No wonder I thought Top Secret! were so similar to Airplane, I didn’t realise the two had the same trio of directors and writers. But after this third re-watch of Airplane, I do believe I prefer the Val Kilmer led piece they provided a handful of years later. But that doesn’t negate how good a movie Airplane is, what with its one liners and smart writing. It’s a classic, and there’s no denying its status in the field of comedy films, but is it as great as people remember it?
Airplane truly suffers from a handful of jokes that are either dated to the point of not making sense or simply misfiring. Top Secret! had enough variety and the quantity of jokes that you were given guaranteed a few uproarious pieces of laughter. But Airplane’s professionalism and polished look makes it feel less of a genuine comedy, albeit one that still manages to pull a handful of hearty laughs. Its performances are great, with some superb pieces shining through from Leslie Nielsen and Julie Hagerty.
Hagerty and Nielsen aren’t the only strong performers here though, the two working nicely with Robert Hays in some hilarious scenes and light parodies of films of the past few years. This is the correct way to do parody, slight nods to another, mainstream film that doesn’t take it to the point of blatantly dumb. Take note, Date Movie. Hays and the rest of the cast do manage to sell these scenes tremendously, more so than I had expected. Their performances manage to hold up after decades, and there’s still no movie that holds quite as many iconic scenes as Airplane.
A one for the ages, a really great comedy that manages to finish on a high note and keep the laughs rolling no matter how many times you’ve watched it. With its direction playing into the jokes in a tremendously great fashion, it’s hard not to have a good time with Airplane and the endlessly predictable, yet satisfying jokes that you’ll spot from a mile away. Recycling material is fine with me if it manages to elicit the same amount of laughter on the third watch.