A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has intense peril and violence, including a very vivid plane crash, gunfire, and explosions. There are graphic images of wounded and dead characters. The movie includes some strong language (many uses of the "s--t") and smoking. A strength of the movie is the portrayal diverse characters who are strong, brave, loyal, and committed and who work well together.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, Frank Towns (Dennis Quaid) and A.J. (Tyrese Gibson) are pilots sent to pick up the staff and equipment from an oil rig that is being shut down. Passengers include deal-maker Ian (Hugh Laurie), boss Kelly (Miranda Otto), and her crew. And there is Elliott (Giovanni Ribisi), a mysterious man who predicts that the plane will crash because it is carrying too much weight. Elliott's calm diagnosis is in sharp contrast to the crash, with swirling sand and wind so strong that it rips the propeller off and slices into the body of the plane like a buzz saw. Burial of the fatalities is dispatched quickly in the Mongolian desert, as are any chance of finding help and the prospect of the company trying to find them. All that's left is Elliott's idea to use the parts of the plane to build a new aircraft. Towns thinks it is impossible. The odds are slim that they will be found, but he wants to maximize them by conserving food and water for as long as they can. But one of the crew persuades him that even with faster consumption, they should try to build the plane. Can they work together? Can Elliott's design fly? Will they get out before the nomads come after them?
Is it any good?
This trim little adventure saga about the survivors of a plane crash holds our attention with appealing and sincere performances. Quaid is especially magnetic and he is well supported by Gibson, Jacob Vargas as Sammi the cook, Tony Curran as Rodney and Kirk Jones (rapper Sticky Fingaz) as Jeremy. The pacing is brisk and energetic and it has enough spirit to follow the unavoidable pep talk about hopes and dreams with Towns saying, "I'd do anything to avoid another hopes and dreams speech."
Phoenix doesn't waste any time assigning heartwarming characteristics or backstories to each member of the group; we barely learn most of their names. This is not a movie about redemption or a tender love story. This is a movie that gets your heart pounding the old-fashioned way -- it is just plain exciting. The plane crash scene is an extraordinary bit of film-making.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what you can learn from the different ways that people respond to stress. How many different ways do you see in this movie? Who blames other people? Who works to solve the problem? Why does Elliott want people to say "please?" What was the right thing to do with the injured nomad? Do you agree with the statement about the difference between religion and belief?
- In theaters: December 17, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: March 1, 2005
- Cast: Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi, Hugh Laurie
- Director: John Moore
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some language, action and violence
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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