switch is being made isn’t clear, unless perhaps someone somewhere in the upper echelons decided the Sahara was a little too close to current hot-spots and therefore might either pose a threat to production or set up unwanted associations in the minds of the movie-going public, or both. There are also some hints that the whole oil-company motif may be eliminated, although what the devil the poor slobs would be doing flying over the Gobi Desert in the first place if they weren’t dealing with oil rigs is murky at best.

The most intriguing aspect of the story, of course, is the theme of people having to cooperate in order to survive. It’s a chestnut to be sure, but one that, if done properly, offers a wealth of opportunities to create a compelling look at the human spirit and our most heroic - and most base - impulses. A lot will depend, of course, on the cast and the chemistry between them, and the production is off to a good start here. The fall release is also a plus, as November/December has become a haven for more adult-themed films, especially those that will likely garner attention from the Academy. All in all, 20th Century Fox has what looks to be a nice little addition to its slate of films for late 2004, and one that could create a lot of Oscar buzz once it reaches theatres. (Stephanie Star Smith/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Flight of the Phoenix
Main Cast Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi
Supporting Cast Miranda Otto, Hugh Laurie
Director John Moore
Screenwriter Scott Frank, Elleston Trevor (novel)
Distributor Twentieth Century Fox
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Screen Count 2,604
Awards Awards page for The Flight of the Phoenix
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Flight of the Phoenix
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Black Hawk Down 1/18/0233.63 34.96 3101 10844.00 10844.0 108.58 112.89 3.17
Behind Enemy Lines 11/30/0119.20 20.49 2770 6931.00 7115.0 58.77 62.72 3.03
Frequency 4/28/009.03 10.10 2621 3445.00 3707.1 44.98 50.31 4.98
Alive * 1/15/938.62 12.55 1132 7615.00 10668.4 33.30 48.50 3.86



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