Saturday, December 18, 2010



It was released in 2010, to less-than-thundering reviews, but I CAN'T IMAGINE WHY. You will NOT find a better movie to put you in the mood for the holiday season. You can find it RIGHT NOW at your local video outlet. Don't rent it. BUY IT.

PLOT SUMMARY: The usual collection of irritating, slightly inebriated twentysomethings rent a plane to go to a concert. One of them is a newly-minted pilot, and obviously she has money falling out of every bodily orifice, because how many twentysomethings can you name who can afford to rent a plane for the weekend on top of paying for concert tickets, huh? The others -- who also radiate privilege in their polo shirts and highlighted hair -- are pretty nervous about flying with her, but she assures them repeatedly that everything is under control. They are just starting to settle down and enjoy themselves when BAD THINGS START HAPPENING. Not just a few bad things, either.
>> More negative events you will never see in ANY movie I can think of, not even The Perfect Storm. Whatever happened on board the Andrea Gail in her last hours above the surface of the ocean, at least there were unlikely to be any incidents of bad guitar playing, ODs on Dramamine, malicious destruction of rare comic books or traumatic childhood flashbacks. You got all these and MUCH, MUCH MORE in Altitude. Including a GIANT FLYING SQUID. That's what I said.
>> The pace never lets up in this film! One bad thing happens, then a new bad thing, then another, and a whole new bad thing happens after THAT, and just as you're about to forget the first two bad things that happened, they swim up and bite you in the adze again. Then something new happens that's worse than everything that came before. The whole story goes like this, but somehow it never gets laughable. I kept waiting for it to get all stoopid-ridonkulous, like Final Destination, but it never happened. NOT TOO SHABBY.
>> The characters are so irritating that whenever one of them comes to a bad end, YOU FEEL ALL WARM AND HAPPY INSIDE. Then you turn eagerly to see what befalls the survivors.
>> The interpersonal dynamics are remarkably complex for a movie of this sort, even though every character is virtually a cardboard cutout. I never lost interest in the character development for a second. Who knew a cardboard cutout COULD develop?
>> Freudians take note: Is this GIANT FLYING SQUID, or is he not, the perfect image of the vagina dentata? Maybe I should stop referring to the star of the show as "he." Heh.
>> I loved the unfolding explanation for everything that happened, and I even loved the sappy, soft-focus ending. BECAUSE I KNEW THAT GIANT FLYING SQUID WAS WAITING IN THE WINGS until after the end credits rolled. The forces of PISCATORIAL LOVE that called him forth in the first place ARE STILL RIGHT THERE, and our tentacled friend will inevitably come a-callin'...
>> I love the uncertainty we maintain thoughout the movie. What makes the GIANT FLYING SQUID appear when he does? When he goes, where does he go? Where, exactly, is the plane while all this is going on? Just how long can you fly a plane blind, in a series of uncontrolled ascents and then steep plunges, before you finally hit something? Just how long can the plane fly WITHOUT GAS? How much longer will the pilot abandon the joystick to argue about her childhood issues with her boyfriend? No matter how many answers you get, the questions just keep coming, AND ALL THE ANSWERS SEEM TO DEFY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS.
>> And isn't that what true, pure, piscatorial love is all about? It's as if the Spirit of Squidmas were reaching through the portholes of that embattled little plane, saying, "HAVE NO FEAR -- ALL IS WELL."
>> I hardly need to add that this movie is the perfect, indeed unhoped-for, companion to Dagora, Space Monster. You could make an evening of it -- the kindly tentacles of Santa Squid snaking out of nowhere and ripping away everything you THOUGHT was important. Next thing you know, you're safe in the Roiling Intestine of Dagon...
>> I would watch the Toho feature first, if I were you.

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Anonymous Anarquistador said...

This sounds a little like an Arthur Conan Doyle story I once read, about a Victorian flyer who finds "air jungles" at 40,000 feet or so populated by gasbag monsters. In which case it could be cool. I might want to see this...

3:52 PM  

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