Airplane! – Blu-ray Review

Airplane!

 Airplane! isn’t just a comedy classic that popularized the parody genre, but a film that also challenges the cliches found in the disaster films. As you can imagine, Airplane! has plenty to say. Much like David Zucker’s other films (ex: The Naked Gun and Scary Movie 3), Airplane! takes a simple storyline and has gags flying at you a mile a minute. The gags do not always hit, but there are still a ton of gut-busting and iconic jokes that’ll keep you laughing no matter how many times you watch it. 

Yet these gags aren’t just random jokes put in the film to get a laugh out of the audience. You see, disaster films became insanely popular during the 70s thanks to Irwin Allen’s films. Despite the outrageousness of a disaster film’s storyline, these films took itself way too seriously. As a result, the Zuckers deconstruct the genre and highlight the absurdity of these cliches through jokes and gags. After all, what better way to challenge the norm than through comedy, right?

Yet none of this would be possible if it weren’t for the cast that the Zuckers assembled. The directors smartly let their cast run wild with their roles. They allowed them to either play it seriously (Leslie Nielsen) or ham it up (Lloyd Bridges). These ridiculous performances resulted in several iconic one-liners and scenes. With so many absurd things occurring in the film, some actors tend to overact or force themselves to be comedic. The cast’s realistic reactions to everything around them adds to the hilarity of the film. 

Ultimately, Airplane!‘s challenge against disaster films changed the game forever. It became a Trope Codifier for parody films and the final nail in the coffin for the disaster film genre as well. Airplane! was and always will be one of the best parody films of all-time.

Movie Rating: 5/5 atoms

Airplane! - Leslie Nielsen and Julie Hagerty

Video

Airplane! hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Although there’s been a ton of Blu-ray releases out for Airplane! already, the “Paramount Presents” release is a brand new 1080p transfer from a 4K remaster. Once again, this is another great looking transfer from Paramount, but it’s not without its issues. For the most part, the picture is crisp, but there are several scenes where it looks as if the image was artificially oversharpened. Not to mention, there are several scenes where the image looks soft, but this could be due to the source material. 

When it comes to the picture contrast, it’s strong as the depth to the picture is relatively high. This also leads to some bright whites where the highlights from the sweat glimmer off the screen. The film also has a lot of dark scenes, so there are several instances of shadow detail loss in these areas. In general, there is a warm tint to the picture and the colors are full and bold. The film grain is visible, but the grain looks more natural here than in previous releases. Overall, the picture looks great despite some irregularities.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

Airplane! - Julie Hagerty and Robert Hays

Audio

Airplane! hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Although this release has a brand new video transfer, the audio mix is carried over from the previous release. For the most part, this is a very front-loaded audio mix due to the lack of activity in the surround speakers. Sound effects don’t necessarily move a lot across the soundstage. However, it does happen once in a while. At the same time, there is little to no atmospheric immersion within the soundstage, not even in the plane itself. There are instances where the soundstage comes alive such as within the control room and at the airport. The music and score provide the mix with the most activity with its layered and boisterous sound. The dialogue is on the quiet side, so the score and sound effects may drown out the dialogue. Despite the lack of immersion, the audio mix still sounds clear and clean.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Airplane! - Lloyd Bridges and Robert Stack

Special Features

Airplane!‘s Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Filmmaker Focus: Writers/Directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker on Airplane!
  • Q&A with the Directors of Airplane! (Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood – January 10, 2020)
  • Commentary by Writers/Directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, and Producer Jon Davison
  • Isolated Score Track

“Filmmaker Focus” and “Q&A” are great retrospective looks at the making of the film and the everlasting legacy of the film through the mouths of the writers/directors of the film. Abrahams and the Zuckers are all hilarious, so hearing their stories are truly a delight. The commentary is the only legacy bonus feature carried over from the previous releases. The commentary is solid and Abrahams and the Zuckers cover a lot of subjects like the genesis of the film to the casting process.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms


Overall, Airplane! is an absolute classic and reigns supreme as the king of all parody movies. No film since Airplane! has come to the same comedic level as this film. The video transfer looks fantastic, but the audio mix is a little stale. This release of Airplane! features a bevy of new featurettes that should please fans of the film.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1598 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.