Thursday, December 5, 2019

Review: The Aeronauts

Release date: December 6, 2019
Running time: 100 minutes
Starring: Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Himesh Patel

Aeronauts is a high flying story "inspired by" true events that tells the tale of a scientist and an aeronaut (someone who pilots hot air balloons) who attempt to go higher than any man or woman has ever gone to study the atmosphere and ultimately predict the weather.  James Glaisher (Redmayne), an aspiring meteorologist enlists the help of an experienced aeronaut, Amelia Wren (Jones) to attempt this feat.  Both characters have troubled pasts to deal with and will have to work these out, along with many other dangers and uncertainties during their ascent in the skies.  

This film starts with the beginning of the balloon journey, and fills in the character's backstories through flashbacks exploring both of their lives and how they met.  It's a good way to tell this tale, starting with the main event and then breaking that up with snippets of information, which also lets you slowly learn more about the characters.  And you will want to learn more about them because the two leads are both fascinating individuals, driven in different ways to achieve their aeronautical goals.  Redmayne is fantastic as usual, playing a character we have seen before--an awkward, driven person that cares more about his interests than in other people.  Jones plays an independent, fiery aeronaut that doesn't let those around her tell her what to do or how to live her life.  And together they make an interesting team.  

The story is a good length with plenty of ups and downs.  The effects and sounds are both top notch, aided by the fact that much of the movie takes place in a balloon.  In fact, Redmayne and Jones actually filmed the initial ascent in a balloon 2,000 feet above the ground!  The top notch effects and sound make the exciting scenes thrilling to see and some of the high flying stunts will make you hold your breath.  

However, the main issue with this movie is that it is "inspired by" true events.  Although the balloon trip that is depicted in the film did actually happen, many of the characters and specifics were changed for the film.  For example, Wren did not actually accompany Glaisher on this specific balloon trip, which is not mentioned anywhere in the film.  Glashier actually had a different co-pilot who is all but erased from this tale.  It is telling that there is no information on the characters at the end of the movie, hinting that much of it was manufactured for Hollywood.  If you can get past this, though, you are left with an entertaining, and at times thrilling, story about two people challenging society in their ascent to the skies. 

The Aeronauts is a high-flying adventure with two fantastic leads, a compelling story that is unfortunately affected by Hollywood fantasy, and thrilling effects and sound.  

Watch It

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