Remember when spoof movies were organized by talented writers/directors including Mel Brooks, The Zuker Brothers & Jim Abrahams? I’d like to share my thoughts on one of my favorite spoof movies by the latter three that made them a household name is none other than “Airplane!”
Airplane! was released in 1980. (same year The Blues Brothers came out) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. In addition to good reception, the film made enough money at the box office. Airplane! was nominated at The Golden Globes for “Best Musical Or Comedy.” Sadly, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” stole it. Airplane! is considered one of the best (if not the best) spoofs of all time influencing Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Seth MacFarlane & The Farrelly Brothers. A follow up titled, “Airplane The Sequel” came out in 1982 without The Zucker Brothers & Jim Abrahams. Regardless, I think the sequel is underrated. Airplane gained the aforementioned filmmaking trio recognition for raising spoof movies to another level since Mel Brooks’ notable works including “Blazing Saddles” & Young Frankenstein.” The Trio went to make well known spoof movies like “Top Secret!” “The Naked Gun Trilogy” & “Hot Shots!” Don’t forget the sequel, “Hot Shots! Part Deux.”
It doesn’t matter if SPOILERS are present. Airplane has been referenced in other works and is the source of memes. I’ll do my best not to list all jokes.
High & Low Elements
High: Robert Hays, Peter Graves, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Julie Hagerty & Leslie Nielsen all did an excellent job for their respective performances.
Fun Fact: Bill Murray was originally gonna play Stryker. He dropped out to play Carl from “Caddyshack.” Chevy Chase was also onboard, so he did Caddyshack instead.
The Zucker Brothers & Jim Abrahams all did a magnificent job brainstorming wacky ideas spoofing the disaster movie genre. Especially “Airport.” Honestly, I’ve never seen Airport.
Comedy is filled with non-stop visual gags, dark humor, fourth wall breaking, slapstick, memorable quotes, oddball characters and absurd moments that made me laugh so hard. Almost every joke is used as a form of pun. Not poorly done, but well-written.
Elmer Berstein (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, Ghostbusters) orchestrated the soundtrack, matching the movie’s silly tone.
The Pacing is quick yet executed perfectly going from one funny moment to another.
Before the title is shown, first scene pokes fun at “Jaws.” What you’re about to see, indicates you’ll be laughing uncontrollably. By the way, Steven Spielberg wrote and produced “Poltergeist” which also came out in 1980.
Character Development involving Stryker. He must learn to conquer his fear of flying. Thankfully, he managed to overcome his fear.
Each character is unforgettable. My favorite has got to be Johnny. He’s less annoying than Willie from “Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom.”
If you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad,” a young Jonahtan Banks appears monitoring a radar in the control room. Don’t believe me, Google him.
Captain Oveur has a fart scene from eating fish.
My favorite quote from Dr. Rumack is “I just want to tell you both good luck, we’re all counting on you.” I’m giving Leslie Nielsen an Extra Point for delivering the George Zipp speech. You can’t’ forget this classic moment. “Surely you can’t be serious.” “I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.”
Ethel Merman makes a cameo appearance. I’m giving Airplane! credit for introducing me to her. She was also in James Rolfe’s (Angry Video Game Nerd) favorite film “It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World.”
Otto is credited in the film as himself. He also has an IMDb page. Sadly, he only makes one appearance.
The Moral of the movie is never consume airplane food or else it might give you food poisoning.
If you watch the end credits, Charles Dickens is mentioned.
If you own a DVD copy, The Zuckers provide commentary about their experience working on the film. There’s also Pop-Up Vidoes-esque feature you can toggle while watching the entire film.
A Post-Credits Scene is optional.
Low: I couldn’t find any issues. I’m giving the cast and crew an Extra Point for making a flawless parody as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
Airplane! remains as one of my favorite comedies of all time. If you wanna introduce your friends to this classic gem, I strongly recommend it. It’s a shame we don’t have these kinds of parodies anymore. We’re stuck with Aaron Seltzer & Jason Friedberg. The same duo who made god awful spoofs such as “Date Movie,” “Epic Movie,” “Meet The Spartans,” “Disaster Movie” & “Vampires Suck.”