- Movie Rating -

The Aviator (1985)

| March 1, 1985

I suspect that The Aviator was made by people who have seen a lot of old World War II movies.  You know, those old movies with two beautiful stars falling in love amid the terrible backdrop of war.  I’ve seen a lot of those movies myself, but I confess that I never saw one in which the two lovers got into a fight over a jelly donut.

That’s illustration of what a silly and disorganized mess this movie really is, which is too bad since it stars Christopher Reeve and Rosanna Arquette.  They’re trapped in this stupid, cliché-ridden pile of nonsense about

The movie begins in 1918 and Reeve is Edgar, a flight instructor for the newly-formed United States Air Force who loses a student during the pre-credit sequence when the kid freaks out and crashes his plane leaving Edgar injured mostly with a thousand-yard stare.  Worse, when he crawls away from the smoking wreck it explodes in a fireball comparable to the opening shots of Apocalypse Now.  Cut forward ten years and instead of taking a safer desk job, Edgar is now a flight instructor for the newly-formed air delivery service in Elko, Nevada despite his still brewing trauma.

Edgar’s trauma has made him sullen and withdrawn and so it probably isn’t the best idea for him to take the job of transporting a millionaire’s daughter Tillie Hansen (Arquette) who could easily have taken the train but, for reasons that the movie holds onto way longer than necessary, she ends up in the passage seat of Edgar’s plane.  No points for guessing that Tillie and Edgar don’t get along or that their plane crashes in the mountains, or that they fight and squabble until they fall in love.  And just to add insult to insult their situation is made worse by the presence of hungry wolves.  AND further insult is added by the fact that she breaks her leg and he has to carry her to safety.  AND THEN comes the jelly donut!

What were the filmmakers thinking here?  What were the actors thinking here?  What was anybody thinking here?  This is a bore, stiff, uninvolving movie that plods along on the hope that maybe something will come out in the performances, that something in Reeve and Arquette’s ebullient charm will pull this mess out of the ashes and we’ll get something special.  We don’t.  This is cardboard movie that wastes time and talent of two very appealing actors who spend time fighting, feuding and tussling over that donut.  I couldn’t believe that.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Drama