|DVD Angel of the Skies
Run time: 103 min
Director: Christopher-Lee dos Santos
Writers: Christopher-Lee dos Santos
Stars: Nicholas Van Der Bijl, Brad Backhouse, Adam Boys
War is declared and Britain must take action against Nazi Germany if Europe is going to be saved from its ruthless clutches. Determined to beat the enemy Flt. Office Earl Kirk, a young South African pilot, volunteers his services to the Royal Air Force, sacrificing his family, his future and himself in the fight against evil. Whilst in combat, surrounded by bombers and under relentless attack, Kirk must make the decision that could change his and his crew’s life forever. Plummeting through the air, they are forced to leave the safety of their aircraft and parachute directly into Nazi occupied land. Following a South African Pilot, Captain Earl Kirk, who volunteered to fight for the Royal Air Force during the height of Air Marshal Harris’ bombing campaign over Nazi Germany, we are thrust into an action packed story of Kirk and his men’s fight for survival when their bomber is shot down over Germany. Battling to get home to complete their mission and see their loved ones, this RAF crew … Written by Anonymous
Country: South Africa
Release Date: 4 November 2013 (UK)
Not your average war film, but rather an interesting look at the life of commonwealth pilots that served Britain during the war. The visual effects are not as great as many Hollywood productions, but this isn't a Hollywood production. Don't get me wrong, they are rather good on a high definition screen, but I was a little sad to see that the main air battle was short lived. The film is more about a bomber pilot and his crew, and their daring escape from occupied Europe. That being said, after watching the behind the scenes documentary that was also available on the Blu Ray, I have new found respect for the film makers. The director taught himself visual effects and took it unto himself to do all the work alone, for almost three years. One can easily see the passion, blood, sweat and tears thrown into the production. It's reminiscent of the old auteur filmmakers, which we do not see very often. One can not expect all films to have massive budgets and for that I completely forgive the lack of "quality', if you can call it that, in the air battle scenes. Once on the ground, the film takes a different direction and I found the slow pace reminded me of older films I had watched in my younger days. I can see this film will not appeal to a younger audience who are used to the fast paced action scenes that make up the majority of films today. Unfortunately it won't be remembered as one of the great war films, but it was enjoyable none the less. If you're looking for a fast thrill, skip this film, it requires more commitment from its audience.
This is a review that was posted on the Angel of the Skies fan page on Facebook.
"I rather liked the slowish pace in the beginning. I really was able to get to know each character and hence care about them as their various fortunes unfolded. If anything I could have had more character building, only because I occasionally got a tad confused between two of the airmen who looked alike. Overall, a superb and surprising film that manages to capture the allure of those old classic war movies that many of us oldies grew up on. Guns of Navarone, Battle of Britain, the Dirty Dozen. Yet the film has also succeeded in being contemporary. There were moments when it resonated and drew triggers from and with Inglorious Basterds, A delight to watch a 'home spun' film made with such technical expertise with a dead straight storyline with the magical and universal appeal of a boys own adventure novel. My only slight criticism was with the texture of the dialogue which sometimes had a audio quality that seemed not to match the environment it was enacted within. Thanks!" – Andre J Smith
This is a South African made film about some of the former colonies men who volunteered their services to fight for Britain at the hour of her greatest need in the dark days of World War 2. Meet Captain Kirk (yes he is really called that) played by Nicholas Van Der Bijl, in a performance of varying degrees. He leads a motley crew of his fellow countrymen who use such vocabulary as 'cheerio' and 'filly' in reference to ladies. Anyway they are fighting for RAF, Bomber Command and have to go and bomb the bejesus out of Germany etc.
Well whilst over Germany they get shot and have to make an emergency landing and then decide to battle their way back to France and the safety of the British lines, this is set late in the war and Operation Overlord has already taken place so we are well past D Day. What happens next is the story of their journey.
Right, for war film buffs there are a few things wrong with this film, first off the planes are all CGI, which is not a problem as they are all done really well even the Mescherschmitts, with props that look real and proper smoke etc so well done there. Problem is these guys are flying during the day. By this stage of the war the USAAF were doing the daylight runs and the RAF were doing the night runs. And they had fighter escort in the latter stages when this is set and there are none here. They are also flying Liberators which were never deployed to bomb Bremen by the RAF as depicted here. Now you are doing CGI so you could have got a Lancaster or a Wellington even, but still never mind.
The acting is all quite good and the love interest in the shape of Kirky's beloved in good if underplayed Lillie Claire as the neglected and dutiful lover is actually really convincing. This does have its moments and is far from being a bad movie, but factual errors really annoy some people and it is not a real full on 'action fest' especially once the plane goes splat, but I still found a lot to actually like here, hence the rating. If factual errors annoy you then best to avoid, and it was originally released as 'Angel of the skies' in a reference to the plane and not the overblown title we have presented here.
I don't want to flame South African cinema. I've enjoyed several releases from there. I also love a good World War II flying movie. This one lost credibility with me.
I can forgive the CGI flight scenes that look like they came out of a game. Original planes from that period are far too rare and valuable to use to make a movie and special effects don't make a movie. The story makes the movie. Unfortunately the story is what let me down.
There is a phenomena called "suspension of disbelief" in a movie. Unfortunately they literally shot suspension of disbelief quite early. The cliché evil SS officer just blew it away. His actions were utterly illogical. His men didn't point out how his actions directly worked against the Third Reich winning the war.
The evil SS officer was the worst but it wasn't the only logical failure. Over and over I kept thinking "Why would they do that" and "What a wasted opportunity." I sincerely wish them better luck next time.