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(Review originally written at 31 October 2009)

In its basic essence "Flyboys" could had really turned into a great movie. WW I is a war that could potentially deliver plenty of materials for Hollywood to make a good and interesting movie out of and aerial battles are often something very spectacular to watch on the screen. In that regard "Flyboys" is a movie that had everything in it to make a good movie with but unfortunately it's a movie that hangs together from its clichés and tries too hard to romanticize the early American fighter pilots that entered the war on the side of the French, when America itself wasn't involved yet with WW I.

It's really a shame that this movie progresses and develops in such a predictable manner. It's one of those movies you already know in advance of who is going to die and also often when. With its story the movie offers very little originality and holds no surprises in it. You can say that this movie is the "Pearl Harbor" version of WW I. "Pearl Harbor" was also a movie that suffered from its clichés and was a movie done without lots of imagination involved, which also suffered from a misplaced love story. This movie also feels the need to feature a love story and no matter how cute and pretty Jennifer Decker looks, it's something that the movie could had really done without and it would had probably made a better movie without it.

Still it's of course a movie that deserves some credit. It's a movie that got made without the backing of any big studio and for that the movie deserves some credit, since it's a quite daring and big production. It wasn't a cheap movie to make and it's also a movie that lost a lot of money at the box offices. Nevertheless the film-makers felt that this story about the early involvement of American volunteers during WW I needed to be told. Too bad that they seemed to forgot about a convincing and above all also realistic story, since for historically accuracy there are far better and more convincing movies to watch out there.

The movie is good looking nevertheless and even though its special effects most of the time don't know to convince a full 100% the special effects still help to make the movie a enjoyable and spectacular one. All of the battle sequences in the air are CGI and there are nicely worked out, with its battle tactics and such. In that regard the movie is perhaps better as a simple action movie that bring some entertainment than as a relevant and realistic war movie. I'm therefore also not entirely sure what the film-makers intentions were with this movie really. A realistic and dramatic one, that tried to tell an historical important story or simply one that should bring entertainment. The combination of the both of these elements make this a bit of an unbalanced movie.

I liked James Franco in his role in this movie. Normally he's not an actor who really convinces yet as a leading main man but with this movie he shows some good potential for the near future.

A movie that is good to kill a couple of hours with but not really a relevant or great movie that tells the story of American fighter pilot volunteers in the French military. Really not the great movie that this one potentially really could had been.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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