Legends of Flight [IMAX 3D] (2010)

(In IMAX theaters, April 2011) I don’t see enough IMAX-3D films on the really-really big screen to be jaded, but not even the glorious 3D picture could manage to overwhelm my growing reservations about the Legends of Flight.  A thinly disguised promotional piece for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner as seen from the designer’s point of view, this documentary suffers from a number of annoyances that distract from its better moments.  On the plus side, there’s footage of the 787 in flight and a Harrier take-off; technical details about the evolution of aviation; and some stunning shots of a Boeing plant.  Alas, the rest of the film features photo-realistic CGI planes superposed over real-life landscapes, painfully cartoonish birds and bees, as well as some dizzying cinematography made worse by the 3D (Legends of Flight has a number of computer-generated transitions moments where the eye tries to focus on objects not meant to be focused on, and the effect can be a bit painful.)  Anyone hoping for a journalistic look at the 787’s conception will be disappointed, as everything is filtered through the Boeing marketing department: the Airbus 380 is dismissed, the 787’s problems are minimized and the entire thing is pompously titled Legends of Flight.  I still had a good time (that’s what not being jaded to IMAX-3D gets ya), but I’ve seen far, far better, starting with director Stephen Low’s own Fighter Pilot – Operation Red Flag.

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