Customer Review

213 of 223 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shirley would be pleased, December 10, 2005
This review is from: Airplane! (Don't Call Me Shirley! Edition) (DVD)
A clever, funny parody of disaster movies (bad melodramas such as "Zero Hour" and "The High and The Mighty" along with "Airport" were the prime targets here), "Airplane! The `Don't Call Me Shirley' Edition" manages to combine silliness, puns and with topical humor in a style that recalls something out of an alternate off-kilter universe. Filled with melodramatic, over-the-top music, deliberately bad acting and every cliché about plane disasters you can imagine, "Airplane!" aims wildly and accurately most of the time taking the wind out of the sails of bad (and some good ones, too such as "Jaws")movies everywhere. Evidently the writing/directing team of Zucker, Zucker and Abrahams (who wrote "Kentucky Friend Movie" for director John Landis and later went on to crate "The Naked Gun" films) caught "Zero Hour" on TV and realized that this overripe melodrama was just right to be plucked and served up as comedy (something it verged on anyway).

Robert Hays plays Ted Striker(the name of Dana Andrews' character in "Zero Hour!") a former fighter pilot who is now afraid to pilot planes since a disastrous mission years before. Striker books a seat on the flight of his girlfriend Elaine (Julie Hagerty) in hopes of working out their relationship. When the crew and passengers are brought down by food poisoning Ted has to overcome his fears to pilot the plane to safety.

While the film looks very good (and better than its previous edition), I was a bit disappointed by the amount of dirt and debris. I thought that a deluxe edition like this would have a nearly pristine print and that Paramount would have the film digitally cleaned up. Overall the film looks good but could have been tweaked more for this special edition. The soundtrack sounds pretty good overall and is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 with dialogue clear and little distortion.

The extras are where this edition truly shines. "Airplane! The `Don't Call Me Shirley Edition" doesn't have any of the conventional special features you'd expect. There's no "making-of" documentary or featurettes on the film per se. The "Long Haul Version" allow you to watch the film with frequent detours into comments by the actors (Hays is present but Julie Hagerty curiously isn't), writers/directors and other production crew. We also get deleted scenes in the "Long Haul" section that are quite amusing in many instances as well. Included in the "Long Haul" version are clips from the movie that inspired the Zuckers/Abrahams "Zero Hour". We also get the theatrical trailer and a clever menu that presents some of the classic scenes from the film as if you're watching an animated version of those horrible safety/disaster cards they place on airplanes drawn in the same style. This is like watching the movie, deleted scenes and a documentary at the same time. It's a great conceit and works pretty well here. There is also a subtitle track that features trivia about the movie and points out visual mistakes, etc. throughout the movie.

There's a good commentary track featuring the directors sharing stories about the production of the movie. This sounds like the commentary track from the previous edition. The commentary track provides a lot of amusing stories, trivia and background about the movie. Many of the comments are also echoed in the extended branching edition of the movie so listening to the commentary track really can't compare to watching the seamlessly branching edition.

A classic comedy that still works amazingly well, this special edition of "Airplane!" is well worth it for the fans of the movie. Although the image quality could have been cleaned up a little bit more for this presentation, it's a pretty minor issue really as the "special features" make this edition worthwhile for fans of this classic bit of madness.
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Initial post: Jun 15, 2013 11:38:48 AM PDT
FLRNCRNH says:
Excellent and thorough review! Thank you!
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