Flyboys tells the story of the Lafayette Escadrille, a French air squadron created before America’s entry into World War I. Although created in France, many of its volunteer pilots were American and, as a result, gave way to the first American fighter pilots. The movie goes into a little history behind the squadron – the battles fought and how the squadron was characterized – but nothing too in depth. Set in 1916 France, Flyboys is entertaining primarily because of the aerial fight scenes. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to this movie to learn more about the realities of the Lafayette Escadrille, you should look elsewhere. History buffs will probably feel that the movie is lacking since it does sacrifice historical details to make way for elaborate (and impressive) action scenes. James Franco, Scott Hazell, Mac McDonald, and Philip Winchester star in the ensemble cast.
Commentary by director Tony Bill and producer Dean Devlin
The promotional DVD of Flyboys only has the above listed as its Extra features. Based on those Extras alone, the DVD receives a poor score in this category because the trailers act as filler and the commentary is boring. However, Amazon.com lists several other Extras including short documentaries, deleted scenes, and a mini stunt pilot feature. Hopefully, those are a little bit better than what I had to review.
For someone who doesn’t know much about the history of the Lafayette Escadrille, Flyboys was very entertaining and even informative. If not for movies that have good-looking actors, a big budget, and creators who want to blow things up, some of us wouldn’t even know about world history. The action sequences were more interesting than the actual story of the film – not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but it was enough to keep you interested in watching. All in all, this is an enjoyable film that will not disappoint as long as you are not expecting it to be a historical documentary on the squadron.
This is a debatable movie when it comes to its lasting factor. What it has going for it are the special effects and maybe performances by the cast. However, we all know a handful of action movies with great special effects and performances. It’s a tough call, but Flyboys does earn more than one viewing, but it wouldn’t be my first choice to watch over again.
AUDIO & VIDEO QUALITY
The movie is offered in widescreen format with Spanish and English subtitles. Audio tracks are in DTS 5.1 (English) and Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French and Spanish). The aerial scenes look fantastic with the widescreen format – definitely a solid rating when it comes to audio and video quality.
Flyboys follows the same pattern as other action/war movies. At certain points, it even felt like watching Top Gun – just set in France and nearly a hundred years ago. The movie doesn’t have much to offer in the way of storyline because we’ve seen it all before and there were no twists to the formula whatsoever. Again, the special effects are the most impressive and original thing about the movie. Everything else is predictable and only mildly engaging.
This DVD is definitely worth renting and if you really enjoy it then it’s worth the buy too. Again, the historians out there will probably be disappointed, but if you are into action movies this is worth considering on a night in. The movie is rated PG-13 and isn’t a gory war movie – the kids will probably get a kick out of seeing the fighter planes whiz around just as much as the adults.