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Thursday, June 9, 2011

LEGENDS OF FLIGHT -- DVD review by porfle

Like the other Stephen Low documentary that we've covered (ULTIMATE WAVE TAHITI), LEGENDS OF FLIGHT (2010) is a visually interesting and sincere, though rather bland, exploration of a subject that goes just deep enough to yield a lot of pretty pictures for the 3D IMAX screen. 

We follow the adventures of real-life Boeing designer and ace test pilot Captain Mike Carriker as he and his fellow imagineers work out the plans for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  From the conceptual stages to its maiden flight, the evolution of this aerodynamic marvel is portrayed by a series of montages brimming with sweeping camerawork and colorful computer graphics. 

Mention of the intricate design of the plane's wing, for example, is an cue for the virtual camera to slowly travel through its digital innards as colors and shapes dazzle our eyes.  When Carriker talks about the aircraft, his hand movements etch a floating wirework diagram of it in midair. 

Various birds whose own aerodynamics served as inspiration in its design are digitally represented as they soar through the heavens, while simulations of earlier aircraft in flight are portrayed.

Some scenes from the 2007 Paris Air Show give us a look at the massive Airbus A380, an airborne monstrosity that is truly breathtaking to behold.  Other aircraft shown in both real and digital form are the Super Constellation prop passenger liner, the sleek Schleicher Glider, and the Harrier Jump Jet.  But the main focus of LEGENDS OF FLIGHT is the 787, which, after extensive footage of its years-long design and construction in the world's largest building, finally takes its first test flight with Carriker at the controls in the film's climactic sequence.

The DVD from Image Entertainment is in 1.78:1 widescreen with English, French, and Spanish Dolby 5.1 sound.  There are no subtitles.  Extras include a making-of documentary, a text-based look at the various planes discussed during the film, and several trailers for other IMAX DVD releases. 

As a barebones history of aviation leading from the first primitive attempts to the radical designs of the 21st century, LEGENDS OF FLIGHT suffices as a framework for Stephen Low to dazzle us with eye-candy images.  The 2D DVD image looks fine--I'm sure the 3D Blu-Ray is way better.  Needless to say, however, much of this sincere but unremarkable documentary's IMAX grandeur, and thus its effectiveness as a chiefly visual experience, will be lost on the home screen.

Buy it at
3D Blu-Ray 

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