HTF REVIEW: National Geographic: Air Force One

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Herb Kane, Aug 5, 2003.

  1. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

    May 7, 2001
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    National Geographic: Air Force One

    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Rated: Not Rated
    Film Length: 60 Mins.
    Aspect Ratio: Standard – Made for TV (OAR)
    Audio: DD 2.0
    Subtitles: None

    The Feature:
    National Geographic presents a companion piece to Inside The White House with this documentary on Air Force One. Seen as simply an extension of the White House and the Presidency, Air Force One is truly an amazing aircraft. Air Force One not only carries the President but carries the power of the American ideal. She has borne Presidents through victory, defeat and even death.

    Housed at Andrews AFB, this 747 and her twin sister, stand ready and waiting at a moments notice for a call to duty. Known as “Angel” to her flight crew and mechanics, she will not be known as “Air Force One” (call sign for the President) until after the President boards.

    As in the White House documentary, this documentary centers on the Clinton Presidency during the 2000 Presidential election. We board a flight with the President on a 3 day, 6 stop, 5300 mile journey to California and New Mexico where the President will be attending local campaign events, fundraisers and a dedication ceremony. We don’t, however, follow the President; we remain with the flight crew to discover the inner workings of Air Force One.

    We are treated to old video footage of previous Presidents and historic flights taken. From the first flight during WWII, to the assignation of President Kennedy, the final flight of President Nixon returning home in disgrace, and all that came in between and after, Air Force One has been an integral part of the Presidency. Former Presidents Carter, Reagan, and Bush Sr. share with us, some of their personal memories aboard the aircraft.

    Eventually, there is one final flight that all Presidents must take. The final flight home…

    In a word... disappointing. When the special started, the opening credits looked very impressive. Once they ended and the documentary commenced, the image looked exceptionally grainy and disappointing. Colors however, were vibrant.

    I did hear some static during a few of the interviews (which looked like recent interviews). At times, the mains (for mostly front surround scoring) was mixed slightly higher making the center dialogue (at times) difficult to hear.

    Special Features:
    Once again, we’re not provided with many extras on this disc. From the main menu, we have an option entitled Interactive Photo Tour. Once entered, we have the option of clicking on the following categories:

    -Press Room
    -Presidential Office
    -Secretary’s Area
    -Presidential Bedroom
    -Conference Room

    There is nothing more than a single photograph for each of these subjects. Hardly worth the effort.

    Finally, more advertising. The last extra feature is “Experience National Geographic”. During this selection there are 3 options we can choose. Those being: 1. - A montage of various photos and clips; 2. Website Experience - this merely shows the web address and additional clips; 3. National Geographic Channel - advertising and more clips.

    Final Thoughts:
    I wouldn’t say this was one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. Halfway through the disc, I was left with the impression there wasn’t much else to talk about, and as a result, much of the discussion seemed to focus on Presidential experiences which would have been fine, had they been pertaining to the subject at hand. In light of the topic (and having just finished the White House review) it certainly could have been incorporated into that documentary. Over the years National Geographic has brought to us many fine documentaries, unfortunately, this isn’t one of them.

    Release Date: August 12th, 2003
  2. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

    Mar 7, 2002
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    That's sad. I've always been interested in Air Force one. I hope at least they talked about the capabilities of the aircraft, some insight on procedures of security and the like. As much that could be told at least.
  3. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

    Feb 4, 2002
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    For a 50% lengthier documentary on AF1 (90 min.), you might prefer THIS program.

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