This remake of the 1965 classic that starred James Stewart and Richard Attenborough is not a patch on the original. With the plot being the same sort of thing and most of the characters the same I had high hopes for this remake, unfortunately it was like watching the Sylvester Stallone remake of “Get Carter” straight after the Michael Caine version. This version of Flight of the Phoenix sees The Day After Tomorrow’s Dennis Quaid in James Stewart’s role as Pilot Frank Towns and in true modern remake style goes completely over the top with the role and spoils it.
The story begins when a plane crashes in the Sahara desert due to a severe sandstorm; with approximately a dozen men and limited water, food and tools, chances of survival after a couple of weeks look very grim. However, one of the passengers claims to be an aeroplane designer and is confident that the group can build another flight craft from the wreckage. So exactly the same plot as the original.
Giovanni Ribisi plays the aircraft designer who (unlike the original) turns out to be psychotic and crazy which again is way over the top in my opinion. Why was this character alteration needed? Hollywood also deemed it necessary to put a woman in there (perhaps for a subtle romance element going on between her and Frank) and it just doesn’t work at all. Now I’m all for equality, but the situation felt very forced and highly unrealistic.
Apart from the special effects, which are obviously superior, Flight of the Phoenix was a waste of time in my opinion. It was an un-necessary remake that changed too much of the original, and turning hapless pilot Frank into a “Jack Bauer” character at the first sign of trouble was an extremely bad move. Hollywood need to leave the classics alone and concentrate on making original ideas instead of ruining the good name of these classics.