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*** Official THE AVIATOR Review Thread (1 Viewer)


Supporting Actor
Jan 10, 2001
Los Angeles, California
Real Name
Gerardo Paron
I’ve never been a big fan of Martin Scorsese. While I recognize that he’s a visual genius, his films, with the sole exception of GOODFELLAS, almost invariably leave me cold, as if they’re too cerebral, maybe even too subtle.

That all changed today with THE AVIATOR, which I saw at a screening.

I was simply blown away by it. THE AVIATOR is one of those movies where there’s a perfect convergence of talent, from the director to the script, the cast, the acting, the cinematography, and every department you can think of.

I’m a convert.

Of course, that may be because THE AVIATOR is, in a sense, not a typical Martin Scorsese picture. At least it’s not the kind of film I would expect from him. It is, for sure, the kind of big-scale spectacle that Hollywood does best and, in his hands, it’s brought to life with passion but also with amazing ease. If he doesn’t get his Oscar for this – in fact, if this picture doesn’t get a bunch of Oscars – they should close the Academy.

I almost always find Scorsese’s movies too long but, at 168 minutes, this movie is just right. The script is dark where it needs to be, but it’s also light and witty, and moves like a breeze. In many ways I didn't really want it to end.

One of my biggest concerns going in was the casting. I had seen pictures of Cate Blanchett and Kate Beckinsale as Katherine Hepburn and Ava Gardner and thought, “Uh-uh, they don’t look anything like the originals.” It turns out, Blanchett gets some of the best lines in the movie and she’s so enthralling, I didn’t care that she looked like Cate Blanchett. And Beckinsale, while nowhere near the female Gardner was, looks ravishing and completely captures the idea of who Gardner was.

But there’s so much more to this movie than this, and you gotta see it for yourself.

Personally, I’ll be the first in line to see it again when it opens.

Robert Crawford

Senior HTF Member
Dec 9, 1998
Real Name
This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Aviator". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.


Dave Hackman

Stunt Coordinator
Jan 11, 2000
Good golly where do I start? What is the deal with Leonardo’s characters, do they all have to drink large quantities of milk? Does he have some clause where he gets paid by the bottle? I don’t know who looks younger Leonardo or Portman any possibility of these two in a remake of Flowers in the Attic?

Lets get on with this film; I would consider this movie a watch movie. At some point during this film you glance at your watch to see how much longer till it’s over. I clocked out at 2:15 min, which is pretty much where it needs to be edited to the senate hearings. To be honest the story is very interesting but just to damn long and overdramatic to be anything but a pompous drag.

The look of this film is horrible and doesn’t look real at all and I wouldn’t want to see this on DVD because it can only make your display look like a waste of cash. The sound with all its old-timer hokey music is good for those over 60 but just looking at those fools and their gay attitudes playing those tunes made me sick. I don’t think Leonardo looks older then 13 throughout the entire film and him impersonating Jesus is just sacrilegious. Did you see his personal theater room? It’s 4:3 for gods sake no wonder he was loosing his mind.

I can see this movie on DVD being played at all those preppy home theater stores with there stuck up attitudes and their million dollar puppies belting out the very infrequent plane scenes and possibly slipping in a good 10 min stuttering/hammering Leonardo scene for those who may purchase a center. I say see it and decide for your-self.


Eric Portelance

Jun 1, 2004
I certainly enjoyed it very much. While I don't think it's a masterpiece, there are some brilliant scenes, some great acting, and superb direction.

Dave, I'm not sure anyone alerted you...but this is a period film. It's sort of normal that there's "old-timer hokey music". I'm 18 and didn't mind it at all...anything else wouldn't have been quite as fitting if you ask me. I would have been dissapointed with something like a John Williams score. The look of the movie is also very interesting. Their choice to use old Technicolor stock is quite different and I think it certainly yields some nice results. While it's not the crisp mimic of reality that you'd like, it's a stylistic choice which is still appropriate for the film. I think fans of the technical aspects of film will appreciate the unique look Scorsese has given this movie. As far as your comment about the 4:3 screen goes, I don't know whether you're just ignorant or what. Are you not aware that there were no wide ratios in the 1930s-40s?

Overall I thought it was one of the more enjoyable films I've seen this year, and while it has its flaws, it's certainly worth seeing.

Edwin Pereyra

Senior HTF Member
Oct 26, 1998
In his lifetime, Howard Hughes had many accomplishments. When he died in 1976, he had amassed a $2 billion estate primarily from his airlines, an aircraft company, RKO Studios, several hotel casinos in Las Vegas, mining properties, a tool company in Texas, a medical research institute and various real estate holdings. In addition, Hughes had to suffer with his bouts with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

To do a biopic on a man with this kind of life story is quite daunting. However, Martin Scorsese is one of Hollywood’s legendary film directors who can still take on such a project. Still, Scorsese would only focus on the 20-year span of Hughes life starting in the late 1920’s through the 1940’s. To focus on this period in Hughes life is quite fitting, as it is also the time that he was mostly active in aviation – the love of his life.

The Aviator is one of the best biopics in more than a year. Martin Scorsese gives his all from working with such a large cast to bringing out the best from his leading actors. Much like he did with Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull and Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York, Scorsese inspires his lead actors to own their characters. Leonardo DiCaprio is no different. He is excellent as Hughes. In addition, there’s Cate Blanchett who not only impersonated Katharine Hepburn but personified and embodied her in a very memorable supporting role. Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda and Ian Holm round out a well-conceived supporting cast. Scorsese uses everything at his disposal to recreate this period piece including the use of two-color system (Technicolor).

This is a sweeping biography of an interesting and yet eccentric individual who has left his footprint in American history. While the first hour could use some trimming, it quickly livens with the introduction of Katharine Hepburn’s character. From there, it breezes by. The story is certainly not all encompassing even if it only covers about 20 years of Hughes’ life.

In my view, certain events Scorsese decided to leave out are not that significant. Certainly, no biopic can cover all the living aspects of its subject. What is important to me is that it is not revisionary and that no other elements were added only for dramatic effect making the picture grossly inaccurate. Hughes first mental breakdown in 1944 was sufficiently covered in some detail and the film’s ending is a precursor to how Hughes will live the last twenty or so years of his life – in seclusion and fighting a mental disorder.

The Aviator is a film that excels in many areas including acting, screenplay, production values, period detail, visual effects and costume design. It is from a director who loves cinema and movie-paying audiences and film buffs worldwide are all the more better off for it as we can still enjoy the fruits of labor of a legendary film director.



Senior HTF Member
Feb 8, 2001
Real Name
The Aviator - :star::star::star::star:

some studio fella once said to John Ford in the middle of a shoot that they were two days behind schedule. Ford calmly took the shooting script from him, ripped two pages out of it and snarled, "Now we're back on schedule!"

See that's the thing about the Aviator, it has this apocryphal beauty that's more about telling all these little stories about Howard Hughes and Scorsese is such a complete master that it comes off as a brilliant and perfect piece of filmmaking. Scorsese has printed the legend on Howard Hughes and it's everything you could want it to be without ever really reaching for something transcendent.

However this is the best edited film I've seen this year outside of F9/11 (heh), and the productiondesign, script, and cinematography are all absolutely top notch. DiCaprio gives his best performance, probably my second favorite male performance of hte year after jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine. Cate Blanchett, well when I came how I intended to start off my sentance "Cate Blanchett is wonderful as Katherine Hepburn, but it came out more along the lines of " Kathering Hepburn is wonderful in... errr." It's not a perfect performance, but it's damn iconic and really a delight to watch. I think Alan Alda deserves supporting oscar for what is the best supporting turn of the year.

Excellent film, one of the top of the year.


Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1999
I think my problem with this film is Leonardo Dicaprio, he's still a boy acting in a man's world, and I think Leo did his better work in the 2nd half of the film, but it wasn't enough to elevate "The Aviator" to a great film in my eyes.

This was a 4-act film, and the 3rd act is pretty grueling to watch, justifiably so, but it sort of slowed down the cinematic momentum of the film for me. The screenplay needed some trimming, probably about 20 minutes (mainly in the 2nd and 3rd act). The direction is quite good, though, but not surprising considering it's Scorsese at the helm.

I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.


Oct 25, 2001
Real Name
Adam Moreau
I saw this the other day and to be short...

I thought it was excellent. If you don't mind movies that are 2 and a half hours long that have big sections of "talk", you'll love it.

I thought it was not your traditional "Marty" movie, in that it was a bit more linear and coherant than some of his others.

Howard Shore's score was OUTSTANDING.

My only real complaint was the make-up for DiCaprio. I found myself constantly trying to figure out how old he was. It wasn't until after the accident with the spy plane
that he even looked remotely "older". He did a great job in the role, but I just couldn't get behind the age make-up.

All in all, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT and it should be a sure fire candidate for the BEST PICTURE and BEST DIRECTOR Oscars this year.

Mike Graham

Supporting Actor
Aug 31, 2001
Someone once wrote, "Scorses makes films about people you wouldn't want to know," and this is certainly true of The Aviator.

DiCaprio and Scorsese do a wonderful job making us actually feel bad for one of the richest men of his time. We clearly see Hughes become unglued in front of us, whether its his inability to open a men's room door or stop repeating the same phrase dozens of times. The main attraction may be Hughes' lack of pretension, and his determination to defeat those arrogant enough to underestimate him.

Scorsese again works with his long time collaborator, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, and the team that put together Raging Bull is in full force here, showing us dozens of photography bulbs blowing out or blueprints racing through Hughes' head at a dizzying pace.

A biopic of Hughes may seem strange material for Scorsese to tackle, but its clear Hughes can easily stand along Travis Bickle, Jake LaMotta, and Rupert Pupkin as incredibly self distructive characters who simply can't help themselves.

Even though the film ends in the late 40s before Hughes' complete break down, its still on a rather haunting note, with Hughes hidden in a filthy men's room with his own insanity eating away at him during the celebration of a successful test flight. Even if the viewer doesn't know of Hughes' eventual fate, its all too apparent by the final look in DiCaprio's eyes that things won't end as happily as they began.


Chuck Mayer

Senior HTF Member
Aug 6, 2001
Northern Virginia
Real Name
Chuck Mayer
I thought it was a masterpiece. I've never been a huge fan of Scorcese's films, though I have been a fan of the man himself. I believe it's due to the subject matter, which ordinarily is a bit darker than I like my movies to explore (I like to taste it, and Martin likes to shoot it without blinking). But his knowledge and skill have never yielded anything less than superb filmmaking.

In Leonardo DiCaprio, Scorcese has found two things, improbably wrapped up. One, a young actor, a student of the craft, phenomenally talented, and dedicated to the director. Two, and a bit more subversive, a very tasty bargaining chip with the money men, who remember quite well the pull of DiCaprio at the Box Office. In short, the popularity of the actor allows the director more freedom to do what he wants. It's really the best of both worlds, and fortunate for the viewer that DiCaprio brings not only the short-sighted money men to the table for his gifted director, but his staggering talent as well.

The Aviator is a meticulous telling of Old Hollywood, Old Money, and a brilliant man. I won't go into the story, though I loved it and respected it equally, but rather how impressive the filmmaking was. All elements seemed to be firing on all cylinders, from the murderer's row of actors, to the period recreation/art direction, to the score, to the cinematography, and finally the hands (director and editor) that held it together. Even with Gangs of New York, a fractured work of art, you knew you were in good hands. This is a film that I will be happy to watch several times over, because the detail is enchanting.

Scorcese doesn't skirt from the darker edges. Usually his films highlight them; giving counterpoints as well, but recognizing the inherent darkness in the characters and stories. The Aviator was no different, although it's darkness was perimarily in the head of the protagonist. This film, like his previous films, really seems like pulp given the A+ treatment.

In particular, Cate Blanchett and Leo Dicaprio are excellent, both having challenging roles. The remainder of the supporting cast is uniformly excellent. One last detail, like Jim Cameron (who makes altogether different films, but seems to have the detail obsession that Scorcese does) and Spielberg, Scorcese has complete command of his films' special effects, and they serve the story well. I wish now they had been noted for an Oscar nom.

All in all, a masterpiece.


Tim Glover

Senior HTF Member
Jan 12, 1999
Monroe, LA
Real Name
Tim Glover
Finally got around to seeing this tonight. Trying to get around to all the Oscar noms. Still have M$B to go.

The Aviator is one of those films that is near flawlessly crafted, tremendously acted, solidly directed, and also difficult to watch at times. I haven't seen all of Scorcese's films but have seen most and this one is supposed to be more mainstream. And it is but it's difficult to sit thru at times. This is not a knock on the direction or the film itself, rather my own personal tastes for movies.

As I watching this, I was thinking how well made this and yet I doubt I will own it on dvd. I shouldn't say this until I see M$B this weekend, but The Aviator will win Best Picture. It's got Oscar written all over it.

I was a bit premature recently touting my wishes that Johnny Depp win for his acting in Finding Neverland. I still do hope he wins only because FN really moved me, but after seeing Dicaprio, it's clear that objectively his performance was probably better. Totally different films and that's hard to judge one's performance. Dicaprio was fantastic, and showed more range than ever before. This is by far his best work ever.

Blanchett was also magnificent. I was doubting that she could really pull off Hepburn. She nailed it and hit a home run.

The score that won the Globe for Shore was rather disappointing though. How did this win? However he didn't get nominated for the Oscar.

As others have stated, The Aviator is precision film making and Hollywood will probably finally honor Scorcese.

I give it :star: :star: :star: :star: 1/2 out of :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:

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