Guess what, 3.5 readers?
I’m a movie producer. Well, I’d like to think so, anyway. I’ve turned so much of my money over to Amazon over the past few years that I’m keeping Jeff Bezos fat and sassy. At any rate, I’m sure the profit he devised from my purchases of socks, underwear and various and sundry household goods went to the creation of this fine film.
It’s about a balloon. The year is 1862 and scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) teams up with pilot Amelia Rennes (Felicity Jones) in a voyage to the heavens to perform groundbreaking research in the budding science of meteorology.
Specifically, James is one of, if not, the first meteorologist and all the other scientists at the science club think he’s a regular doofus burger with extra dumbass sauce and a side of idiot fries for daring to think that one day, scientists might be able to predict the weather. Turns out, his colleagues were right, because it’s 170 years later and the meteorologist on my local TV station can’t tell the difference between a fart and a gust of wind.
Meanwhile, Amelia and her late husband were once a pair of famous balloonists but as it turns out, ballooning, especially in those early days, was dangerous as hell, and spoiler alert, her old man kicked the bucket during a balloon ride. Thus, she’s weary of the idea of going up in a balloon again until James convinces her that she must do it in the name of science, and also, no man with a balloon is willing to lower himself to be a part of what they consider to be James’ balderdash experiments.
Together, they brave the surly bonds of earth and I hate to say it, but a lot of the film looks like they shoved two actors in a basket, greenscreened some sky around them, then dumped some faux rain and snow on their heads but hey, it’s Hollywood. You gotta do what you gotta do.
There are parts where it gets boring, and parts that seem like downright filler. After all, it’s hard to make an interesting movie about history and its even harder to make one about scientific history. Where the flick does get interesting is the harrowing chills, thrills, and spills that occur as this duo get up high and without instruments or any modern equipment, must fix various problems, all the while with little between them and a plummet to earth other than a wicker basket and some rope.
Briefly, Felicity Jones shines as she steps out of her usual stern and proper roles. She starts out as a show woman, entertaining the crowd of those who stopped by to see the duo take flight, but soon becomes a mother hen, dumping gallons of common sense juice all over James’ dumb head as he urges her to take the balloon higher and higher so he can prove himself to be a bad ass scientist.
I assume this is Amazon’s bid this Oscar season so I also assume we can see this movie on Amazon Prime while we shop for doodads and widgets soon.