PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual
content, nudity, language and crash sequence.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Alan Alda,
Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale, Cate Blanchett
Miramax Films, Buena Vista, The
Walt Disney Company
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CHRISTIAN MOVIE REVIEW
Aviator is Martin Scorsese’s account of the brilliant, unpredictable
Howard Hughes. It is an extremely interesting, if unorganized, look at
the man who revolutionized air travel, made the most expensive movie of
his day, fought a crooked senator’s unfair attacks, and suffered
from debilitating paranoia and mental illness all the while.
Inheriting a successful tool company from his father at age 18, Hughes
had eccentric plans for his money from the start. His interest in warfare
and aviation led him to make Hell's Angels, an epic about fighter
pilots in World War I. Originally intended to be a silent film, Hughes
changed his mind just before the movie’s release and re-shot most
of it to include sound. These loopy decisions become par for the course,
but the stakes rise.
Leonardo DiCaprio does a great job giving Hughes his fire and intensity.
As Hughes conducts business (he buys a controlling share of TWA Airlines
and strives to compete with Pan Am), he also juggles women. His relationship
with Katharine Hepburn is presented as his longest and most serious, but
after she left him, Hughes pursued a number of young starlets.
The foul language count for this movie is quite high. The obscenities
are relatively light compared to most movies, but there are many strong
profanities (taking the Lord’s name in vain). One scene in which
an airplane crashes is surprisingly bloody and intense. Also, mild sexual
content is depicted, and there are many allusions to the characters’
Howard Hughes led an incredibly interesting and multifaceted life, so
it would probably be difficult to make a boring movie about him. The
Aviator captures much of the drama in his story, but it loses some
structure and organization in trying to cover so many events. One comment
recurred after the preview screening: “It’s all over the place.”
There are also some other small missteps. In the world of abstract art,
one commonly held rule states that if an observer has to wonder if some
part of the work was done intentionally, then the work is partially ineffective.
The Aviator has a bounty of these small moments that make you
wonder – wonder if the actor meant to speak that way, if the scene
was supposed to be edited like that, if the script intended to be corny
for some reason.
Even so, The Aviator is an entertaining, captivating movie.
During the nearly three-hour runtime, no parts strike the audience as
unnecessary or overlong. Scorsese goes easy on Hughes, gliding over his
shortcomings and glorifying him when possible. Some minor bumps prevent
it from being a truly great movie, but audiences who like biographies
or stories about mavericks overcoming the odds should really enjoy this
With the wild Southern accent, a boatload of eccentricities, and a penchant
for bravado and forward-thinking ideas, one can’t help but think
that combining The Aviator with the 1970s movie Network
would yield “The Ted Turner Story.” Maybe we can look forward
to that one in another 30 years or so.
Address Comments To:
Bob and Harvey Weinstein
375 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (323) 822-4100 and (212) 941-3800
Fax: (212) 941-3846
NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine.
For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide
Magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at www.movieguide.org.
Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by
informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing
media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly
movies do best at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide
now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at www.movieguide.org.
The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative
articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise
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