An excerpt from my script review for The Aeronauts which will be available 12/09/19:
2.) Plot Stability
Anytime the word “aeronaut” was mentioned, I couldn’t help thinking of this…
In that classic from my childhood, Tom Sawyer consistently says “aeronort” until corrected by Beck Thatcher.
Following the line of thinking presented by the initial quote setting the stage for this adventure, so too was yours truly taken as a child with the idea of ballooning, especially Mr. Twain’s version.
Hark back to this time period though, when hot air balloons were a novelty, and air travel just a dream. It’s where some of the first ideas of air travel came from…
(One of my favorite Disney rides of all time.)
Cannons to the moon. Flying machines that resemble mechanical birds. Even more elaborate incorporations of hot air balloon technology.
It’s fun, and so too was this story.
We’re presented with two “polar opposites” if you will, and put them in a period specific unknown situation.
They’re traveling higher than anyone’s been before into our atmosphere.
Maybe it’s the student pilot in me that resonated with this story, but the altitude they reach is estimated to be about 37,000 feet…in a balloon.
To put that figure into context, when flying above 12,500 feet in an unpressurized aircraft, oxygen is required for pilots after 30 minutes, anytime above 14,000 feet for all crew members, and finally for everyone, including passengers, above 15,000 feet.
They went more than double that highest figure with nothing!
The reason we’re told we need to use supplemental oxygen is due to the process of hypoxia, or lack of sufficient oxygen in the blood.
Again, they did all this in a balloon!
Dangerous pioneers to say the least, but in their defense, no one knew at the time what effects would occur and is the basis for James’ research.
(Another inspiring portion of the story has to do with the fact that I rarely have a lesson above 5,000 feet, and when I’m that high I’m consistently checking to make sure the door is locked!)
So again, the hypoxia, chilling temperature, and background of both characters led to a fun little story.
My one issue is the flashbacks which seem to bounce us around. It was almost a Tolkien-esque “flashback inside a flashback” of sorts, but then steadies out into a linear fashion of what led to why these two individuals go on a ballooning adventure together.
Will it knock anyone over come awards time, maybe not, but these kind of unknown biopics are rather refreshing.
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