BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Nevermind the fact that the theme song – performed by Yes’ Jon Anderson – plays something like four times throughout the movie. Please ignore the mess the film leaves as questions go unanswered. And, for the love of all that is holy, just appreciate what John Hough’s sci-fi adventure is: the film equivalent to Kenny Loggins’ High Adventure album. Biggles: Adventures in Time is cheesy, catchy, and a heckuva lot of fun. It’s also making its blu-ray debut this week thanks to Kino Lorber.
Starring Neil Dickson, Alex Hyde-White, and Peter Cushing, this time-traveling World War I adventure takes to the skies by bi-plane AND helicopter and makes for some thrilling aerial sequences that dazzle the senses due to their low proximity to the ground. It is also fun escapism that sees a catering salesman in New York City inexplicitly jumping back and forth through time to deal with matters that are far outside of his comfort zone. Could it have been funnier? Yes. Could it have been more of an adventure? Sure, but the success of Back to the Future seemed to dictate its direction after getting greenlit to mine the vein Raiders of the Lost Ark stuck with audiences.
Talk about high hopes. When you consider that the film’s director is the man responsible for such cult favorites as Twins of Evil, Escape to Witch Mountain, The Legend of Hell House, AND Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, it makes perfect sense, though.
The point is that, as a b-movie movie, Biggles could have been a lot of things, but seeing as how this is all we ever got from the series of books from W.E. Johns, we have to appreciate it for what it is: matinee merriment. Trust me, the flick will get retooled and repurposed and, ultimately, remade at some point in the near future. But let’s look at the harmless fun to be had right here with this release. Airplanes disappear behind mountains and then blow up, bullets fly every which way but somehow miss their intended targets, and every grenade explosion is an obvious cut.
It was flawed to begin with and it still is. It was also a big part of my youth and that makes up for a lot of its shortcomings.
Truth is, the dual leads in this tale are both likeable even if they aren’t entirely memorable. Leave Cushing to deliver in that department as Captain Raymonds, the only one in the screenplay by John Groves and Kent Walwin who seems to know the how and the why of all the unplanned blue-bolted lightning strikes that send Jim (Hyde-White) to and from Biggles’ time period. Happening at random points, poor Jim just never knows when he is going to go from shaving his face, wearing only a bath towel, to running from goose
My first exposure to Biggles was in 1988. It made its American debut with its VHS release and, as the cinema was my only spot for respite in the tiny town I grew up in, I was a sucker for the video store. Watching this movie again is like revisiting an old friend. I remember much of it and that is surprising. The film had no impact upon critics. It made little waves, yet there is a charm to this very British yarn – about a Royal Flying Corps pilot and his time twin who must destroy a super-secret sound weapon – that remains intact to this very day.
Thanks to the fine foxes at Kino, we can fly the friendly skies once again with Biggles: Adventures in Time. It is indeed the very definition of a guilty pleasure.
Runtime: 108 mins
Director: John Hough
Writer: John Groves
Cast: Neil Dickson, Alex Hyde-White, Fiona Hutchison
Genre: Adventure | Family
Tagline: The ultimate adventure.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Come on, Debbie, it's not *that* bad. It's only World War I."
Theatrical Distributor: No theatrical release
Release Date: No theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: November 29, 2017
Synopsis: Daring British WWI fighter pilot James "Biggles" Bigglesworth and 1980s low-level business executive Jim Ferguson discover that they can time travel to each other's eras. They try to stop the Germans from changing the outcome of WWI.
Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray - November 29, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc
Region Encoding: Region A
Released on 1080p (with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1) by Kino Lorber, Biggles: Adventures in Time isn’t exactly the best looking upgrade to grace your television sets. I bet you won’t mind either. There is, in some certain location shoots, a heavy layer of grain. Now, this doesn’t bother me. I like grain. Grain works, but if you are expecting a low budget knockoff to look better some number of years AFTER its release date, then you will be disappointed. This isn’t a restoration. It simply is what it is. Interiors are good, but details aren’t as graphic as they could be. Black levels are good, but never impressive. Some of the effects shots, while dated, are pretty solid with good execution. The sound and its AWESOME soundtrack is supplied with a rather basic LPCM 2.0, so you will have to turn it up to hear the killer synth-pop hooks from Jon Anderson.
Kino is slowly working their way into the whole supplemental angle of their b-movie releases. With Biggles, we get two NEW interviews from the film’s two leads: Alex Hyde-White and Neil Dickson. They talk about the film and their experiences on the set. Both men are jovial and a lot of fun to listen to.
- Alex Hyde-White Interview
- Neil Dickson Interview