Reel Reviews

Film Reviews by a Real Person, Not a Critic

The Aviator

Title: The Aviator
Year: 2004
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Alan Alda
Rated: PG-13

Reel Reviews Rating:

I had wanted to rent this movie for a long time now because I heard that the plane flying sequences would look great on a big screen plasma TV. A few weeks ago I finally got to rent it, and I definitely got to see more than just cool flying sequences. I got to watch a great film.


Before I begin, let me just warn you all that this movie is LONG. It’s about 3 hours long. You’d probably need to take a lot of bathroom and snack breaks. But then again, so was the Lord of the Rings trilogy and I didn’t mind those at all.
As everyone knows, The Aviator depicts the story of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes. It starts off with Hughes as a very young boy talking with his mother, and although it’s a very short, quiet scene, it’s an important one so make sure you’re paying attention.

The very next scene jumps forward about 20 years, as we see Hughes as a young man filming his first movie “Hell’s Angels?, and it is here that the audience first catches a glimpse of Hughes’ character as a perfectionist, and his cavalier attitude toward money.

The Aviator focuses on a number of important events such as his flight on the H-1, which set record speeds of 352 miles an hour, and his disastrous flight on the X-11. It also highlights Hughes’ reputation as a ladies’ man, dating classic leading ladies such as Katherine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Jean Harlow. Naturally, the film also tackles Hughes’ downward spiral into obsessive compulsive disorder and paranoia. It’s pretty sad to see this confident, brilliant man reduced to a babbling fool whenever his OCD kicks in.

The film does a good job in depicting Hughes’ public life equally with his personal life. On one hand you have Howard Hughes the innovator, the visionary, taking on challenging projects even at the concern of his staff. Howard Hughes the dashing billionaire, with a different woman on his arm every night. On the other hand you have Howard Hughes the troubled man, privately dealing with his demons. He’s fully aware that his mind is falling apart and worries he can’t do anything about it.

Now, as for the actor. I know some people don’t like Leonardo DiCaprio for a number of reasons.

-Because he’s a pretty boy.

-Because he looks gay.

-Because he’s too young to play serious roles.

And so on.

Well let me tell ya: I’ve always liked DiCaprio as an actor. Yes, he’s good looking but the kicker is that he really can act. Instead of capitalizing on his good looks by taking shitty roles, in my opinion, DiCaprio likes to challenge himself by taking tough roles, the kind that actors his age and appearance would pass up. Most actors his age are comfortable with the “hero? roles or appearing in a romantic comedy, but not DiCaprio. He’s played a variety of roles that range from a mentally retarded boy in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, to a drug-addicted teen in The Basketball Diaries, to a vengeful man in Gangs of New York. And with The Aviator, I thought that he did a great job in playing Howard Hughes. For those who think that DiCaprio was too young to play Hughes, consider that most of the movie focuses of the billionaire’s early life. Many of Hughes’ accomplishments took place during his late twenties and early thirties. It’s not like you could have gotten Tom Hanks to play the guy.

By the way, here’s a little bit of trivia about the movie that I got from the IMDB:

Martin Scorsese designed each year in the film to look just the way a color film from that time period would look. Achieved mainly through digitally enhanced post-production, Scorsese recreated the look of Cinecolor and two-strip Technicolor. Watch in particular for the scene where Howard Hughes meets Errol Flynn in the club. Hughes is served precisely placed peas on a plate, and they appear blue or turquoise – just as they’d have looked in the primitive two-strip Technicolor process. As Hughes ages throughout the film, the color gets more sophisticated and full-bodied.

I KNEW that the colors looked a little weird near the beginning of the movie! Another scene to pay attention to is the one where Hughes flies the H-1. He flies over a corn field, which look blue/turquoise instead of green. That Scorsese- he’s a clever man.

Anyway, if you don’t mind watching DiCaprio in a film, if you don’t mind hunkering down for the next 3 hours, then check out this movie. If Ray, Ali, and other biopics bore the hell out of you, or if you just can’t STAND Leonardo DiCaprio, then this movie isn’t for you.


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November 25, 2005 - Posted by | Action, Biopic, Drama

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