Movie Review: The Aeronauts

What’s traveling higher than a bird and a plane? It’s a…balloon!? Yes, that’s what the heroes in The Aeronauts are attempting to do. Mind you, it’s the early 1860’s. Give them some credit. Can the aeronauts get it done? Can their story keep you interested? Find out below.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT:

The fictionalized story of a real-life scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) and balloon pilot Amelia Wren’s (Felicity Jones) daredevil task of taking a balloon higher than it’s ever traveled. Together they attempt to challenge history and defy science.

Basically the majority of the movie consists of their balloon trip and the numerous obstacles they encounter along the way in the air. Will they exceed what has been deemed impossible and gain meteorological knowledge, or will this end tragically for them?

HOW DID THE ACTORS DO:

When you pair an Oscar nominated actors, you expect something special. Redmayne and Jones pulled an impressive acting feat in The Theory of Everything, but here they couldn’t replicate the success or performances.

The material just isn’t good enough. They try, but the story noise flushes it all away. Unfortunate that their follow up to The Theory of Everything was this movie. Individually they do fine, but nothing memorable.

SCRIPT AND STORY:

The majority of the story takes place in the balloon. That’s not the bad part actually, it’s that they try so hard to compensate for it by overdoing on the action. The script just breezes (no pun intended) through the set-up, just so it can get to the balloon ride as fast as possible.

The main problem lies in the execution of the action. It’s so comically over-the-top. Superheroes wouldn’t have the agility and ability to overcome some of these hysterics these characters do. Wren slips and slides on top of this giant frozen balloon. She teethers the line of life and death CONSTANTLY. Hanging onto a shattered frozen rope. Not even wincing at the deathly freezing conditions. It’s the kinda stuff Wonder Woman wouldn’t be able to survive.

I may be naive, but you can’t fool me and tell me that these characters can withstand extraordinary air pressure and freezing conditions without any sort of justifiable protection. Redmayne’s face has icicles hanging, but he’s fine folks! Just taking a nap, while Wren does the work. They don’t even need coats or hats to avoid frostbite.

WAS IT ENTERTAINING:

If you’re into some thrilling over-the-top action sequences and battles against survival, then this can be an entertaining movie. It’s a balloon version of Fast and Furious. The outrageous nature the characters are presented as persevering through makes this movie seem much more of a farce than a serious drama, however many of the action movies are presented that way.

The setting defies all odds, but don’t insult me as a viewer by such blatant reluctance to resemble reality. I can play along with make believe, but this was just insulting what the movie does in terms of the characters withstanding impossible human circumstances.

The balloon and the look of the movie looked the part. The blue sky landscape and the changing of weather hit the mark visually. That’s an aspect that can be enjoyed.

SHOULD YOU SEE IT:

Well the big factor with this one is that it’s destined to be streamed on Amazon Prime Video. If you have a subscription already, guess you can justify giving it a shot. You certainly shouldn’t be subscribing to see it.

The story is passable, it’s the execution that’s way off track. It’s surprising that Tom Harper directed it and had a writing credit along with Jack Thorne, because it seems like Harper and Thorne had an idea for a different movie. Whoever grin lit all the outlandish theatrics made a bad call.

The Aeronauts could have been alright, but they forgot they don’t have Iron Man and Captain America as the leads. The production value is good. It looks like it’s a big budget movie. Then reality hits again. It’s one of the more common sense insulting movies that I’ve seen in awhile. The Aeronauts temperature is pretty cold if you ask me.

GENRE: Action, Adventure, Biography

RATING: PG-13

RUNTIME: 1 hr 40 min

RELEASE DATE: December 6, 2019 (December 20/Streaming)

‘THE AERONAUTS’ Score: 40%

Written by Jim Alexander

Jim Alexander hails from Chicago where he started his journalism career as a film critic and founder of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle (CIFCC). He's a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic. Jim founded Reel Talker as a platform to share his love of movies and entertainment. Jim's favorite part of being a journalist is getting to meet and interview actors, filmmakers and entertainers. Jim is a host and on-camera personality for AfterBuzz TV. Aside from his work with Reel Talker, he's the site owner of the Bachelor Universe website, where he recaps and talks about all this ABC's 'The Bachelor'. He also runs the Reel Talker Podcast that can be found on iTunes. In his free time he enjoys attending sports events and playing in recreational leagues. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

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