Excellent but underrated film
best movie i've ever seen.
It is not deep, but it is fun to watch. It does have a bit more of an edge to it than other similar films.
The film never slows down or bores, plunging from one harrowing sequence to the next.
This movie has a few exciting moments, but for the most part, it's just another Airport redux. For me, it was hard to get past its unfaithfulness to science, to reality, and in the case of the characters, each other. Every time they re-launched the space shuttle to go and rescue the stranded passengers, I just rolled my eyes and how implausible that whole thing was...especially when they launched it the third time, just two hours after the second mission had landed. The happily-ever-after scene at the end is of the pilot joyously embracing his stewardess mistress, while his wife drives away alone. That's supposed to make us feel all warm and fuzzy?
You will find parts of this movie, little segments of it, embarrassingly funny. When I first saw it in 84, it was engrossing. When watching it back I 2003, I just found it pretty pathetic, and felt a schmuck for watching back in the eighties. But they were very cheesy and dark times. The same goes for those Airport films, me and Dad ribtickling ourselves over them. What we've got here is a fictional, what if scenario, about a hyposonic airplane, a Concorde shuttle that can make the distance from Los Angeles to Sydney in two hours. In no way is a two second exterior shot of Sydney airport, Sydney airport. What cheek. We have a good cast here too, notably Linden and Majors, one of many few films he did. While in the air, a rocket has exploded sending hulks of a metal careering towards the super cool airplane. Forced to rear up, drastically, they caught in orbit, for which there is no way to return. I remember in olden days, this got incredibly tense. And when the plane set down again, a relief came over me, although a score of passengers got lost in one of those shutes that blew up. But you just take Starflight One for what is it, a guilty cheesy, eighties pleasure, for the whole family, with unintentional laughs here and there.
It took me a few minutes into the movie to realize I had seen it before when I was in high-school. Even though it had Barney Miller and Lauren "whistle while you work because of the gap between your teeth" Hutton in it I watched it again anyway. They sure can get that space shuttle in and out of space quickly, cant' they? They must of had an Indy 500 crew working for them! Plus they can take off from L.A. too! what a deal! Now the ironic and sad part. At one point the crew of the plane asks the Columbia crew to take a peek and see if there was any damage to their aircraft. So the (the Starflight crew) knew they got hit, NASA knew they got hit, so isn't it great to have another set of eyes (the Columbia crew) to actually see the damage everyone assumed was there in the first place? So they can actually try to fix it, or figure out some other option to avoid a disaster. So why in the world didn't NASA have the REAL Columbia go to the International Space Station and have them see if they had a hole in their wing! The whole country saw the foam hit the wing. STUPID!!!
"Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land" is a silly made-for-TV disaster flick that could have been titled "Airport '83: Trapped in Space". While the film is modestly entertaining at times, it's just too preposterous to believe. The plot: a hypersonic jet takes off for Australia and ends up stuck in outer space by accident. Director Jerry Jameson fared better with "Airport '77", and the cast (Lee Majors, Hal Linden, Lauren Hutton, Tess Harper, Ray Milland, etc.) have done better work than this. Not a real bad movie but not a real good one either. This movie originally aired as a three hour movie on TV; the home video version was edited by about 30-40 minutes and retitled "Starflight One". ** (out of four)