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ALTITUDE - Blu-Ray Movie
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The film's fails on most levels, but a production begins and ends with a strong script, and this film simply didn't have it. Characters have to be likeable in order for us to care about their fate, and these 5 are very often cartoonishly obnoxious. I didn't care that their lives were in danger. In fact, I couldn't wait for them to be killed off.
There are some films that are so bad, they're good. This one isn't. It's so bad, it's bad. Even clocking in at 82 minutes before the long 8 minute closing credit sequence, it feels long and ponderous in most places.
Not even worth a rental.
Five friends--Sara (Jessica Lowndes; The Devil's Carnival, The Haunting of Molly Hartley), Mel (Julianna Guill; the Friday the 13th remake, The Apparition), Cory (Ryan Donowho), Bruce (Landon Liboiron; The Howling: Reborn) and Sal (Jake Weary)--set off on a trip together on a six passenger plane piloted by Sara, whose mother died while piloting a six passenger plane (dun dun dunnnnn!). As we meet these late teens we find an immediate sexual triangle between Sal, Cory and Mel (who's dating uber-jerk-jock Sal). Bruce is Sara's out-of-place friend-with-benefits who is suspiciously squirrely before getting on the plane--feels like the opening of Final Destination (2000), doesn't it? They play out the various forms of teen angst well and clique-like jabs vying for top alpha dog status start almost immediately--still feeling like the Final Destination series.
Just as the bro-jibes start to hit a little too hard for comfort and the boy-girl tension starts rising there is a malfunction with the plane preventing them from descending. Then, as if it came out of nowhere, they get trapped in a dark cloudy superstorm at high altitudes and now communication and navigation instruments are disabled as well. Already, this film feels like a disaster film where the greatest downfall is the decomposition of social unity of the group... Sort of Lord of the Flies takes flight.
The problems continue to add up: distrust among the teens heightens, the jerk jock Sal is drunk and thinks he sees some "thing" in the clouds, they're losing fuel for some reason, they have too much cargo, they're lost, two of them get into a fist fight, another has a panic attack, another overdoses on drugs, and if they try to descend through the dark clouds to put an end to all this nonsense they just may hit a Canadian mountain and die! But when the wings ice up in high altitudes and someone "has to go OUTSIDE" to manually fix the rudder-thing that is jammed and forcing them to ascend yet higher they finally work together. But, hold on. Some teenager is gonna' FIX the plane wing while dangling outside of a plane soaring through a storm? Huh!?!? Well, this leads to "quite a realistic" scene which, in no way, made me glad I gave this flick a chance.
The movie progresses (or, degenerates) and these teens start to die one by one--like ya' do. As if we needed anything else to compound these kids' fate, Sal sees "the thing in the sky" again. Yup, the tentacled thing that was spoiled for you the moment you saw the movie poster or blu-ray cover. Evidently there's a gargantuan flying squid monster up there with them. How it flies, I have no idea!
Anyway, after fixing the plane--oh, right, the teenager fixed a plane wing with a few dedicated kicks--so it can finally descend they somehow fail to see the ground after 20 minutes! How high were they? If they weren't panicking yet, now it's really setting in. They start throwing around crazy hypotheses like they're part of an experiment, they've been drugged, or it's all a dream. Thankfully this brainstorming session is interrupted by the thunderous rumblings of the sky kraken.
At this point the aero-octupus is trying to kill them and they're trying to kill each other. It's anybody's game really.
So what's going on here? The reason this is all happening to them is unspeakably stupid and what saves the final survivors is somehow upsettingly yet STUPIDER. The action finale against the flying octopus should aggravate any and all viewers on the basis of physics, gravity, silliness, and the fact that a skinny teen was in a tug-of-warring stalemate against a 50 ton airborne octopod. I'll repeat that last bit even though I'm giving the "big scene" of the movie away here...a teenager pits his strength against something over 500 times his size AND TIES in a tug-of-war.
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?!?!? If you thought that an entire movie filmed in the space of a six-passenger airplane was destined to fail, you were right!