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Airplane! (Blu-ray Review)

It’s safe to say…no, it’s safe to INSIST that Airplane! was the first of the satire-spoofs to hit film more than thirty years ago.  At long last the original spoof-satire has arrived on the Blu-ray format.  Are you tired of those movies that have “movie” in the title?  It would appear that the makers of those movies need to see how it was originally done by the creators of one of the best, if not, the best of the spoof films.  You can probably tell where I will be going with my review, but rest assured I will be fair in my evaluation of the film and Blu-ray.  Please keep in mind that Airplane! is a Best Buy EXCLUSIVE, so you can only purchase the film at your nearest Best Buy or at www.bestbuy.com for the time being. 

 

Film 

Airplane!, in a nutshell, is the story of an ex-pilot who has to take over the controls of an airplane after the entire crew and passengers are taken ill with food poisoning.  I’m serious, that’s the main story.  With that out of the way, the real reason to catch Airplane! is because it’s friggin’ HYSTERICAL!  The five star review is warranted, because all of the gags, spoofs, and satire references to what was going on at the time, hit their marks with scary precision.

What’s even cooler is that those instances of comedy gold are tended to by some very famous and familiar faces.  You had people like Peter Graves (Mission Impossible), Leslie Nielsen (Forbidden Planet, Naked Gun), Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, and many more doing spoof comedy and doing it well!  Not only was Aiprlane! a spoof film of other films and themes, but it was the FIRST of the spoof films.  Yep, the spoof film is 31 years old according to my calender.

As I was watching Airplane! I couldn’t help myself texting one of our writers and commenting on how freakin’ funny the film was.  Airplane! is rated PG, but if it were released today it would no doubt garner itself a solid R.  Hell, all of the scenes of Peter Graves in the film would have definitely garnered an R by today’s standards!  I just kept laughing repeatedly after every gag – one more outrageous than the other.  I’m laughing right now!

Funny enough, Airplane! was made on a pretty low budget by 80’s standards, but proved to be a juggernaut at the box-office grossing more than 80 million dollars on a 3 million dollar budget.  Considering the amount of talent involved, and the high production values, that’s pretty impressive.  Even the miniatures and matte pieces seemed to mesh together without visible hints of “fakeness.”

Airplane! gets a perfect score if only for justice.  It was a comedy innovator of the time and truthfully, none of the modern spoof films would have even seen the light of day if it weren’t for the original gangster that was Airplane!. Watching Airplane! the one sad thing about it is that the majority of the talent are no longer with us.  🙁  Airplane! is a fitting tribute on its own, in my opinion.

Elaine: It takes so many things to make love last. But most of all, it takes respect, and I can’t live with a man I don’t respect.
Ted Striker: [turns towards the camera] What a pisser!

Video 

Airplane! is presented in 1080p, 1.85:1, widescreen.  I was expecting it to be a mess, because who really gives a crap about old classic comedies nowadays, but was pleasantly surprised at how clean the video looked.  No, I don’t equate “clean” with DNR either.  Airplaine! has an awesome layer of grain that remains throughout the entire film.  Dirt and scratches don’t show themselves as much as I was expecting, but do show themselves every once in a while.  Black levels rarely crush and the contrast is just right.  I am aware that Airplane! was one of those transitional films that started off the new decade, so the filmmakers did play around with lights and filters to give it that throwback to the 70’s.  Airplane! looks mighty good on Blu-ray, though.

Audio 

Airplane! is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1.  Here’s a soundtrack that I was expecting to be dull and boring.  Nope.  Airplane! BUMPS on Blu-ray, that’s for sure!  The highlights being the music.  There’s a funny spoof of Saturday Night Fever which I thought was the Saturday Night Fever film itself. The speakers handled the tune awesomely and made me get my groove on a bit.  Dialogue is clean and clear, which is a big plus considering that it’s important for it to do so if you want to hear every joke or gag.  Where it does suffer is those instances of ambient noise.  I think the surround channels could have had a bigger push without being intrusive, but this is one of those films from back in the day where I guess they didn’t emphasize the avid use of the surround channels enough.  Other than that, Airplane! is tip top.

Special Features

Airplane! comes equipped with a bit of features, but nothing super mind blowing.  There’s an audio commentary by all three writers/directors – yes three people directed Airplane! – which can technically be called the best feature on the Blu-ray.  There’s a “long haul version” where the viewer will be prompted to click for deleted scenes or interview segments within the film as it plays.  There’s a trivia track and the theatrical trailer is presented in HD.

  • Group Commentary by Producer Jon Davison and Writers/Directors Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker and David Zucker
  • Long Haul Version: Includes Deleted Scenes, Interviews and More!
  • Trivia Track
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD)

Final Thoughts 

The first and still the best spoof movie of all time: Airplane! makes its debut on Blu-ray and it’s a winner.  The Blu-ray features a great film, great video, decent audio, and a few special features for you to nibble on.  I will also say that the main menu is quite  hilarious and surprising that they were able to pull it off.  Airplane! on Blu-ray is currently available only as an exclusive at your local Best Buy or on www.bestbuy.com.   Buy it!

 

 

Order Airplane! on Blu-ray!

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

4 Responses to “Airplane! (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Love Airplane.

  2. Matt Goodman

    Ever seen a grown man naked?

  3. Sean Ferguson

    I love this movie!

  4. Jiminy Critic

    Do you like movies about gladiators?