Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Movie Review: "Stealth"

Just got back from seeing "Stealth", the new movie about the "Naval Air Force of the near future" (EW review here). First, the good: Lots of kewl computer-generated action sequences with loud explosions; Jessica Biel is sufficiently hot; and Jamie Foxx has some good lines. As long as you can suspend disbelief about the plot holes, continuity problems, and stereotypical military characters, it's worth watching when it gets to HBO, if you're not otherwise busy on a Monday night.
Now, the problems, particularly from a "military" point of view (a lot of these problems were similarly shared with "Top Gun", to which this movie could be most closely compared; the main difference is that I actually developed some empathy for Goose, Maverick, and the gang in Top Gun; I felt no such connections with these characters):
1) Once again, we see Navy officers going out on liberty in Service Dress Whites. While Jessica Biel's uniform isn't actually in use now (it's basically the Woman's SDW jacket without the underlying shirt) this is supposed to take place in the future, so I can't fault them. Plus, she looked better. In the similar scene in "Top Gun", at least they were at the Officer's Club on base. Here, they were just out in a civilian place in town. The only time that Navy Officers above the rank of Ensign actually wear their uniforms when they don't have to is when they are part of the cast of "JAG" (which I guess isn't real, either).
2) Movie producers don't seem to grasp that there are officer ranks between Lieutenant and Captain. The three main characters here are all Lieutenants, which is much too junior for people to reach the level of responsibility these characters did. On the other hand, they did better than "Top Gun", in which Goose was a LTjg and attended Fighter Weapons School; aviators don't normally even reach their first squadron until they're almost LTs.
3) The action is supposed to take place onboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), but in one of the stock footage scenes of the ship, you can clearly see that the hull number is 68 (USS Nimitz). Since you're digitally altering everything else, why not at least fix the hull number?
4) As noted above, the setting was the "Naval Air Force" in the near future. Naval Air Force?!? "When I grow up, I'm going to join the Naval Air Force, so I can learn to force air into my belly-button."
5) The bad guy was a standard O-6 Program Director type; actually, that's not really a problem with the movie -- most of those types I knew were fairly evil.

Overall, my rating for this movie is taken from the old Jamie Foxx show "In Living Color": "I give this movie... the finger". My sons, on the other hand, were able to successfully suspend disbelief, and gave it a 4... out of 5.

Going deep...


Blogger ninme said...

Oh my god I can't believe you saw that movie. What about the "moral judgments" line?! As though all bombers (naval or air force or in this case both) are told what their target is and when they get there to make a "moral judgement" about whether or not to proceed. And they were so proud of that line they used it in *every* trailer! Plus the fact the white guy that us white chicks are supposed to think is cute just isn't. Plus I don't think Jessica looks very good in a bikini.

8/01/2005 11:00 PM

Blogger A.A.G. said...

Go and see Operation Red Flag in an IMAX movie. As an O-6 (retired) had commented: "..Good perspective of ALL the folks involved in making a fighter pilot’s mission successful. I’m glad they did it this way and not like Top Gun..."

I would chalk the movie "stealth" as science fiction.

8/01/2005 11:12 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I should go see that one. As far as the "moral judgments" line, I think that one flew right past me; I'm used to all the legal reviews that went on before each mission when I was on the carrier staff that discussed all the same stuff, so it seemed fairly matter-of-fact to me...

8/01/2005 11:37 PM

Blogger Alex Nunez said...

On my DirecTV's TiVO, one of the promos this week is the ability to watch the first four minutes of Stealth. I could not resist.

Of course, all you get to see is the opening sequence of the jets, which are pretty cool-cooling with their forward-swept swing-wing design. Kind of reminded me of the Firefox in the Clint Eastwood flick of the same name.

Something inside me told me that that was about as good as the movie was going to get.

I also remember thinking, "What the hell is the Naval Air Force?"

Oh, and that Nimitz hull number gaffe you mention is pretty inexcusable. Dumb hollywood folks probably thought no one would know the difference. (Actually, that assumes the producers were aware of that little discrepancy to begin with, which may be giving them too much credit...)

Be happy they at least showed an aircraft carrier. LOL.

8/02/2005 12:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more to throw in the pile.

My favorite Navy movie is Down Periscope, if for no other reason, they depicted the most realistic XO.


8/02/2005 7:33 AM

Blogger ninme said...

Bah. Must be a guy thing. I thought the planes looked dumb. Set designs, too. Costume designs, three. Etc. It didn't help that the preview followed me around to every movie theater I entered in the last few months, then popped up on my TiVo as well. I ignored it and watched that voodoo thriller preview just to reinforce the point.

8/02/2005 12:37 PM

Blogger Skippy-san said...

More an more aviators are getting to the fleet as JG's so its not out of the realm of possibility for Goose to go to Topgun, but I doubt it......

I was an Ensign when I got to my first squadron.

8/02/2005 2:26 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

They must have finally figured out how to plan ahead in the aviation school commands, then. I used to get really cheesed off hearing the stories of the aviators phone mustering twice a week while waiting eight weeks to class up. I think I only saw of couple of JGs in the squadrons on the Stennis, but that might be because they didn't want to send newbies to an air wing that was just about to deploy.
Speaking of newbies: This one new pilot shows up on the ship, and they tell him he needs to help the crew "calibrate the platform cameras"; they stick him in front of the plat cam and tell him to make all these weird faces; of course, he doesn't know it's being transmitted throughout the ship. His new call sign: "Plats".

8/02/2005 5:03 PM

Anonymous Shadow said...

Service Dress Whites???!!!! Sure they look slick, but they must also have a pretty nifty Future Laundry(TM) to go with it if they're cruising around in them (I had several die in mess night festivities, expensive fun). I vaguely remember a show called Emerald Point NAS from back in the 70s(?) where all the Os ran around in SDWs all the time. I think that it was common practise on big ships, like BB/CA, to wear them for dinner, in the 1930s but the practise went out, like cocked hats and shoulder brush epualettes, during WWII.
People on the outside develop some very peculiar ideas about how the Navy operates and lives, exacerbated by Hollywood.

8/22/2005 4:22 PM


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