In “The Golden Age Of Hollywood,” wealthy business tycoon, Howard Hughes made a livin’ producing motion pictures, designing aircraft, testing out potential fast planes & earning millions of dollars investing businesses in real estate. At the time, Howard Hughes was the wealthiest man in America pioneering aircraft, motion pictures and invested in businesses. He was also the inspiration of Tony Stark/Iron Man. Before we descend into “The Aviator,” let’s rewind the clocks back to how the movie was conceived in the first place.
It all started in the year 1970 when Warren Beatty wrote a script about Howard’s life story, he was planning to direct and star, but plans went to “Development Hell” until the project was renewed in The 90’s. Steven Spielberg was approached to direct, but dropped out to direct “Jurassic Park” & “Schindler’s List.” In 1997, Miramax were on board to produce, Brian De Palma attempted to attach himself to the project as director with Nicolas Cage starring in the lead role. A year later, Universal Pictures bought the rights to the book, “Empire: The Life, Legend And Madness Of Howard Hughes.” The Hughes Brothers were considered to direct with Johnny Depp as in the lead, but they all dropped out due to Johnny’s scheduling conflicts with “Sleepy Hollow.” In the early 2000’s fresh from the success of “Memento,” Christopher was attached to direct based on another book about Howard titled, “Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos And Letters,” but Chris was rejected when Warner Bros. & Miramax ultimately bought the rights to the book. Martin Scorsese was ultimately to direct with his Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard. Luckily, Chris managed to resurrected the Batman franchise.
The Aviator was released in 2004. (same year Spider-Man 2 came out) It received critical acclaim from critics and movie goers alike. In addition to positive reception, the film made enough cash at the box office. The Aviator went on to earn Oscars at “The Academy Awards” winning “Best Actress,” Cate Blanchett) “Best Editing,” “Best Costume Design,” “Best Cinematography” & “Best Production Design.”
The reason why I wanted to review The Aviator, is because my favorite actor Leonardo DiCaprio is starring in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.” Both The Aviator & Once Upon A Time In Hollywood both take place in Hollywood and they’re also based on true events. Martin Scorsese is serving as an executive producer for the upcoming Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix & Marty’s long time friend/colleague Robert De Niro headlining the picture.
The following review does not contain any potential SPOILERS. If you haven’t got a chance to see The Aviator, feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
High & Low Qualities
High: Leonardo DiCaprio did an excellent job as Howard Hughes. Leo did extensive research of Howard’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD for short) to make sure he’s properly portraying a mental illness in order to avoid Sean Penn’s exaggerated performance as Sam in “I Am Sam.”
Leo also served as an executive producer.
Martin Scorsese did an excellent job directing the biopic. He made sure to take proper liberties from Howard Hughes’s personal & professional life.
Michael Mann co-produced the biopic. He double checked to see if the script stays true to Howard’s life story.
Screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator, Hugo, Rango, Skyfall) wrote the screenplay, he made sure to translate the book “Howard Hughes: The Secret Life” on the big screen.
Several Cast Members such as Cate Blanchett, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Kate Beckinsale, Jude Law, Gwen Stefani, Willem Dafoe, Adam Scott, Frances Conroy & Brent Spiner all did a fantastic job for their respective performances.
Howard Shore orchestrated music for the film.
Cinematography was spot on decent. The filter made the movie resemble an old school Hollywood from The Golden Age Of Hollywood. Marty is a major cinephile when it comes to filmmaking.
Costume Designs felt authentic for the film’s time periods.
Practical Effects were heavily used to bring aircraft sequences to life as actual scale models while C.G.I. was used sparingly. Marty wanted to use scale models to avoid making computer animated planes like Michael Bay did in “Pearl Harbor.”
Production Design brings set pieces to life without using a Green Screen.
Howard was actually born in Texas. As a Texan myself, I have to give this an Extra Point for Leo portraying a real life Texan.
An aircraft known as “The Hercules,” factors in as a specific plot point. At the time, it was one of the most expensive planes ever constructed.
My favorite line is “Show me all the blueprints.” Another good line I also liked is “The way of the future.”
The biopic explores Howard producing motion pictures, his relationship with Katherine Hepburn, purchasing now defunct Trans World Airlines, testing out aircraft, dealing with legal problems & suffering from OCD.
The movie recaptures time periods of The 20’s, 30’s & 40’s. Each one delves deeper into Howard’s professional and personal life as he encounters famous people, trying to overcome his OCD & dealing with a legal conflict with now defunct “Pan Am.”
Chemistry between Howard & Katherine felt organic. Their relationship helped Howard overcome OCD.
Besides Katherine, Howard was also quite a ladies man hooking up with several actresses.
A crash landing scene was pretty gosh darn intense. Howard miraculously dodged a bullet, he managed to survived.
Without giving anything away, as the film progresses, Howard slowly descends into downfall, indicating he’s a flawed individual.
Low: Harvey “Adolf” Weinstein served as an executive producer. This was before he was identified as a registered sex offender.
I’m gonna be honest, I couldn’t identify nothing wrong with this biopic. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a movie as flawless as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
In my opinion, The Aviator is an amazing biopic directed by Martin Scorsese. He hasn’t slowed down. Leonardo DiCaprio did a superb job playing Howard Hughes. Cate Blanchett ultimately won an Oscar for her portrayal as Katherine Hepburn & all the positive things I’ve listed, indicates why The Aviator is a masterpiece. If you’re very excited to see Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, I strongly recommend this picture.