Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The Miracle of Flight (1974)
As a side project to Monty Python, one might want to critique the Miracle of Flight in comparison to the even shorter animation sketches in the Python episodes. But it's actually one of Gilliam's most hilarious and successfully tasteless inventions, where a running gag is not taken lightly, and the old adage 'if at first you don't succeed, try try again' is taken literally against all odds. We're given the history of man seeking flight, however not by the channels of 'do-it-yourself': men jump off of cliffs while trying to flap their arms, be them in armor or other outfits. Even with the assistance of birds, it doesn't help, as the birds go in the blink of an eye to dart at the crumbs scattered by an old lady. Then, of course, is the true highlight of the episode, where a king in 1643 gets people on top of the tower, and proceeds to kick all of them off to their deaths in attempting flight. By the end, of course, man has sought flight through airlines (Spam-Air on one of the ticket stubs), yet as a man tries to enter the airplane, he falls off the tower all over again. Nothing truly of intellectual significance happens here, but that's exactly, brilliantly how Gilliam achieves his goal of perfected crudeness. Even the voice-work is put together in cheap style. But it's a rarity I wouldn't dare of missed- and it's now available online!