Monday, April 12, 2010

Airport '77

Year 2, Day 101 - 4/11/10 - Movie #466

BEFORE: Seems like this disaster film will neatly combine my fear of flying with my fear of drowning...

THE PLOT: Art thieves hijack a 747, hit fog and crash into the ocean, trapping them and the passengers under 100 feet of water.

AFTER: OK, that does it - I'm calling for a nationwide boycott of all airplane travel until the airlines can guarantee my safety. True to form, there was an actual plane crash this weekend, and now the government of Poland has been thrown into chaos. If we all band together, and stop flying in unsafe planes, we can bankrupt the airlines, and everyone can go back to safer modes of travel, like trains and horse-drawn carriages.

Jack Lemmon stars as the pilot of the troubled airplane this time, and for once the pilot doesn't bite the big one in the first act of the film - he just gets knocked unconscious by some art thieves, who then proceed to crash the plane into the ocean. Can the navy locate the plane and rescue the passengers before the fuselage breaks and the plane floods? Hey, it's like "Poseidon Adventure", but with a plane!

The movie depicts the plane sinking in a matter of minutes, but as we saw last year when that pilot performed an emergency landing on the Hudson River, a plane full of air, assuming it's intact after a water landing, would actually float for a while.

The special effects in this series didn't improve all that much - the plane seen hitting the ocean is quite obviously a small model plane, probably with the film slowed down to give it the illusion of being of greater size.

George Kennedy reprises his role as Joe Patroni, but only in a brief cameo, providing valuable information on the stress points of a 747.

Also starring Jimmy Stewart, Darren McGavin, Christopher Lee, Brenda Vaccaro, Olivia de Havilland (as the token Golden-Years actress...), veteran character actor M. Emmet Walsh, and 70's TV icons Gil Gerard and Pamela Bellwood.

RATING: 4 out of 10 scuba tanks

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