View From the Top

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Donna Jensen (Gwyneth Paltrow) is like so many other people out there in the sense that she has a dream, but no means to get it off the ground (pun totally intended). But once she sets aside her somewhat miserable life and sees a television show; she realizes that if Sally Weston (Candice Bergen) can make something out of nothing, then she (Donna) can too. From there Donna shuns aside her life of doing nothing and takes a job at a local commuter airline where she befriends the very nice (and surprisingly busty Sherry – Kelly Preston) and later on down the road Christina Montgomery (Christina Applegate). The three seem to like their jobs, but dream of something more. And when they learn that the prestigious Royalty Airlines is coming to town, the three waste no time to see if they have “The Right Stuff” to be a stewardess on a real airline. Though two of them make the cut (Sherry doesn’t), it’s off to stewardess school under the direction of John Whitney (Mike Myers in one of his funnier roles). We see a bit of Christina’s true colors shine through and they may or may not make their dreams come true.

Oh, come on! This is a feel-good movie that nearly every teenage girl in the United States (and possibly Canada) will want to see. Donna’s love interest is an Ohio State University Law School dropout who now works as a ranger from time to time. Though their relationship is budding, Donna takes to the skies much to the dismay of Tim (Mark Ruffalo). However, as luck would have it (though we find out later it’s not just luck), Donna gets the shaft and ends up in Cleveland working for a branch of Royalty Airlines and it’s Christina who gets the big assignment in New York. Tim has moved back to Ohio, where his family resides and has taken up Law School again and wouldn’t you know it … the two bump into each other and start dating. Donna has relegated herself to taking the test over again as she is sure that she can make it in the big time, but what will win out; her love for her job or for her boyfriend?

Paltrow has agreeably slipped a few rungs down the ladder of stardom since her hay day in the late 1990’s. Still, she is still a “A” list star and one of extreme talent. Though I don’t agree with her choices, this seems to be something she did just for the heck of it. Granted, the movie isn’t trying to say that much, maybe a glossed over advertisement for flying after the events of a few years back; but still a “ … fish out of water – I’m trying to make it in the real world and you can’t stop me … “ kind of movie. Christina Applegate, best-known for her role as Kelly Bundy on “Married: With Children” has managed to hang onto her career, though any actress could have pulled off her manipulative role. Now if you’re looking for Rob Lowe, he’s got all of about five lines which last under a minute and as much as I would have liked to keep staring at Kelly Preston in her spandex outfits, she doesn’t last long, either. Still, “View From the Top” is a fairly decent movie and one that I feel will get a new life on DVD. Star-studded it is, but the show belongs to only half of those top-billed stars.

Video: How does it look?

“View From the Top” is presented in a very colorful 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer that shows off almost every color in the spectrum. The movie has a very sharp look and feel to it and the outfits of the stewardesses throughout are just one of the factors that this transfer looks pretty good. Flesh tones are perfect and there is no edge enhancement to speak of. A few scenes seem to be a bit muted and others seem a bit dingy for a day and date movie. Still, I was pretty pleased with the way this looks as no major errors detract from what’s going on screen.

Audio: How does it sound?

On the same token, the sound isn’t quite as active as some, then again it’s not supposed to be. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack more than serves its purpose and if you’re looking for a movie with super dynamic audio, well… look somewhere else. That’s not to say that the track is bad, because it isn’t, but aside from a few scenes that the surrounds kick in, there isn’t much to talk about. Dialogue is clean and free of distortion and you’d think that the LFE would be a factor (all those planes taking off and landing), but they’re not that pronounced. In any case the soundtrack is above average here, but not excellent.

Supplements: What are the extras?

With only a scant selection of extras, there’s not a whole lot to entice John Q. Viewer to buy the disc. Still, the included featurettes are entertaining to say the least. First up is “History of the Flight Attendant” which is pretty self-explanatory. Though not delving too deep into the matter, it’s glossed over and suits the disc very well. A Journey Inside “View From the Top” is nothing more than the obligatory EPK featurette we’ve all become so used to. Nothing more, nothing less. Lastly, some music from the movie is included (it does have a decent soundtrack with some 80’s tunes). A trailer can not be found, though there are trailers for other Buena Vista releases. Odd.

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