Red Tails, which George Lucas has promised will be his last film before retiring, is finally here. The verdict?
Probably similar to what many feel about the Star Wars films: great action in the skies, but with some of the human aspect lacking.
The first review of Red Tails I came across was from veteran film critic Todd McCarthy in the Hollywood Reporter, who believes the movie “flies only when it’s off the ground. The experience of black American aviators in World War II gets a whitewash in Red Tails.”
It’s definitely a very important story, but McCarthy writes, that “every character here is so squeaky-clean, and the prejudice as depicted is so toothless and easily overcome, that the film feels like a gingerly fantasy version of what, in real life, was an exceptional example of resilient trail-blazing.”
Similarly, the HuffPo feels the film is “a hackneyed and weirdly context-less story that does [the Tuskegee Airmen] a disservice. Lucas has said he hopes Red Tails will prove there’s an audience for an audience for all black movies. That’s a laudable goal, but Red Tails reduces a history story of deep cultural significance to merely a flyboy flick.”
Although a lot of the reviews for Red Tails are similar in their gripes, the New York Times rated it a “whiz-bang action film,” and backhandedly admires the film for its naïve tone, much like Star Wars had an old fashioned tone as well. Stephen Holden writes that the end of Red Tails “is as satisfying as a snack of milk and cookies after a ninth grade softball game.”
On the eve of the release of Red Tails, Cuba Gooding Jr. told Moviefone the movie is “the black answer to Indiana Jones,” and that “it really feels like you’re in the sky, watching this movie. I’m telling you when you’re sitting in the theater, you feel like you’re flying the planes.”
Gooding also had dinner with the voice of Darth Vader himself, James Earl Jones and told Cuba, “It’s Star Wars for black people. Man, the cockpit scenes alone, the kids did alright.”