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So when I first started seeing the previews for Columbia’s new movie Stealth, my first thoughts were pretty much along the lines of “Wow. That looks bad.” I was expecting a CGI fluff piece, and I was sorely disappointed to see Jamie Foxx following up stellar performances in Ray and Collateral with something that seemed pretty brainless.

But while Stealth is still basically a CGI fluff piece, it manages to be an enjoyable, loud, and, in terms of the CGI, beautifully done fluff piece.

The basic premise is this: it’s the near future, and the Naval Air Force has teamed up 3 of the best pilots they have to form an elite fighter group, who pilot the most advanced planes in the air. They are joined by a computer controlled craft, who will train with them, and learn from them. But of course, things go wrong, and their new wingman becomes a new enemy.

There is a lot more to the plot of the movie than the trailer would have you believe. It extends beyond the ‘bad robot’ bits that the trailer shows, and there is a human factor that ups the movie from summer schlock, though there are plenty of things that drag it back down.

We have characters that are interesting and well played by actors like Josh Lucas and Jessica Biel, but still very stereotypically shown, and not very well developed. They’re pilots and military, so we get the bad military jokes and behaviors, including the flyboy strutting and womanizing. Our real villain (who will remain anonymous, so as not to spoil anything) also plays it by the book, in terms of what he’ll do to keep things quiet.

Some of the smaller events in the movie are a bit hokey, and the entire first part of the movie is what you expect from the trailer. It’s really the second half of the movie where things get interesting, with a few plot twists, mixed in with a few gimmicks, and while there is some predictability, you get a kind of satisfaction from it, not disappointment.

The best part of the entire movie is, of course, the special effects and CGI. There are a lot of pretty explosions in Stealth (something I think Rob Cohen, the director, is very familiar with), and they are fantastic to watch. What little testosterone I have in my body enjoyed every single explosion immensely.

But what I enjoyed even more were the CGI fighter jets and the fight sequences involving them. They were incredibly realistic, beautifully rendered, and just spectacular to watch. They keep most of the physics of flying intact, and while you do have to suspend disbelief just a tad, it’s really worth it. Honestly, some of the best visual effects I’ve seen in a very long time make Stealth worth seeing on the big screen.

There are actually elements of the movie that make me want to compare it to the video game movies we’ve been seeing lately. It has that same level of depth to it. Not a lot of character, not a lot of plot, but a ton of special effects that are meant to carry the movie. Really, watching the entire movie though, I could easily see this as a mission based flight simulator game. And a fun one too, but one where the gameplay graphics translated to screen beautifully, but the story got lost along the way.

Overall, Stealth is your basic summertime explosion flick. Lots of guns and noises for the boys, and a bit of romance for the few ladies they might want to draw. It’s fun, but it’s also a no brainer.

But I have to say… it’d make a fantastic video game.


Erin Frost

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