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BMZ Review: Legends of Flight 3D
By Ann Coates


Boeing chief test pilot Mike Carriker in the cockpit of a vintage Constellation. Copyright 2010, Jetliner Films Inc. / The Stephen Low Company

Legends of Flight 3D
Written by: Ann Coates
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: October 19, 2010


Category: Reviews

Legends of Flight 3D, the latest Giant Screen offering from veteran filmmaker Stephen Low, tracks the design, production and ultimate flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  The film incorporates the story of the Dreamliner with sequences on other legendary aircraft, revealing how past airplanes influenced the creation of Boeing's latest airliner.  With a plethora of planes, the film is sure to delight aviation fans, but the draw for general audiences may lie more in the simulation of flight via the grand IMAX scale.

The film follows Boeing chief test pilot, Mike Carriker, through the process of creating a modern airplane.  Despite having flown more than 100 airplanes, Carriker still exhibits a giddy enthusiasm for aircraft and flying.  It is through his eager and knowledgeable eyes that the audience learns of the inside workings of building an airplane.

But before the plane is actually built, Legends first takes a look at aviation history and how past plane designs influenced the building of the Dreamliner.  Classic planes like the Stearman Biplane and Harrier jet get their screen time; the audience is introduced to the piston engine and the eventual progression into the more powerful and efficient jet engines.  Some beautiful flight sequences abound, particularly the smooth flight of the Schleicher Glider as it floats above snowy mountain peaks.  Perfect for the 3D IMAX venue, the flight portions of the film utilize the epic and immersive scale of IMAX and 3D to its utmost.  For the most part, planes such as the Biplane and the Super Constellation fly nicely and work well in the film.  The flight of the Harrier jet, however, looks awkward and obviously digitally incorporated into the background.  Only a slight disappointment in what could have been a spectacular image.

The film doesn't forget how huge the IMAX screen is either.  And this is played out well when the audience is introduced to the massive A380.  Incredibly big, one of the A380's gigantic engines hulks over a tiny crewman as he inspects the A380's wing.  The plane's flight at the Paris Air Show also demonstrates well the continuing fascination people have with aircraft as the Parisian crowd oohs and aahs during the A380 takeoff.

Although the film boasts many jaw-dropping airborne sequences, it is also incredibly tech-heavy.  Legends nevertheless provides a simple means to understand the intricate and difficult subject of airplane construction.  Using an interesting animation style called SANDDE, Legends delves into the actual design of the Dreamliner.  SANDEE Animation is a precise, very linear style which is well suited to communicate the design of modern aircraft.  The audiences sees the inner workings of piston and jet engines, and such ground-breaking technology like the smart wing used in the Dreamliner.  The film also incorporates another animation known as CAD CAM which isn't as pretty as SANDDE, but it allows the audience to fly through the skeleton of the Dreamliner, a peek into the interior of an airplane seldom seen.

Much of the technology-driven aspects of the film is a good source of education for anyone interested in engineering  and science.  Though these scenes may come off as dry to the general public, the film doesn't forget it's also there to entertain as seen in the many beautiful flight visuals.  The drama of the film lies in the production problems and the delay-ridden story of the Dreamliner.  Under grey Pacific Northwest skies, the plane does eventually fly in a bit of an anticlimactic takeoff.  Nevertheless Legends of Flight shines when it's airborne while revealing some interesting insights into the interior world of airplane design.

Movie Reviews by Ann Coates

Amazing Mighty Micro Monsters
A Beautiful Planet
Asteroid: Mission Extreme
National Parks Adventure
Wild Africa
Living in the Age of Airplanes
Journey to Space
Humpback Whales 3D
Robots 3D
Antarctica: On The Edge
The Great Apes 3D
Dark Universe
Tiny Giants 3D
Antarctica's Penguin Emperors 3D
Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland
Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet 3D
Penguins 3D
Space Junk 3D
Dinosaur Passage to Pangaea
Flying Monsters 3D
Rescue (3D)
Cosmic Journey: Through Hubble and Cassini
Born to Be Wild
My Dream 3D
The Little Prince
Tornado Alley
Waking the T. Rex: The Story of Sue 3D
Magic Journey to Africa (3D)
Furusato: World Heritage Sites Viewed from Space
Legends of Flight 3D
Inception: The IMAX Experience
Arabia 3D
The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey
The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D
Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience
Molecules to the MAX!
Monsters vs. Aliens: An IMAX 3D Experience
Under the Sea 3D
Van Gogh: Brush With Genius
Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta
Mysteries of the Great Lakes
The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience
Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk (3D)
Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure (3D/2D)
Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia (3D/2D)
Dinosaurs Alive! (3D/2D)
The Alps
Hurricane on the Bayou
Ride Around the World
Greece: Secrets of the Past
Wired to Win: Surviving the Tour de France
Deep Sea (3D/2D)
Vikings: Journey to New Worlds
Mystic India
Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag

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