Written by Tiffany
Opened: October 23, 2009 | Runtime: 1 hr. 51 min.
PG: some sensuality, language, thematic elements and smoking.
The one thing I think everyone agrees on: Hilary Swank is a dead ringer for Amelia Earhart (no pun intended!) I mean, WOW! It’s almost eerie (and so appropriate for it’s pre-Halloween release!) I suppose she sounds just like her too, not that I am an expert on Amelia Earhart’s speech and dialect. But the cadence and lilt sounded “right”. Maybe it’s just from hearing her impersonated in so many movies over the years. Kind of how Elvis impersonators don’t really sound all that much like Elvis, but they do sound exactly like each other. My favorite, though, was Amy Adams as Amelia in Night in the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian! I kept wanting Hilary to say things were “jimmy-jacked” but she never did. Bit of a letdown, really. But I digress…
The aerial cinematography is breathtaking. If they were showing this in IMAX 3-D, this would have blown Soaring Over California right out of the water!! Spectacular! It will NOT look the same on your TV at home. Unless you’re like my friend who’s husband has installed a full size pull-down screen in their converted garage now actual “man cave”! Cause then, yeah, pretty much the same experience. But I’m guessing most normal people do not have access to this kind of near theater experience in their humble abodes and are like me, and watch it on their 13 inch in the bedroom with the door locked so the kids will give me like JUST 5 FREAKIN’ MINUTES OF PEACE ALREADY! GEEZ!!
Where was I? Ah, yes. Breathtaking. Spectacular. Cinematography credits may very well go to National Geographic or the Discovery Channel – they are THAT awesome! However…
That’s all the positive I have to say about the movie. The final sequence is exciting, but that’s it. I hate to say it, but the movie is fairly boring. It’s a historical drama, sanitized to be sure, though it doesn’t paint her in all rainbows and unicorns. But it’s close. It needed more grit and substance. I’ve seen more compelling documentaries on the History channel. It felt like the movie makers were relying too much on it’s stars to carry this one. Hilary Swank IS amazing. She’ll be an Oscar contender (again) for sure. But it also “felt” like an Oscar-vehicle for Swank, and I hate that. (Hello, Benjamin Button. Yes, I’m looking at you!)
I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that this next bit is NOT a spoiler. I don’t do spoilers, and I hate people who do. However, I’m assuming that everyone knows how this one ends. I brought my 8 year old son. He’s totally fascinated with airplanes and has been begging me to take him since he saw the first preview months ago. They read about Earhart in his class and he was completely familiar with the legend and legacy. In fact, about halfway through the movie, he asks if “this is where her plane disappears over the Atlantic?” (it’s the Pacific, but I didn’t bother to correct him as the answer was “no, not yet”.)
So, at the end of the movie (here’s the non-spoiler) when her plane is lost, my poor son just loses it. As Swank is doing this wonderful voice-over, they show the sky and for a minute it shows her plane (implying that she continues to soar, or her spirit will fly for ever, or some such “uplifting” type of thing) and then it fades again. Oh, when that plane showed again for a minute, my son actually said “LOOK MOM, SHE MADE IT!” And then when it faded, and he realized she really really didn’t, he put his face in my lap and LOST IT. Shuddering sobs. Oh, my poor baby. Even knowing the outcome, he really thought she was going to make it! That did settle one thing for me, there is no WAY he is watching Titanic!
My overall review: Looks great, but not enough substance. There’s nothing new here. Swank is fantastic, too bad they didn’t give her more to work with. Not a must-see.