Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- JVC RS-46 Projector
- Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
Counting as #7 of the 8 “Paramount Presents” titles (Ghost was the 8th, and released the same day as Airplane! But Airplane! was sent out a little later than Ghost was due to shipping issues) that are given a nice new 4K remaster, and it’s a genuine classic title to get remastered. I can think of very few classic comedies that hold up as well as Airplane! has, and very few comedies that are as laugh out loud funny as well.
Back in 1980 we were just coming out of the slew of disaster films that the 1970s gave us (films like Earthquake, Towering Inferno, Airport, The Poseidon Adventure among many others) and the idea of lampooning films with Leslie Nielsen was just kicking off. The film creates a sort of “disaster” of it’s own, and then latches onto the concept of lampooning anything and everything about 1970s (and early 1980s) culture along with an incredibly acid wit, and penchant for adult humor that leaves one wondering just how it could have gotten a PG rating back then (yeah, yeah, I know, 1980 was before Gremlins and The Temple of Doom prompted the MPAA to create another rating classification. But it’s just incredibly shocking to hear certain words, see certain jokes, and watch boobs bounce across the screen in a PG film).
The film’s plot line is paper thin, but that’s really not much of a problem since the basic premise is nothing but a springboard for countless sight gags and linguistic pun humor. Ted Striker (Robert Hays) is a PTSD ridden fighter pilot who is still reliving his last failed mission. His PTSD has kept him from a steady job as well as ruined his relationship with girlfriend Elaine (Julie Hagerty, who also happens to play Peter’s mother in law on Family Guy for the last 20 years) who happens to be a stewardess. Hoping to catch her before her next flight and take her away somewhere, Ted arrives just as her flight leaves, and is forced to buy a ticket so that he can get close to her. However, a mysterious food borne illness strikes a good chunk of the passengers (including the pilot and co-pilot) forcing Ted to overcome his fears of flying and land the plane before they all go down in flames.
To be honest, while I love Leslie and Lloyd in the film, the entire cast does an amazing job. Even the side characters and other passengers on the plane never fail to disappoint. Watching the various passengers commit suicide as Ted talks them to death is absolutely hilarious, and the infamous “talking jive” scene is as classic today as it was 40 years ago. There’s a few jokes that miss the mark, but they’re so few and far between that they actually stand out like a sore thumb when you realize that they miss the mark (which says something as the entire film is one non stop joke firing one right after the other, and having only a few stand out as misses is incredible).
Rated PG by the MPAA
• NEW Q&A with the directors of Airplane!: Filmed at the Egyptian Theater, Hollywood. January 10, 2020
• NEW Isolated Score
• Vintage audio commentary by Jim Abrahms, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, and producer Jon Davison
Airplane! is still one of THE funniest movies of the 1980s and holds up today almost as well as it did 40 years ago. The humor is spot on hilarious, with sight and linguistic gags lampooning everything in sight, and the all star cast just blasting this one straight out of the water. The new 4K remaster is a bit disappointing (not that it’s bad, just that the difference between the two releases isn’t as staggering as I would have hoped for) and Paramount continues in their bizarre pattern of adding new special features to enjoy, but also deleting legacy ones, so those of you who are collectors will want to keep both releases. It’s a good disc, a good package, and still one hilariously enjoyable film after all these decades.
Starring: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Julie Hagerty, Robert Hays, Leslie Nielsen
Directed by: Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, David Zucker
Written by: Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, David Zucker
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, German Mono DD 2.0, English Music Track DD 2.0
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German, Japanese
Runtime: 87 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: July 21st, 2020
Recommendation: Check It Out