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The Aviator

2004

PG-13 CC

An epic biopic depicting the early years of legendary director and aviator Howard Hughes' career, from the late 1920's to the mid-1940's.

Starring:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett
Runtime:
2 hours, 50 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Martin Scorsese
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett
Supporting actors Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Ian Holm, Danny Huston, Gwen Stefani, Jude Law, Adam Scott, Matt Ross, Kelli Garner, Frances Conroy, Brent Spiner, Stanley DeSantis, Edward Herrmann, Willem Dafoe, Kenneth Welsh, J.C. MacKenzie
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Martin Scorsese's stylish take on Howard Hughes' early life, is a stunningly visual treat in art direction made even more compelling by Scorsese's sure handed directorial flourishes. Scorsese is, by now, a master of the medium, always finding the interesting shot, the fitting camera angle, the flowing tracking shot, the camera movement that breathes energy into his story. It is beautifully filmed and acted, most especially by Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes.

It is a long movie, and it will be interesting to see whether a modern audience, many doubtless unfamiliar with the Hughes legend, will find it as intriguing as we who remember the Hughes of Las Vegas etc. Take the clue from the title, this is a film about the young Hughes who was a genius and a creative dynamo, and an almost overlooked pioneer of aviation. This was a young man full of ambition, dreams, energy and contradictions. The film not only presages the pitiable creature Hughes will become, a slave to his obsessive compulsive illness, but it does so with sympathy and sensitivity.

A first rate biopic done with flair and style. Another worthwhile look at an American life.
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Format: DVD
Reviews of THE AVIATOR seem to fall into three camps. Those who hate it because it rewrites history...I'll admit right here that I don't know enough about the "true" history of Hughes to comment on the accuracy of every detail. Others hate it because they find it boring or don't find Leonard DiCaprio credible as Howard Hughes. The third group likes the movie.

That's the group I'm happily in. It is by no means the greatest epic ever made, but for me it hearkens back to the glory days of the early Cinemascope, Technicolor Hollywood epic, but with better special effects. The sets and costumes are completely luscious. No expense has been spared. You feel glamorous just watching the darn thing. The acting, while very good all around, teeters close to going "over-the-top," which is just what this sort of film needs. It is not a subtle film. It is trying to tell the epic story of an epic American who achieved epic things and endured epic personal battles. A bit of bluster and scenery chewing is in order.

For example, everyone loved Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn(heck she won the Oscar). I admired her performance too...but when you watch it, you see that it is pretty unsubtle. Was Hepburn, even in quiet moments, really so full of PERSONALITY? But the film needs this to work.

Alan Alda was great...he plays slimy so well now. In my mind, he's going to totally shake off Hawkeye Pierce and emerge as a key player of political villany. In real life, he seems like a terrific, open, intelligent and easily amused person. Scary how just a tiny tweaking of those dials makes him creepy. Good stuff!! Kate Beckinsale, out of her league, does okay as Ava Gardner, but the role is generic. You never feel Ava Gardner...just some nameless starlet.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
On one level, this is an interesting and convincing period piece about the times in which Hughes lived and his remarkable accomplishments. I didn't fully catch onto the filmmakers' ultimate intent though until I watched it a second time: that is, the gravity of obsessive-compulsive disorder in Hughes' life. I greatly enjoyed the film the first time I saw it but it wasn't until that second viewing that I realized the power and grittiness of the story they were trying to tell and, for me, the "classic" status it should/will receive. The source music really helps set the period and the score by Howard Shore is truly exceptional. My respect for DiCaprio grew tremendously as well - both for his actual performance and after learning more about his passion for wanting to put this story onscreen and all the work he went to and interest he took in the project. I don't like using the word "epic" and often avoid so-called stories that are, but 'The Aviator' is a grand one that has a tone all of its own due to the focus on Hughes' determination and achievements in face of mounting external struggles and even more overwhelming internal ones.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is an excellent movie that shows the brilliance and illness of a legend. The acting cannot be faulted. Everyone does their job well.

I can't say great things about the blu-ray because it really didn't enhance anything. That said, for $10.00 I won't complain. If you have the DVD, don't bother with the blu-ray. If you don't, it will be 10 bucks well spent.
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Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Captivating history of 20 years of Howard Hughes' life. Now I know where the motorcycle gang got their name! Starts with making of 'Hell's Angels' movie. Then personal demons follow & torment him for life. But he manages to bring about amazing progress in aviation in spite of it all.
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"The Aviator" is a spectacular whirlwind of a picture, a technical tour de force of cinematography and editing. It is Martin Scorsese's best, most confident work in years. It is a relief for those who worried that his visual flair and technical skill had become more important to his films than character and story. Most importantly, "The Aviator" is a movingly sympathetic, marvelously entertaining portrait of an archetypal American figure.

The film can be considered Scorsese's "Citizen Kane," a hugely ambitious biography of creative genius and business mogul Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio). Hughes, a towering celebrity for most of the 20th century, was brought down by his obsessions and eccentricities and eventually driven into seclusion by his mental illness.

The film begins in 1927, with Hughes using his inherited fortune to direct "Hell's Angels," a war epic that was at the time the most expensive movie ever filmed. Though Hughes is a success in Hollywood, he moves on to the aviation industry, building planes for the Air Force during World War II, then buying Transcontinental and Western Airlines. The first hour of the film, which chronicles Hughes' rise to fame and power, is a pure pleasure to watch.

The second half focuses on Hughes' confrontations with Pan Am president Juan Trippe (Alec Baldwin) and the government's efforts to stop TWA from expanding internationally. Most devastating are FBI investigations into Hughes' activities during World War II, headed by the corrupt Sen. Brewster (a delightful scene-stealing Alan Alda).

DiCaprio inhabits Hughes effortlessly, depicting his illness sensitively and realistically. The extraordinary performance proves that he has matured into one of the most talented actors in Hollywood.
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