Author Topic: George Lucas: 'Red Tails'  (Read 32631 times)

Offline Derrick

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Re: George Lucas: 'Red Tails'
« Reply #105 on: October 28, 2012, 07:32:44 am »
20th Century Fox
Directed by Anthony Hemingway
Produced by Rick McCallum, Charles Floyd Johnson and George Lucas
Screenplay by John Ridley and Aaron McGruder

By now the story is legend.  The Tuskegee Airman, the heroic African-American fighter pilots fought in World War II, earning honor and distinction as bomber flight escorts. So successful were they at getting bomber groups to their targets and back to friendly airspace safely that soon commanders of bomber flights were specifically requesting that they be escorted by the 332 Fighter Group aka the RED TAILS.

This isn’t the first movie to tell the saga of The Tuskegee Airmen.  There’s the HBO movie “The Tuskegee Airmen” from 1995.  In fact, Cuba Gooding, Jr. who stars in RED TAILS was in that one as well.  It’s a story of true sacrifice, heroism and courage that took George Lucas 25 years to bring to the big screen.  And I give him a standing ovation for finally accomplishing that task.  And while I enjoyed RED TAILS for the most part the really great, epic movie about The Tuskegee Airmen has yet to be made.

Over in 1944 Italy, Major Stance (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) struggles to keep his pilots on a tight leash.  Chomping at the bit to see some real action, “Easy”Julian (Nate Parker) “Lightning”Little (David Oyelowo) “Joker”George (Elijah Kelley) “Smokey”Salem (Ne-Yo) and “Ray Gun”Gannon (Tristan Wilds) are fed up with meaningless recon patrols in broken down planes that their chief mechanics “Coffee”Coleman (Andre Royo) and “Sticks”(Method Man) are barely able to keep flying.

That changes when orders come from their commanding officer, Colonel Bullard (Terrence Howard) who has been in Washington battling to get his squadron a real mission.  It isn’t easy dealing with the blatant racism of Colonel Mortamus (Bryan Cranston) who is more than eager to disband the squadron.  But with the help of Captain Tomilson (Lee Tergesen) he gets that mission and The Tuskegee Airmen get their chance.

And while The Tuskegee Airmen are busy making legends, they’re also making enemies in the form of a German ace they know only as “Pretty Boy” (Lars van Riesen) while “Lightning” is making a future life with a village girl named Sofia (Daniela Ruah) he’s fallen in love with and wants to marry.

Despite all of these characters, RED TAILS really skimps hard on the characterization.  Which I suppose is why all the major characters have colorful nicknames.  It helps to keep them straight.  There are is some effort made to show the racism that The Airmen had to confront but it doesn’t seem to go into very deeply.  I get the impression that the filmmakers take it for granted that we know about The Tuskegee Airmen and their struggles against racism and so concentrate more on the action in the sky. 

Not that I minded.  I always appreciate a good dogfight and there’s plenty of good ones here. I give director Anthony Hemingway credit for getting Cuba Gooding, Jr. to behave himself and act like a human being instead of a live action cartoon.  I’m willing to bet that Gooding grew up watching more than his share of World War II movies.  Both he and Terrence Howard have a lot of fun delivering stirring speeches about never giving up and fighting for their country.

So should you see RED TAILS?  There’s a lot to like in the movie.  It’s professionally made and acted.  Just don’t look for much depth in the characters or the historical background of The Tuskegee Airmen and you’ll be fine.

121 minutes

Offline Battle

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Re: George Lucas: 'Red Tails'
« Reply #106 on: March 12, 2013, 05:11:39 pm »
I finally had a chance to re-visit "The Tuskegee Airmen"  on HBO this evening.

A lot of familiar faces (I mean, a lot!) and I don't remember the movie being this rich in dialogue and history! :)

The movie doesn't have the high tech visual wizardry of ILM's work on "Red Tails" but "The Tuskegee Airmen" makes up for it handily with actual stock film & photo footage from 332nd Fighter group.

Offline Mr. Peejay

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Re: George Lucas: 'Red Tails'
« Reply #107 on: March 13, 2013, 10:46:04 am »
I feel bad that I'm not going to read all your posts before I make a reply, for fear I am repeating someone... BUT
Don't you think that the movie could've been better?
The Soundtrack and the score did not reflect the scenes or the time. No Cab Calloway? No Dizzy? No DUKE?!
The film quality was straight Afterschoolspecial/madefortvmovie
The writing was far too predictable, not because I know the history, but how could you NOT know the guy who got the girl was going to die?
The acting was not quite dynamic enough
The mustaches were pretty cool, tho

I was not wowed, but money was dumped into this movie... as if to make up for Jar-Jar Binks.
In some respects, the movie read like it was being told by an actual Veteran of the war, but he left out so many of the details, the raw emotion, the problems at home..The Depth of the characters..
I am way too proud that it was made at all, that our Grand fathers and Uncles were able to have their stories told.


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Re: George Lucas: 'Red Tails'
« Reply #108 on: March 13, 2013, 11:40:24 am »
With movies like Django Unchained I think we are getting to a stage where once these ideas are introduced they can later be revisited down the line with more depth.

Black filmmaking or films featuring a strong black cast can only grow from there.

Sure... This movie could have had an Apocalypse Now edge or the grittiness of Saving Private Ryan as far as actual war goes but we are slowly emerging from the happy go lucky negro spiritual era into one where black characters can be played straight up and truthfully to how they are supposed to be depicted given the circumstances of all out warfare.

At some point when black films open with huge box office draws worldwide and upcoming theaters in Africa can premiere them in mass then the gloves can come off and sky's the limit on any and all drama.

But yes I thought the movie did lack some oomph in key areas and sometimes the actors can play it as if they are just happy to be there as opposed to Denzel's role in Glory where he went hardcore to the max and has yet to be duplicated on screen by anyone.

We'll get there... Which means like the "Blaxploitation" era we may have a run of dominance in filmmaking simply because we have so much held back ready to be released with no compromises to make white execs feel all goody inside!