Boring. Meh. A couple of tense moments that would’ve been fantastic in a half hour short film. Historically inaccurate, but may have been helped by that more than hurt. Good acting from two stars that are known for their good acting. All of that describes THE AERONAUTS, which was an original Amazon Prime film that was just released this past weekend. To quote my wife (she felt the same way I did about this movie), “this is such a niche film, probably why it went direct to streaming and not into theaters.” 100% agree with her. If this film was released in theaters, it would’ve bombed, badly. And it also probably would’ve been more controversial in the main stream media. While I’ve seem some advertising, this film seemed very quietly just released to get rid of. And it shows, other than a couple of cool special effects hot air balloon life threatening moments, this movie is a snooze fest. Probably would’ve made a decent historically accurate 25-30 minute short film. Feature length, all of it is very ho hum indeed.
Since I’m lazy as fuck right now and still several reviews behind to bring to you all, I’m going to just borrow from IMDB.com and Wikipedia.com and give them credit: The Aeronauts is about “a pilot, Amelia Rennes (Felicity Jones), and scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne), find themselves in an epic fight for survival while attempting to make discoveries in a gas balloon.” It is based on the “Richard Holmes book ‘Falling Upwards: How We Took To The Air.” Although 1/2 of the film is very historically inaccurate, and I have a feeling some of the death defying gravity shit probably was more embellished for theatrical reasons. Why is the movie so historically inaccurate you might ask? Felicity Jones’s character doesn’t even exist. Completely fictional for this movie. It was two males that made that trip, James Glaisher really being one of them, but then another by the name of Henry Coxwell, who is nowhere to be found in the movie, or even fucking mentioned. Poor guy. Anyway, that’s the controversy that surrounds this film, as when doing some research they figured that SJW’s would be pissed off it was a film just based around two males, so the filmmakers really went out of history’s way to make a compromise, but then toxic masculinity is review dumping this film because of the woman addiction making the whole thing extremely fictional.
Me? And my wife? We personally didn’t give a shit. In fact, we thought that the exclusion of the other male character and the addition of a female perspective, combined with Felicity Jones’ excellent acting, actually probably made the film more interesting and saved it from being completely unwatchable. They give her a proper backstory and motivations, and the film worked better narrative wise with all that was added in. Trust me, if a movie was really made around those two males exploits, it would’ve been boring and might as well have been made into an hour National Geographic documentary that no one but hard core fans of that program or meteorologists would’ve watched. Anyway, that’s my take, controversy be damned. But in the end, it didn’t really matter, as my wife and I thought the film was very boring, save for the couple of tense death defying sequences (again, probably beefed up fictionally) the characters had to go through to break the 23,000 feet in the air barrier, but also while escaping with their lives. We both cared about the characters just enough to make it through the movie without turning it off. If that makes any sense to you.
Why did Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones do this picture? Probably a paycheck, but they bring their acting chops into the foray enough to earn it. And the pitch was probably easy, “look, for half the movie, it’s just you and the other person in a basket wired in the air in a studio surrounded by a giant green screen. The rest of the film is just in one or two locations, also shot in this studio, you should be out of here in no time!” Fuck, I’d take an acting job like that. Needless to say, this movie was completely unnecessary. It could’ve been a fantastic short film that could’ve maybe been up for a best short live action film or best documentary or best documentary short subject. We didn’t need this fictionalized boring bantha poo doo. The only people that are going to get into this film, are people really obsessed with hot air balloons enough that they jerk off to the thought of them, or meteorologists. And then even then they’ll have to be able to swallow major historical inaccuracies. For those wanting to watch another good Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones picture, I would suggest just putting in and watching The Theory of Everything again, a far superior film. My theory is that Amazon probably won’t gamble on a project like this again. I have a feeling viewing numbers on this film won’t get even close to sky high.