World War I doesn’t get nearly as much attention as any other major war of the 20th century (that registers in American history education). It’s sometimes treated like a forgotten prequel to everyone’s favorite war with Nazis and atomic detonations. While it’s a mentality I’m not at all immune to, it’s worth remembering as the horrific tragedy of old-fashioned warfare at an industrialized pace. There are few symbols more powerful to me than the Douaumont Ossuary, a memorial built to house the remains of over 130,000 young men killed in a single (massive) battle, and that number is just the ones that couldn’t be identified. Small wonder it was thought at the time that this war would make any future wars unthinkable. As centennial anniversaries of milestones in the war are remembered currently, it might be gaining back some respect.
I went into all of that because this movie is positioned as a drama concerning the toll aerial warfare took on RAF pilots, and so hopefully the above paragraph is relevant, even if it was more concerned with terrestrial battles than planes. The big names by today’s standards are Malcolm McDowell and Christopher Plummer, though Peter Firth (whom I don’t think I’ve heard of) gets top billing on this poster. I know McDowell is a major character, but I’m not sure about Plummer.
It occurs to me that “Time travel romance” is rather an oddball genre. I can think of two or three other examples (Assuming The Lake House counts), but it still seems more common than it ought to be, though less than it could be.
This movie somehow reminds me of Time After Time, even though the premise is almost entirely opposite. This is a modern person going back in time for love, the other is about a Victorian coming to the present and finding love accidentally.
Oddly, my conception of Christopher Reeve’s acting style is less from Superman and more from Noises Off! There may be more Superman, but I’ve seen Noises Off! more frequently.
Our culture will probably never get tired of telling stories about Sherlock Holmes. I wasn’t sure if this was an adaptation or an original story until I remembered it was about the Jack the Ripper case, but I’m just looking forward to seeing Christopher Plummer try the role. He’s always interesting to watch, but I don’t think he’s the best at disappearing into a role. Particularly for a larger than life character like Holmes, I expect some scenery chewing.
I was kind of expecting this to be funnier than the show (which I’ve never seen, but am familiar with through homage), but I didn’t know when I first selected Dragnet that it’s intended to be a parody. Maybe if I was a fan of the original show I’d be worried, but Dragnet plays to parody so well I see a lot of potential to be the definitive parody (displacing the Stan Freberg audio sketches).
This movie seems to afford an increasingly rare opportunity to see Tom Hanks do comedy.