2000s The Red Baron (2008)

Published on June 15th, 2010 | by Chris

5

The Red Baron (2008)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On June 15, 2010
Last modified:October 5, 2012

Summary:

The Red Baron takes you back to a day when war movies weren't all "Saving Private Ryan." Where the truth and even reality was merely a suggestion, and the goal was a couple of hours of old-fashioned entertainment.

The Red Baron (2008)Ever put a movie on, not expecting a whole lot, but then come away pleasantly surprised that you actually enjoyed it?  Yeah, that's what happened with The Red Baron.

OK, so its definitely *not* historically accurate, nor is it entirely technically accurate.  Bottom line is that it really doesn't matter, just grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy it.

The Red Baron is, of course, about the infamous Baron Manfred von Richtofen, German WWI flying ace.  His exploits in the skies over Europe made him a legend, and this film bascially plays on the legend, not the fact.

The Baron (Matthias Schweighofer) in this film is the epitome of the aristocratic element.  The commensurate "sportsman" if you will.  For him, flying and shooting down the enemy is the ultimate game.  In fact he chastises his men for going "for the kill" rather than simply downing a plane.  He comes to shoot down a Canadian pilot, Roy Brown (Joseph Fiennes), and assists in pulling him from the plane, where he meets this film's love interest, Nurse Kate (Lena Headey).  Later he runs into him again, and the two have a gentlemanly conversation as both of them are forced to land.

Of course the legend starts to consume him, and he and his entire squad decorate their birds in all manner of garish paint, leading to the "Flying Circus" moniker.   Eventually he's wounded, and winds up back in the care, and eventually the arms of Nurse Kate.

War being what it is, and history, the film ends with his final flight.  Sealing the legend forever.

The film is not without its flaws.  Headey and Fiennes are their usual balsa-ish selves, not really making me feel much of anything towards them.  There is of course the historical inaccuracy of, well, most of it.

But the two aspects of the picture that most riveted me, were the message and the dogfights.  The message?  Yes, of course, that war is bad (mmK?) but that he eventually is faced with the reality that his celebrity and status is all for naught, as he witnesses the guys in the trenches being slaughtered from the safety of the Kaiser's observation point.  That what he's doing really isn't that glamorous at all.  That it is decidedly *not* for sport, or anything even resembling it.

And the dogfights.  These CG scenes are really quite polished, and a lot of fun to watch.  While not hyper-realistic, they really put you in the seat with the pilots, and their fear and anticipation as they take care of business.  The night raid scene in particular is a sight in itself, as is the battle over the trenches with the barrage balloons.

Much like Flyboys (similar subject matter not withstanding), The Red Baron takes you back to a day when war movies weren't all "Saving Private Ryan." Where the truth and even reality was merely a suggestion, and the goal was a couple of hours of old-fashioned entertainment.

In that respect The Red Baron passes with flying colors.  Viewed via Netflix and my handy Roku player, again with flying colors.

And it took me nearly to the end of the film to figure out who Matthias Schweighofer reminds me of here.  Not sure what made it click but he sure looks like a young Anthony Michael Hall, like from the Sixteen Candles era.   Good for a bit of a laugh.

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365675/
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Description

Europe, 1916. A living legend (aged 24) performing amazing dogfights and aerial stunts, flies in on painted wings to become famous the world over. For millions of his countrymen, he becomes an idol, a symbol of hope and pride...

DVD Information

Binding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Brand: MONTEREY HOME VIDEO
Manufacturer: MONTEREY VIDEO
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Matthias Schweighofer
  • Til Schweiger
  • Lena Headey
  • Joseph Fiennes

Features

  • Factory sealed DVD

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The Red Baron (2008) Chris

Summary: The Red Baron takes you back to a day when war movies weren't all "Saving Private Ryan." Where the truth and even reality was merely a suggestion, and the goal was a couple of hours of old-fashioned entertainment.

3.5


User Rating: 3.3 (2 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



5 Responses to The Red Baron (2008)

  1. ajay says:

    want to buy this movies

  2. I enjoyed this movie a lot. I found it simply entertaining. A guilty pleasure. I realised later that the German original and the English version are quite different. This whole hunter mentality thing is subdued in the German version. Probably a reason why the Germans hate this movie.

  3. Rankography says:

    I really liked this movie a lot. I recommend it to others as an undiscovered gem. I thought the acting was great. I enjoyed the dogfights and the “chivalry” mentality of Richtofen. Don’t know if that is accurate but it sure made for a compelling film.

  4. Bryn Watkins says:

    It’s a decent movie, but the lack of historical accuracy is really annoying. People now think that this version of Von Richthofen is who he actually was, which can’t be further from the truth.

    Not that I don’t like the real MvR. He was a brilliant flyer.

  5. JaysonD says:

    It’s a good movie, but I find it lacking in action scenes. It would have been more interesting if they included in Werner Voss’ final (epic) dogfight, MvR’s last flight although just parts of it and then cut to the last scene in the movie.

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