I remember before Amelia was theatrically released there was all this Oscar talk about the movie with Hillary Swank possibly up for her third nomination. The film was released and it mysteriously disappeared like the real Amelia Earhart. I now know why.
AMELIA is the story of Amelia Earhart (Hillary Swank) and her rise as one of the first truly ambitious female pilots. The story follows her as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and how she became America’s sweetheart. She was thrust into the spotlight doing advertising and giving inspiration to women everywhere. In the midst of that she married her promoter George Putnam (Richard Gere) and had an affair with fellow flight enthusiast Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor). She eventually gets the best navigator to join her on an attempt to fly around the world.
As a kid, I always had a tinge of curiosity about Amelia Earhart- she’s from my home state of Kansas, she was a pilot, she disappeared over the Pacific trying to fly around the world and I went to school with a kid who was related to her in some fashion and was learning to fly at a very young age. Those are positive thoughts about a great woman in American History. Now when I hear her name I’m going to think of an extremely boring movie.
The film felt very stagnate without any real driving action or purpose. The characters didn’t have any true development. They were more like cardboard cutouts. Everything seemed nice and safe without any real problems or danger. Even the hint of an affair that Amelia has is glossed over like it wasn’t really any hardship for anyone. The only suspense consisted of the characters talking about how her flight would be dangerous and how she was a thrill seeker, but then it’s her in a plane flying peacefully. I understand there are dangers to flying solo but they are mostly unseen and don’t transfer well visually. In fact, I felt that many times danger was forced into the story. One scene in particular is like a three stooges routine where they keep almost falling out the door of the plane one after the other.
The acting was decent. After looking at old footage of Earhart, Hillary Swank completely looks the part. Richard Gere however, is the one actor who seems to slip in naturally making the character seem more like a real person than what the story provides. Visually the film looks fantastic. Everything pops out and the plane flying in the skies throughout the world were intoxicatingly beautiful like fish in a fish tank only a little less interesting.
The film basically consists of everyone else doting on Amelia and Amelia is happy to accept the compliments. This is a case where the film makers liked their subject so much that they refused to give the character flaws or step back and see what is actually interesting.
Video: The 2.35:1 Widescreen transfer looked magnificent. This was the one major thing the film had going for it.
Audio: The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track was also solid. It was very clean and crisp.
Deleted Scenes (13:53): More pointlessness, however, it is interesting that most of these scenes contain Virginia Madsen (SIDEWAYS) as George Putnam’s (Richard Gere) wife before he married Amelia. Apparently her part got cut from the film. It was definitely needless and took away from any emotion you might feel for the two leads relationship.
Making Amelia (23:06): This is mostly the actors and director talking about Hillary Swank becoming Amelia. The second half is the other actors and their character then the scenery as a character.
The Power Of Amelia Earhart (10:45): Basically all the people involved in the film talk about how great Amelia is and how empowering she was to women.
The Plane Behind The Legend (4:33): “Without the Electra (type of airplane Amelia flew) we would have no movie.” No kidding. This is about the difficulties they had finding and using the plane which was so vital to the movie
Re-Constructing The Planes Of Amelia (6:36): The challenges of making old planes that don’t exist anymore for the accuracy of the film. How they constructed them so they would be easily moveable.
Movietone News Reels: (6:35) These were actual old footage news reels that were played before movies back in the day. They are each extremely short but interesting. I like seeing old footage.