"Airplane!" celebrates its 40th anniversary. The film follows an ex-fighter pilot (Hays) who is forced to take over the controls of an airliner when the flight crew succumbs to food poisoning. The outrageous comedy spoof skewers airplane disaster flicks, religious zealots, television commercials and everything else in its path. (Gary Reber)
Special features include a Filmmaker Focus featurette (HD 08:42) and a Q&A with Writers/Directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker & Jerry Zucker recorded at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood in January 2020 (HD 34:49). Additionally, there is an isolated music score by Elmer Bernstein and a previously released commentary with the writers/directors and Producer Jon Davison. The latter two features are available only on the limited edition Blu-ray Steelbook edition.
The 1.78:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p with greater resolution and luminance, was photographed on film using the Panavision Panaflex camera system and sourced from a 2K master Digital Intermediate format from a remastered 4K transfer supervised by Writers/Directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker.
While film grain is still noticeable, it never appears objectionable. The imagery appears a bit dated. Color fidelity is quite good with strong saturated hues. Flesh tones are healthy looking and diverse in hue throughout. Resolution is excellent with an appealing sharpness overall. Object texture is finely detailed. Clothing fabrics are also nicely defined and complex. This is the best "Airplane!" has looked on home video. (Gary Reber)
The music in the repurposed DTS-HD Master Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack sounds terrific, with a very wide and extended surround presence. Sound effects still sound dated and compressed. There are a lot of sight gags with accompanying sound effects. Dialogue is the primary sound element here and generally sounds clean and intelligible, as well as with good spatial integration overall. Occasionally, there are some aggressive surround effects, such as in the opening scene of the jet moving from front to back, but overall the surrounds are enveloping and not aggressive or directionalized. The music nicely envelops the soundfield, especially the popular music, such as during the disco sequence featuring Stayin' Alive. Bass energy is lacking throughout, even during a sequence of a plane crashing into the terminal. This is a fun movie, full of sight gags and antics that still delivers the laughs after 40 years. (Gary Reber)