This one’s a Must-see!

“They’re on instruments” – Rex Kramer.

Hysterical; a top-notch comedy.

Observe, ladies and gentlemen, for this is the movie that Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg want to make and would’ve wished they were capable of creating if they weren’t honestly proud of idiotic rubbish such as Epic Movie and other things they’ve cursed Earth with. Observe, my friends, observe, for this is a real comedy.

Airplane!, created in 1980 by Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker, is a parody of the disaster film genre and almost a word-for-word remake of a greatly silly and unintentionally funny disaster film by the name Zero Hour. Unlike Zero Hour though, Airplane! does not for a moment take itself seriously, and it is thus absolutely wonderful and hilarious non-stop.

Even the plot seems recycled from Zero Hour. A large collection of characters are on an airliner and are poisoned by the food served aboard, specifically the fish. Those affected include the flight captain Clarence Oveur (Peter Graves) and the co-pilot Roger Murdock (Kareem Abdul-Jabaar). This means the plane will crash and kill all passengers unless former fighter pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays) brings her down.

Striker developed a fear of flying after the war, but he still boarded the airliner to get a hold of his old girlfriend Elaine (Julie Hagerty). He must now overcome his fear to save the lives of the people aboard the flight, with instructions from a supervisor at the airport, Steve McCroskey (Lloyd Bridges) and additional help from an old enemy of Striker’s, Rex Kramer (Robert Stack). The cast also consists of Stephen Stucker as a crazed  Air Traffic Controller and Leslie Nielsen himself as a doctor aboard the flight; this was his first comedy role and we all know where he went afterwards.

Lloyd Brisges as Steve (left) and Robert Stack as Kramer.

In terms of dialogue and plot, the film is almost exactly like Zero Hour, but since Zero Hour is such a silly picture, few changes had to be made to make the lines funny, but the few changes are enough to make Airplane! a brilliant satire. This is similar to how Team America borrowed certain things from the laughable Pearl Harbor, just to make the movie more funny.

Each character on the flight is more peculiar than the last; two African Americans who use so much jive slang that they need subtitles, tow children who act like 40 year olds, a little girl who’s about to have a heart transplant, a nun and Otto Pilot as himself.

What makes Airplane! such a wonderful comedy isn’t just the characters, the constant puns or the satire, but how the humour doesn’t stop. Modern comedies – like Adam Sandler-films and especially predictable rom-coms – usually slow down for a while and take a moment to be serious, so that we will care more about the characters and feel emotionally touched and so on. Airplane! thankfully doesn’t work that way. It is absolutely hysterical every minute of the runtime. Even the scenes that are “serious moments” are deliberately cheesy and played for laughs. The best sort of comedies are those that take place in a truly crazy world where the characters are lovable because they’re quirky and hilarious, not because they’re sympathetic and real.

Much of the dialogue is characters misinterpreting each other and making puns. For instance, there is a scene where a character is told to come to the cockpit. He says “The cockpit? What is it?” to which the other character responds by describing what a cockpit is. Then there’s the “Shirley”-scene which we all surely know of.

Airplane! is basically comedy done right. Outrageous and memorable characters, lovely satire and hilarity throughout. They certainly don’t make them like this anymore. Sadly, though, there happen to be two filmmakers who hopelessly try to. *cough* Seltzer *cough* Friedberg

5/5 whatever.