Reviews

Airplane! Special Collector's Edition

5

Adjust your popcorn to its full and upright position - you're in for a first-class ride. In true Airplane! style, this collector's edition even manages to cram a sniggersome visual goof in before the root menu has loaded. (It takes two attempts for the iconic 'plane in a knot' logo to spin up onto the screen: the first effort, quickly terminated by a screeching of brakes and a rapid retreat, flinging a particularly seedy-looking jazz mag up onto your telly.)

When we do finally start taxiing down the runway, it takes a fair few minutes just to stop gawking at the gorgeous menu screen itself - an animated version of one of those horrifyingly placid in-flight safety manuals, replete with mocked-up versions of some of the movie's most enduring sequences (hysterical women and slap-happy nun, Ted Striker's crotch-thrusting 'Stayin' Alive' boogiedown).

And so to take-off. Twenty-six years on, Airplane! itself is, of course, precisely what it always was: without doubt one of the funniest movies ever made. The holy writer/director trinity of Zucker/Abrahams/ Zucker (Naked Gun, BASEketball) is on world-beating form, their gag-a-second tour de force, a rib-cracking blueprint for the sheer pace and variety that have made The Simpsons and Family Guy what they are today. The extras (or 'Safety Features', as they're labelled here) don't exactly require an airbus of their own, but the quality is sky high. A typically droll commentary from the writer/directors and producer Jon Davison rattles along at a fair old lick, while a busy trivia-track option spatters the screen with a blizzard of "Well-I-never" info boxes and "Ooh, that's HIM!" extra-tracking pointers.

The real fan-pleaser here, though, is the "Long Haul Version", which rolls the movie as normal but segues off every couple of minutes into a deleted scene or talking head interview (pleasingly, both cast and crew pitch in with plenty of behind-the-scenes nose-tapping). To paraphrase drug-addled air traffic controller McCroskey (the late, great Lloyd Bridges), it looks like we picked the wrong week to quit '80s comedies. This is anything but plane.

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    • AnneFay

      Nov 17th 2008, 9:49

      5

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