‘The Blue Angels’: Real Navy Pilots Fly and Talk in IMAX Doc

‘The Blue Angels’: Real Navy Pilots Fly and Talk in IMAX Doc May 16, 2024

A Navy fighter pilot looks at other planes directly above and around him.

The Blue Angels follows a season in the lives of the fighter pilots and crews of the U.S. Navy’s elite flight demonstration team — and you’ve got one week to see it in IMAX.

Navy fighter pilots already have a pretty great reputation, and the Blue Angels team tours the country to show off their extreme piloting skills. They fly F-18s, produced by Boeing, which could use some good publicity right now.

Is The Blue Angels Worth Seeing?

Last week, I got to go to IMAX HQ in the Playa Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, to see the documentary, which also was the first IMAX movie I’ve ever seen. Previously, I watched a screening link of the film on my computer, but I was eager to see how it played out on the huge IMAX screen.

Inside IMAX headquarters in Los Angeles

The flying scenes were spectacular, but the many interview segments — well, let’s just say that seeing people, sometimes in closeup, on a 50-foot-high screen is … disconcerting.

Think I would have preferred more flying and less talking. But definitely, if you want to see this film and get the full impact, go see it in IMAX.

It’s an uncritical, loving look at how the Blue Angels pilots are chosen, train and perform for cheering crowds. If your patriotism needs a top-up, this is the film for you.

The pilots come off as dedicated and disciplined, but the flight crews also get a lot of attention — since getting the planes off the ground is a team effort.

Speaking of team, among the producers of The Blue Angels are J.J. Abrams (TV’s Felicity, Alias, Lost and Fringe, along with one Star Trek and two Star Wars movies), and actor, producer and licensed pilot Glen Powell, who’s already played a military aviator twice, in Devotion and Top Gun: Maverick.

A production of Amazon MGM Studios and IMAX, the film screens for one week in IMAX theaters, starting May 17, 2024, and then streams worldwide on Amazon Prime Video, beginning on May 23.

Here’s How Amazon Describes It:

The Blue Angels have been enthralling people, across the country and around the globe, for more than 75 years. Now, Amazon MGM Studios and IMAX bring a brand new documentary – The Blue Angels – that will take audiences soaring with the Navy’s elite Flight Demonstration Squadron as never before.

Filmed for IMAX, the immersive footage puts you in the cockpit for a firsthand view of the Blue Angels’ precision flying, while the aerial shots deliver a spectacular showcase of the breathtaking maneuvers that have made them the world’s premier jet team.

The Blue Angels also takes audiences behind the scenes for a revealing, in-depth look at what it takes to become a Blue Angel—from the careful selection process to the challenging training regimen, and on through the demanding eight-month show season.

The film is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary teamwork, passion and pride of the hundreds of outstanding men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps who have had the honor to serve in the Blue Angels squadron…past, present and future.

The doc also has a great score by veteran film composer Hans Zimmer. Like previous Navy-flier films Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick, it also includes some rock ‘n roll songs .. because, if any music exemplifies fighter pilots, it’s classic rock.

Since no one’s being shot at, the film is family-friendly and suitable for all ages (unless you think the flying scenes might be a bit much for the little ones).

Click here to learn more about the Blue Angels, and below find the film’s trailer:

Talking The Blue Angels — And a Little Top Gun: Maverick

As for Maverick (which I now wish I’d seen in IMAX), film director Paul Crowder has a couple things to say about comparing his real-life film with the fiction movie.

He says them during an interview I did with him and Paul Wooldridge, a retired fighter pilot and former Blue Angels “Boss.”

And here it is:

Image: ‘The Blue Angels’/Amazon MGM Studios

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About Kate O'Hare
Based in Los Angeles, Kate O'Hare is a veteran entertainment journalist, Social Media Content Manager for Family Theater Productions and a rookie screenwriter. You can read more about the author here.
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