I'll be the first person to admit that I absolutely hate flying and do so only when there is no other alternative for travel. In my few excursions in the air I've encountered a few different types of flight attendants and honestly it puzzles me how anyone would want to do that for a living. Having customer service experience of my own I know how finicky the public can be, let alone at over 30,000 feet. I found myself fascinated with the TV show Airline and the stuff that the air staff has to deal with on a day to day basis. With that in mind I found myself sitting down to watch The Aviary and from my experience it seems to be a fairly truthful look at the life of an airline attendant.
The Aviary is a relatively low budget film written by Abe Levy and a woman named Silver Tree (yes that is her name) who used to be a flight attendant herself. The movie was picked up by Fancy Films and saw some theatrical releases plus a DVD edition. A small budget begets no big name celebrities and for the most part the cast here is made up entirely of TV and some film actors that you may have seen around. I do have to say though that for the most part the cast does a wonderful job portraying the hectic life of the flight attendant.
The film revolves around an attendant named Summer Pozzi (Lara Phillips), who is looking for love in all the wrong places. She kind of fell into her career and always dreamed of marrying a captain ever since she was a little girl. Summer finds herself in a failing relationship and winds up taking a transfer to another route. She packs up her life into two suit cases and flies her way to San Francisco where she is to live with some other flight attendants.
Her mother constantly calls her with complaints of her failing health, but Summer tends to brush those off and is focused on her job and the quest for love. Throughout the course of the movie things are put into perspective for her and she's forced to take a long hard look at her life. She has sacrificed everything to do what she does and yet her search for love continues. The character goes through a lot of changes during the course of the movie and it turns out to be a very emotionally charged tale about commitment and passion.
While I found The Aviary to be a fantastic look at the seemingly lonely and stressful life of a flight attendant, I couldn't find myself liking Summer all that much. Yes I grew to semi-care about her by the end of the film, thanks to Phillips' great performance, but the character is unlikable. The first impression we get of her is her dumping her boyfriend because he decided he didn't want to fly planes for a living. That comes off as rather shallow, but the next impression we get of her comes when she has sex with the next guy she meets only to give him the cold shoulder when she realizes he's not a captain. She ignores her ill mother's attempts to talk to her and blows off her "friends" to cater to her own fancies. Her character eventually comes around a little bit towards the end, but for the whole of the film she's a very self centered person.
Summer is surrounded by a relatively enjoyable cast of characters and they mostly stray from being one dimensional. It's thanks to the rest of the characters that share the screen with her that the film works. Another element that I enjoyed about the movie was the way it was shot. There are a lot of creative camera angles and scenery shots that are used, not to mention the amount of locations filmed.
All that being said the movie is pretty entertaining and charming in its own way. I would imagine that The Aviary would appeal mostly to people who have worked in the airline industry and could appreciate the depiction of the lifestyle. It's a different take on a romantic comedy and there are enough dramatic elements that fans of the genre may want to take a look.
The Aviary is presented with a widescreen transfer and features some spotty image quality. For a low budget film the video looks pretty good but the DVD does have some flaws with the presentation. There is quite a bit of pixilation that appears in the darker scenes, some edge enhancement is predominant and in many parts there is a fine layer of grain covering the image. The reel is clean of specks and the image remains sharp for most of the time, but there are a few moments when it can become soft. The color palette remains strong for the bulk of the feature and it only looks saturated in a few parts.
The audio is fairly barebones for this release and it offers some varying quality. There is some slight use of directionality but for the most part everything comes from the front channel. The audio is crisp and clean although there are times when the volume will radically change and bounce between soft and obnoxiously loud. English is the only language option and there are no subtitles. Overall though the sound is acceptable but nothing spectacular when it comes right down to it.
Aside from some filmographies for the cast of actors there really isn't anything else on the disc in terms of special features. Considering this disc hasn't seen major release and is pretty much only available through its website it's understandable. It would have been nice if there were some outtakes or a behind the scenes feature or commentary by Silver Tree about her experiences as a flight attendant.
The Aviary is a cute and entertaining film that unfortunately suffers from some issues that mostly stem from the characters. For the bulk of the feature Summer is entirely unlikable with her selfish and sometimes bitchy attitude. I found myself warming up to her by the end of the film, but that's not until she goes through emotional fallout. The story is a lot of fun and the rest of the cast of actors supports it well. This DVD appears to only be available through the movie's website and offers a pretty barebones transfer, but is pretty much the only way you're going to see the movie.
It's an enjoyable watch though I'd say it would be better suited for those that work in the industry. Recommended
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