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Robert Schwentke
Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean
Writing Credits:
Peter A. Dowling, Billy Ray


Flying at 40,000 feet in a state-of-the art aircraft that she helped design, Kyle Pratt's 6-year-old daughter Julia vanishes without a trace - or does she?

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$24.629 million on 3424 screens.
Domestic Gross
$82.296 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby 5.1
English Uncompressed PCM 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $10.00
Release Date: 12/19/2006

• Audio Commentary with Director Robert Schwentke
• “Emergency Landing” Featurette
• “Cabin Pressure” Featurette
• “Blu-Scape” Short


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Flightplan [Blu-Ray] (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 17, 2017)

Idiocy on parade: when Flightplan hit movie screens in the fall of 2005, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) called for a boycott.

Don’t these folks have anything better to do? My best friend worked as a flight attendant – in fact, he was employed at one of the airlines represented by these bozos – and he felt as irritated at this pointless protest as I was.

Or maybe more annoyed, since he’s closer to the situation. The APFA whined that the movie made flight attendants look “rude, unhelpful and uncaring”. Based on all the horror stories my friend told me about his coworkers, I’d say that’s just about right, and circa 2017 tales of poor behavior doesn’t change that notion.

Like all moronic protests, the biggest problem with this one is that it maintained no connection to reality, as it’s a real stretch to see this negative portrayal in Flightplan. To compare to another Jodie Foster movie, it’d be the same as if I attacked The Silence of the Lambs for its negative depiction of psychologists since that’s my real job.

Folks – it’s a movie, and not one that goes out of its way to slam flight attendants or other air personnel. If anything, it makes them look more reasonable and compassionate than they really are.

Rant mode off – now I can chat about the movie itself. At its start, Flightplan introduces us to very recent widow Kyle Pratt (Foster) and her six-year-old daughter Julia (Marlene Lawston). Kyle’s husband David (John Benjamin Hickey) died in a mysterious fall and they’re taking him from their home in Germany back to America for his burial.

Not surprisingly, these events leave Kyle in a messy emotional state, and we soon start to wonder just how discombobulated she really is. Kyle nods off during the long flight, and when she wakes up, Julia is nowhere to be seen.

Kyle panics and pesters the flight crew to search every nook and cranny to find the girl. The staff attempts to accommodate her, but matters become complicated because no one remembers seeing the kid on the plane, and the flight manifest bears no record of her arrival on it.

The movie follows Kyle’s increasingly distraught state and her search’s impact on all around her. This involves Air Marshal Gene Carson (Peter Sarsgaard), the plane’s pilot (Sean Bean), the flight attendants, and many of the passengers. We watch as all involved try to separate fact from fiction and settle the mystery.

Shades of The Forgotten! That movie enjoyed a similar theme in which a mother is led to question the presence of her child.

Actually, Forgotten disputed whether or not the kid existed at all, whereas Flightplan simply looks at whether or not Julia was on the plane. Nonetheless, the similarities are prominent, and it doesn’t help that Foster and Julianne Moore are similar enough actors that Moore took over the Clarice Starling role in Hannibal.

Despite those connections and a mess of other problems, I think Flightplan offers a pretty enjoyable experience. The story bases itself much more in the real world than does the supernatural Forgotten, so the similarities fall by the wayside. It’s also significantly more entertaining than the messy Forgotten, and that makes a big difference.

Not that one should expect a logical, well-thought-out film from Flightplan, though. This isn’t a movie with some plot holes – instead, it’s a collection of plot holes with a film fashioned around them.

Many flicks require you to turn off your brain and go with the ride if you want to enjoy them, and that’s definitely the case with Flightplan. So many of its moments stretch credulity that it’d be virtually impossible to have a good time with it if you examine it too closely.

Obviously, I’d prefer a movie with a more logical bent, but I simply had too much fun with Flightplan to worry a lot about its many storytelling flaws. Braindead as it may be, the film presents a tense and exciting tale.

It sweeps us up in its plot of paranoia and potential conspiracies and makes sure that we feel the angst. Of course, when we down to the truth of the matter, everything becomes unhinged due to its inherent absurdity, but I was too invested in things to lose interest.

All the storytelling concerns mean that I can’t offer a glowing recommendation for Flightplan. However, I think it’s a lively enough little popcorn flick for me to give it a decent endorsement. Silly as it may be, it delivers an hour and a half of good thrills, and that makes it worthwhile for what it is.

The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Flightplan appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A fairly early Blu-ray, this one showed mediocre visuals.

Sharpness demonstrated the majority of the issues. Much of the movie appeared reasonably concise and accurate, but that varied an awful lot. Many shots were moderately soft and ill-defined.

No issues with shimmering or jagged edges occurred, and source flaws were absent. However, some light edge haloes crept into the image at times, and those impacted the already iffy delineation.

Flightplan went with a very limited palette, as it strongly favored heavy greens/blues, and those dominated the movie. Within that range, the colors were fine. They didn’t have enough variation to tax the image, but they looked appropriate.

Blacks were a little inky, however, and shadows tended to be moderately dense. Due to that issue as well as the sharpness problems, Flightplan occasionally seemed murky. This wasn’t a terrible transfer, but it suffered from too many concerns.

At least the Uncompressed PCM 5.1 audio of Flightplan was more consistently satisfying. The mix varied in scope dependent on the situation. A lot of the time, it focused solely on general airplane ambience, which meant a constant hum of the engines and small bumps and jolts along the way.

However, the track also kicked into higher gear during a number of scenes. Takeoffs and landings filled the speakers well, and the various action sequences on the plane also offered a lot of good information.

The five speakers blended all of this well and helped to form a strong sense of environment. The soundfields really aided the effectiveness of the movie, so while they may have been subdued much of the time, they were more than satisfying for this material.

The solid quality of the audio didn’t hurt matters. Speech was always concise and crisp, with no brittleness or other problems. Music was clear and lively, so the score showed good range and filled out the track well.

Whether loud or soft, effects seemed clean and snappy, and they presented excellent range. Bass response was particularly good; the track blasted my subwoofer with tight tones and never became distorted or boomy. The track nearly made it to “A” level, as it impressed me.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio showed a bit more range and impact, and visuals appeared a little tighter and cleaner. Even with its mushy side, the Blu-ray still worked better than the DVD – but not by as much as I’d like.

The Blu-ray includes some of the DVD’s extras, and we open with an audio commentary from director Robert Schwentke. He offers a running, screen-specific discussion that looks at the original script and changes made to it, telling the tale and many story issues, casting, extras and acting topics, location shooting, the airplane set, various visual effects, sound design, lighting and cinematography, and making the jump from independent films to studio productions.

Schwentke offers an unusually thoughtful track, as he digs into his decisions and choices with gusto and fleshes them out well. You’ll find little of the standard gushing praise for the film and all involved, as Schwentke instead sticks to the nuts and bolts of creating the flick. This turns out to be a very informative and rich commentary.

Two featurettes follow. Emergency Landing: Visual Effects runs seven minutes, 31 seconds and offers info from Schwentke, visual effects supervisors Gregory Leigey and Rob Hodgson, visual effects producer Henric Nieminen, and seditor Thom Noble. As expected, we learn about the movie’s visual effects here. It becomes a reasonably good overview.

Cabin Pressure: Designing the Aalto E-474 follows. This 10-minute, threee-second piece includes notes from Schwentke, producer Charles JD Schlissel, actors Kate Beahan and Sean Bean, production designer Alec Hammond, and director of photography Florian Ballhaus. This looks at the design and build of the movie’s airplane.

Much of it concentrates on Hammond as he leads us through a tour of the set. We also get some notes about extras and a few other elements connected to the set. It’s a tight examination of its subject.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray, we get a short film called “Jet Stream” under the Blu-Scape banner. This five-minute, 18-second reel gives us a plot-free view of life among the clouds from the POV of an airplane.

Why? I don’t know, as “Jet Stream” just feels like a screen saver. It’s dull and pointless.

Note that the DVD included a five-part documentary called “The In-Flight Movie”. “Emergency Landing” was part of this, but we lose the other four segments. Why? That’s another “I don’t know”, as I can’t imagine they couldn’t fit the remaining 33 minutes onto this Blu-ray.

No one will mistake Flightplan for a seamless thriller without plot holes. Despite its flaws, it compensates with an energy and tension that allow it to prosper. The Blu-ray offers great audio but picture seems bland and we lose some supplements from the DVD. I like the movie but this Blu-ray seems mediocre for the most part.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of FLIGHTPLAN

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