Airport ’77 (1977)

I don’t know how they managed to ferment such a drop-off in quality between “Airport 1975” and this one, but the filmmakers somehow managed to make a star-studded disaster movie about a plane crashing into the ocean and sinking with its passengers still alive inside boring to the point of tears. I mean, how do you even do that?? How do you take a likable leading man like Jack Lemmon and neuter him every chance you get, undermining his character’s progress at every chance while Lemmon looks like he needs to have pins in his eyelids just to stay awake? There’s also poor Lee Grant, left to wander the plane’s ridiculously ornate sets like a stereotypical pill-popping lunatic shrew, and Brenda Vaccaro is similarly short-shrifted by the unimaginative screenplay and ends up delivering a barely ambulant performance despite her tremendous screen presence. Olivia De Havilland manages to inject the proceedings with some class, but it only serves to remind us of how little there is otherwise. This is really a let-down; it’s too stupid to be interesting and too well-done to be bad in a cheesy, unintentionally entertaining way, so in the end, you just sit there, bored, until it finally ends.

Rating: ★★ (out of 5)

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