Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Himesh Patel
Director: Tom Harper
Running Time: 100 mins
The Aeronauts is a British film about a meterologist and a showgirl who embark on an expedition higher into the sky than ever before, with the intention of proving that the weather can be predicted.
You could say that The Aeronauts is all a little bit too much style over substance, with incredible visuals and a less-than-enthralling story. However, The Aeronauts is one of those few films with such an exhilarating visual spectacle that exactly that becomes the movie’s very substance, and makes for a hugely entertaining watch over the course of a spectacular 100 minutes.
At first glance, The Aeronauts may seem like a rather generic period drama, but it immediately quashes any of those doubts by going straight into what you really want to see, an unprecedented expedition high, high into the skies above London.
The film does struggle to make its period story quite as interesting throughout, never quite hammering home the significance of the discoveries trying to be made or the obstacles that the lead duo come up against, as it moves back and forth between a historical, period story and the action up in the skies.
However, whenever The Aeronauts is right there with the two characters up in the atmosphere, it quite literally soars. First of all, the visual effects are really spectacular, paralleling the likes of Gravity with its portrayal of the vast emptiness and sheer power of the Earth’s atmosphere.
The CGI is entirely convincing at every moment, and with the combination of the cramped, claustrophobic space of the basket at the bottom of the hot air balloon and the sweeping, dynamic camerawork that swings around the sky, The Aeronauts creates such a striking and vivid portrait of a world that’s never really been seen on the big screen as such a spectacle before.
But not only is it a pretty face, because The Aeronauts uses its stunning visuals to great narrative effect, particularly with the portrayal of the immense, awe-inspiring power of nature. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, as they ascend to record-breaking heights in just over an hour’s time, encounter immense natural obstacles on their way up and back down, and thanks to those exhilarating visual effects, the intensity of the challenges before them is all the more resonant.
As a result, The Aeronauts works brilliantly as a thrilling adventure, taking you high up into a mysterious world above the clouds, and seeing its two characters doing everything they can to stay alive in the face of insurmountable natural obstacles of the likes that you’ve never really seen before on the big screen.
Beyond the spectacle of it all, the two central performances are really great as well. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones’ immense chemistry has already been proven with the wonderful Oscar-winning biopic, The Theory Of Everything, and while their relationship here isn’t quite as moving, both of them put in fantastic turns that help to keep the film’s dramatic and emotional core working along with its adventure excitement.
Much like Gravity, The Aeronauts isn’t quite a narrative masterpiece, but along with the visuals, the striking and memorable performances from the leads play in hugely to the intensity of the plot, bringing a human vulnerability to the table in the face of the immense power of nature, further intensifying the power of the film’s core plot.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Aeronauts. Principally as an exceptional visual spectacle, with a gorgeous, sweeping vision of the world above the clouds, but also as an intense and exciting adventure, the film proves a thoroughly enjoyable watch throughout. It may struggle to establish a truly enthralling historical narrative as it aims to, but it still does more than enough to keep you engaged right the way through on a magnificent adventure, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.6.