Ultimate G's: Zac's Flying Dream

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Ultimate G's: Zac's Flying Dream Movie Poster Image
IMAX movie has nice flight sequences, awful acting.
  • NR
  • 2007
  • 37 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

While intended to entertain, this short film does show through talk and example how much time and effort is required to become a successful stunt pilot.

Positive Messages

It's one thing to dream about being successful at something, but it's just as important to put in the time and effort in order to make that dream a reality.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Through trial and error, Zac learns what it takes to learn how to fly, and he never listens to those who tell him that he'll never be a pilot.

Violence & Scariness

A young boy rolls off a roof while trying to pilot a self-invented flying machine. He rolls into a body of water, where, at first, his injuries seem much worse than they actually are. Overall, the boy "invents" a series of flying machines that don't work and should be filed under "do not try this at home."

Sexy Stuff
Language

One pilot describes another as being "a hell of a pilot." During a scene where an older boy bullies a younger boy, the older boy calls the younger boy a "moron."

Consumerism

At a bar, signs for Old Milwaukee, Lite Beer, and Icehouse are prominently featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

After flying sessions, the main characters spend their time in a bar drinking beer. Extras in the background are shown drinking beer and wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ultimate G's: Zac's Flying Dream is a 2000 IMAX short movie featuring a young Michael Cera playing the role of an ambitious young boy who will stop at nothing to make his dream of becoming a pilot a reality. While there are many IMAX-style scenes of planes swooping and spinning in and around the Grand Canyon, there are also some moments of bullying, and an opening sequence filled with several attempts by Zac to build his own flying machines that are best filed under "do not try this at home." There are also scenes in a bar, where Zac, his best friend/love interest, and his rival hang out, play pool, and drink beer. Overall, for kids (and parents of kids) interested in becoming pilots, this film does manage to show the time and effort required to achieve that goal.

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What's the story?

Young Zac (Michael Cera) dreams of one day becoming a pilot. With his best friend Laura, he builds a series of flying machines that don't quite get off the ground. But when his father steps in and shows Zac some basic principles of wings and flying, Zac's dream slowly starts to become a reality. Many years later, Zac is a stunt pilot and Laura is his mechanic. But when Carl, an old rival dating back to childhood, comes back as an Air Force pilot, he wants to prove to Zac that he's the better pilot, and he also wants the chance to win Laura's heart, thus ending the budding romance between Zac and Laura. They agree to a flying contest in and around the Grand Canyon to see, once and for all, who is the better pilot.

Is it any good?

While the IMAX flight sequences in and around the Grand Canyon earn five stars, the acting (with the exception of a young Michael Cera) is only worth one star. The story itself feels forced and unnecessary in such a short movie. Everyone would have been better off with nothing but 37 minutes of airplane swoops, spins, and drops against the beautiful backdrop of Arizona.

While there is some kitsch factor in seeing a young Michael Cera pilot a series of doomed-to-fail self-invented flying machines, and while there are some solid lessons about the kind of time and effort it requires to be a successful stunt pilot, these factors don't compensate for the trite and forced storyline. Still, for parents and kids who can look past these issues and focus on the flight sequences, this short movie does offer some enjoyable moments.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies about pilots and flying. What did you learn about the skills you need to be a pilot?

  • How does this film compare with other movies about pilots and flying?

  • What scenes were the most interesting to you? Why?

Movie details

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