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Movie Review - Red Tails

I saw ""Red Tails" yesterday.

Great buddy movie.

Remove the white people, it would be a better movie.

Cartoonish history, and amazingly bad dialogue if the scene involves pale people unless they're the hot chick. No, even if they're the hot chick. Bludgeon us with stereotypes, Mr. Lucas - right down to the guy with the girl gets killed. I didn't even mention spoiler alert because It.Is.That.Obvious.

The people who really fly for a living will have to suspend their knowledge base - but it's fun anyway and a technically masterful job of CGI if we ignore physics.

But a great buddy movie. Even with the bad parts, I'll probably buy it - because I can fast-forward through the crap and just revel in the rest.

Bottom line - Great war movie of the "buddy flick" genre, and harkens back to the great war flicks of old in the ham-handedness, but fun regardless.

But it does a disservice to the Tuskegee Airmen.  

I take that back.  It doesn't.  It does a disservice to history, perhaps.  

The Tuskegee Airmen's service stands on it's own two feet, and doesn't need George Lucas to burnish it.  Which is a good thing.

11 Comments

I always wondered why Lucas remade "The Tuskeegee Airmen". Overall I wonder why folks feel the need to embellish the exploits of the Tuskeegee Airmen, the Memphis Bell, etc... There's more than enough heorics without Hollywood putting its spin on the story.
 
I had wondered about Red Tails, since I had seen the Tuskeegee Airmen, and it seemed that RT was basically what Hollywood is coming out with now - remakes because they can't get any writers, and computer generated graphics because...well, for a lot of reasons, but mostly it costs too much to actually make a real picture.  God forbid we would have a picture that actually had substance.
 
 Hollywood can't make a decent war movie anymore because they have so few who have even served, much less been to war, among the writers, producers, directors and actors. That so many in Hollywood dislike teh military can't help much.
 
Saw an ad for it in the local fishwrapper, and the number of Me-262s being shot down (with flames erupting from places where there was nothing flammable) by P-51s said "major attempt at re-writing history in progress."

Why Spielberg feels a pressing need to gild whatever lily happens to catch his attention is just one of Life's Little Mysteries...
 
God forbid we would have a picture that actually had substance.

Heh. I still remember a comment a buddy of mine made about Pearl Harbor: "They budgeted two hundred million bucks for computer graphics and they couldn't spend five dollars to buy a plot?"

 
It would have been nice if Ken Burns had made it rather than George Lucas.  Probably not as dazzling, though.
 
 Oh, c'mon, be nice about Pearl Harbor.  Baldwin was totatlly believeable as Doolittle.

The Nazi pilot character came straight from WWII Central Casting of Eeebil Nazi Villains.

Sadly, so did most of the pale people characters on the US side.  Except the One Lone Good Guy and the Converted By A Desperate Reality pale people.

Though one of the best lines in the movie, "And you-all have the nerve to call *us* colored?" comes from one of those scenes.
 
John, I haven't seen the movie yet (although I'd like to), but I had this to say after seeing the trailer. I'm curious about your reaction to my post, given that you've seen the entire movie.

Bill, I had a similar reaction to the trailer; the Fortresses seemed to go down awfully easily as well. The Red Tails are on record as having shot down a few Swallows, but I don't know if the kills came from dogfights. My general reading tells me the preferred method was to ambush the jets as they were taking off or landing.

 
After what George did to the dialogue in star wars 1-3 you would have thought that somebody in holly-weird would have tried to stop him. As to his 'embellishment' of the Tuskeegee Airmen's story; I consider that to be an insult of the highest order. Only the people that lived it are allowed to 'pretty it up', damnit. The amazing story stands on it's own in any event. This is just more hollywood trash I plan to avoid.

JACL Dave
 
Casey, my reading agrees with yours.  Me-262s didn't engage in dogfights.  They weren't maneuverable enough, and anyway their task was to kill bombers.  Most if not all of Allied fighter kills on Me-262s came in one of two ways: on takeoff or landing, when the jet was low and slow; or bounce from above - a diving P-51 or P-47 was faster than a level-flying jet. 

Dave: one of the presskit 'facts' about "Red Tails" is that Lucas shopped it around to every studio in town.  Every one turned it down, so he finally decided to finance it himself.  I guess now we know why they all turned it down. 
 
Casey, my sense of history matches yours and wolfwalker's.  I can live with compression and conflation to support the narrative, otherwise the movies will just be too long.   Outright fabrications and revisionism, not so much.

Like I said, it's a great buddy movie.  And it is.

As for the treatment of persons of pale hue, I guess Mr. Lucas was giving us a taste of what it was like to be a black person watching a movie from the early days, when black characters were peripheral and portrayed in caricature.

In that, it is instructive.  I doubt Mr. Lucas was being that subtle.