Red Tails

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Jim Raynor
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Red Tails

Postby Jim Raynor » 2012-01-20 05:22pm

Had the day off, so I saw it this afternoon. I liked it quite a lot. I think it should appeal to people who like military history, stories about people dealing with prejudice, or good old fashioned action.

The dogfighting scenes have a familiar feel to some of the space battles in Star Wars, which were of course influenced by old World War footage. Here the fighter pilots are the lead characters (as opposed to the SW series, where the lead characters ironically didn't take part in many extensive dogfights), so the dogfights are shown in greater detail. I'm not an expert, so I can't say how "realistic" the tactics were. But the movie does give you a much greater feel for the maneuvering of the planes, and how wingmen are supposed to work together.

I was also surprised by the human side of the story. The movie has an ensemble cast, and several characters share the spotlight. Each one deals with their own personal issues, or has moments where they shine. The cast was great, and interacted very well IMO. They came across as a group of war buddies who could have disputes, but still hung out with and cared about each other.

The movie isn't perfect. Some of the dialogue, especially at the very beginning, comes across as overly direct and a bit forced. It's clearly compressed with the intention of conveying certain ideas about the story without wasting too much screen time. But overall, I wouldn't say that this problem was a major one, or one that came up too often throughout the movie.

Also, the way the movie comes to an end may seem abrupt. It's a fictional movie "based" on true events, but real history still restricts what its heroes are able to accomplish. I don't think it'd be a spoiler to say that the Red Tails don't singlehandedly defeat Nazi Germany and win the war. So don't go in with expectations of them fighting the mother of all battles for fate of the world or anything (something that I didn't actually think would happen, but subconsciously expected when I sat down in the theater).

Overall though, I'd say that this is a pretty entertaining movie. It's got action, likable characters, and multiple emotional stories.
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Re: Red Tails

Postby FSTargetDrone » 2012-01-20 05:52pm

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Re: Red Tails

Postby Jim Raynor » 2012-01-20 06:20pm

I really think this will be another one of those cases where the critics and the regular audiences don't see eye-to-eye.

The 33% Rotten Tomatoes score does seem really bad. But one thing about the basic RT score is that it's a black-and-white, like/dislike system that doesn't distinguish between different opinions like "okay," "mediocre," or "downright terrible."

The "average" numerical rating that the critics gave it (and I don't know how that's calculated, since most reviews I see don't give stars or numerical ratings) on that site was supposedly 5.2/10, which isn't trainwreck level. Also, some of the reviews that were considered "bad" weren't really that negative. For example Roger Ebert gave it 2.5 out of 4 stars, not a great review but also above the numerical midpoint. Ebert said that the movie should entertain people, and didn't really say anything too bad about it, but he was counted up the same way as someone who absolutely hated the film.

Right now, one of the biggest complaints that I see from the RT critics is that the movie should've portrayed more of the pilots' struggles with racism. Something which I don't really get, since the movie doesn't shy away from the "N word" and had all the situations that I had expected.

The ratings on that site from regular movie goers are more encouraging though. I'm interested in seeing how this movie will do over this weekend.
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Re: Red Tails

Postby Lost Soal » 2012-01-20 06:33pm

I saw this film when it was The Tuskegee Airmen. If they done as good a job with this one as that, then I'll see it and enjoy it.
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Re: Red Tails

Postby FSTargetDrone » 2012-01-20 06:37pm

I've looked at a dozen or so reviews not on RT. General consensus is that the dialogue is atrocious but that the action/flight scenes are good/excellent.
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Re: Red Tails

Postby Col. Crackpot » 2012-01-20 08:12pm

I'm very excited about this movie and i'm hoping not to be let down. The reviews are making me nervous...
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Re: Red Tails

Postby DrMckay » 2012-01-20 08:16pm

Just got back from seeing it, here are my (spoiler-free impressions)

The good:

- Dogfights: Fast, well-done, and emphasized the importance of teamwork in a squadron. Wouldn't have minded that feeling in SW.
- The interaction btwn the pilots was well done too, and they managed to create several distinct characters in a limited amount of time.
-the effects
-not even blinking at portraying an interracial romance, and handling it well in terms of the existing language gap
-the Squad dynamics and humor, the characters felt like real people, with actual issues

The meh: The second storyline about halfway through when: [spoiler=]one of the pilots is shot down and becomes a POW. They never tell you how he escaped germany. Either include the whole thing, or don't include it at all.[/spoiler]

The Bad:
-The dialogue of the germans was very stilted, and the one stereotypical pilot was annoying.
-The dialogue of the bomber pilots was just so bad, not even in the "Golly gee whiz" trying to do forties and failing, but just too: "I'm speaking to provide exposition for stupid audience members."
-The end, it felt too abrupt, and some "Where are they now/what happened" cards for the pilots a la Band of Brothers might have been nice.

Final consensus:

8/10 Good acting by the principals and competent directing with good aerial battles and distinct characters make this the best war movie and WWII movie in a while. See it if you like dogfights.
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Re: Red Tails

Postby Jim Raynor » 2012-01-21 10:14am

Seems like my prediction was right. Random sampling of audiences by CinemaScore gave Red Tails a very strong "A" grade.

Shockingly, Haywire, another new action movie I've been wanting to see, got an almost unheard of "D+" grade from audiences despite its terrific 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. :shock:
"They're not triangular, but they are more or less blade-shaped"- Thrawn McEwok on the shape of Bakura destroyers



"Lovely. It's known as impugning character regarding statement of professional qualifications' in the legal world"- Karen Traviss, crying libel because I said that no soldier she interviewed would claim that he can take on billion-to-one odds



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Re: Red Tails

Postby Thanas » 2012-01-21 11:03am

So, popcorn action with a script that falls way below that of the HBO version is the opinion I have heard most.
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Re: Red Tails

Postby The Cooler King » 2012-01-21 07:45pm

Thanas wrote:So, popcorn action with a script that falls way below that of the HBO version is the opinion I have heard most.


Which, to be fair, seems to be exactly the tack that Lucas was taking with it. The popcorn action part, at least.
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Re: Red Tails

Postby Elfdart » 2012-01-21 09:04pm

I just took my 12-year-old nephew to the movie. I enjoyed the dogfights, which were among the best I've ever seen. I also enjoyed the long pans across the Italian countryside and the terracotta rooftops of the villages, but I've always been a sucker for that kind of thing. On the other hand, most of the dialogue had me rolling my eyes because it was cornier than Orville Redenbacher. There was also some inappropriate snickering on my part (like the lines of the German pilot). I wasn't the only one. It was bad, but bad in a good way like Steven Seagal's early films.

Apparently I was part of a small minority because when the lights came up at the end, there was a big round of applause from the audience -something I haven't heard since I saw Revenge of the Sith on opening night.
:shock:

If you're looking for the Tuskegee equivalent of The Pacific or Band of Brothers, stay the fuck home. There's no point bemoaning the fact that such a series wasn't made. If the studios didn't want to touch a 2-hour popcorn version even though George Lucas paid for the production out of his own pocket, then chances of a series being made is, in the words of Dean Vernon Wormer, "Zero... point... ZERO!"

I've seen on the news that the few surviving Tuskegee Airmen liked the the movie and endorsed it, even though it's purely a popcorn movie like Flying Tigers (sans John Wayne) or Top Gun (sans softcore homoeroticism). So not only do they deserve credit for their accomplishments in WW2, they also deserve credit for having a sense of humor and a very refined sense of camp. But then, a lot of people their age love hokey movies and Red Tails is certainly one of them. Money quote:

George Lucas wrote:If it’s a popcorn movie, it needs a lot of corn.


:lol:
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Re: Red Tails

Postby Elfdart » 2012-01-21 09:06pm

Thanas wrote:So, popcorn action with a script that falls way below that of the HBO version is the opinion I have heard most.


No, because the HBO one was boring. Both are full of ridiculous speechifying from the senior officers. By far the best depiction of the Tuskegee Airmen was in an episode of Dogfights! on the Hitler Channel.
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Re: Red Tails

Postby Gaidin » 2012-01-22 01:44am

The Cooler King wrote:Which, to be fair, seems to be exactly the tack that Lucas was taking with it. The popcorn action part, at least.

I think on the Daily Show Lucas said his aim was to have the feel of a 40's propaganda piece that was only just now being released after 70 years in a basement somewhere. One of the more interesting ideas I've heard for a movie like that.

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Re: Red Tails

Postby Havok » 2012-02-03 12:51am

I'm glad it is doing well. I want Lucas to stay in the movie biz outside of Star Wars.
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