"The Aviators" Crash and Burn in a Musical Misfire Review

It's time to show these vermin who they're up against.

This is movie is a hell of a thing.  I imagine three lines of coke might evoke similar feelings of mania, disconnection, and exhaustion.  The Aviators (2008) is only just getting its release on blu ray.  The film [I gather, because there were no special features to back this up] is based on the true story of Cher Ami ("Dear Friend") a homing pigeon that saved a great deal of American soldiers in World War I who, pinned down by German forces, began to take friendly fire from their own artillery.  Cher Ami was a hen, and yet is voiced by giant man, Brad Garrett, but that's just a detail.  This is very well animated, with any number of truly artful and slightly disturbing battle scenes.  The severity of those scenes is then completely undermined by the Looney Toons take on the consequences of violence.  Then, of course, is the manic pace and amalgamation of Disney clichés that constitutes The Aviators' manner of storytelling.

The Aviators tells the story of one bird that did a thing in the war through the lens of a completely fictional barn where a cadre of anthropomorphized Disney rip-offs live.  Their accents are, like the plot, absolutely all over the place.  There's the mouse inventor Linberg voiced by a de-Texan'd Jeff Foxworthy.  The female pigeons are French, the male ones are mostly British, German falcons (including the Red Falcon, which is actually pretty clever), and then there's Cher Ami voiced by Brad Garrett.  Whether or not Cher Ami is a female, Brad Garrett is horribly miscast as the voice of anything that is neither disgruntled nor shabby.  The man's voice is uncrushed gravel.  The dialogue...let's not talk about the dialogue or the single, terrible musical number performed in the style of arena rock with lyrics even worse than Frozen (2014).  I talked about the musical number, didn't I.  The sound mix on the Blu-ray was even bad, giving the exhausting score total dominance over the voices.  But maybe that was a blessing.

The author of Cher Ami's Wikipedia page wrote "In this last mission, Cher Ami delivered the message despite having been shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, covered in blood and with a leg hanging only by a tendon."  I don't remember that happening in the movie.  Oh, and it's kind of ironic that a mouse on the side of pigeons call a bunch of falcons "vermin".  I think that might be a reflection of the screenwriter's questionable grasp of English.  Did I mention that the animation was really good?

Blu-ray Bonus Features

There are no bonus features.

"The Aviators" is on sale February 3, 2015 and is not rated. Animation. Directed by Miquel Pujol. Written by Miquel Pujol, Ibán Roca. Starring Brad Garrett, Jeff Foxworthy.

Jason Ratigan • Staff Writer

A lawyer-turned-something-else with a strong appreciation for film and television.  He knows he can't read every great book ever written, but seeing every good movie ever made is absolutely doable.  Check out his other stuff on Wordpress.


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