The Aeronauts, A Promise Kept on Amazon Prime Video

the aeronauts

History is full of outrage against innovation. In the sixteenth century, a scientist called Galileo posited that the earth was not the center of the universe but was just one of the thousands upon thousands of stars revolving around the static sun. Outrage, the church and the scientific bodies that be cried. They excommunicated him, arrested him, and hounded him until he recanted. Hundreds of years later, with the Americas discovered, you would think that the world of science was ready to embrace innovation. They are not. James Glaisher’s theory that weather can be predicted was met with wild derision and pitiable hilarity. The fact that his theory would help predict and control flooding, droughts, famine, storms at sea ought to have tempted the Royal Society of Science in London. “The Aeronauts” served us this story in a fictionalized plate.

It was 1864, the era of balloons. About half a century before the Landers brothers flew the first plane and four scores before air machines hit the peak of its performance in the destructive battles for European air superiority in World War 2. At that time the highest mankind has gone into space was 23 thousand feet. James Glaisher played by Eddie Redmayne in “The Aeronauts” believes he can fly higher, far above the clouds to a place of enablement for the work of predicting the weather. Fresh widow and newly-baked anti-social scientist Amelia Wren played by Felicity Jones is Glaisher’s only hope of making the sky. She owns a balloon inherited from her late husband who has made the journey to the sky before and whose husband jumped off the balloon in order to save his new bride.

After much hesitation, Amelia agrees to make the journey, believing that the venture will take her mind away from grieving for her husband and fending suitors mostly enabled by her sister. With the building of the balloon almost done and a vast amount of money spent, Amelia has a change of mind and she walks into the building of the male-dominated Society which is almost a taboo for a woman to be seen in it and informs Henry that she is no longer interested in flying.

The Aeronauts: The Journey, Powerful Scenes, and That Dialogue

After reading a book of discoveries gifted by Glaisher and visiting her husband’s grave, Amelia decided to make the trip. Her departure was showy and dramatic before hundreds of spectators. We will beat the record of France’s 23 thousand feet she declared to applause. The reserved James doesn’t see the need for this but he has little control, it’s her balloon after all.  The journey begins.

After surviving a terrible storm that gives Glaisher an injury in the head, the two who are now close to each other begin to approach the historic mark which they soon surpassed. When they reached the dead zone of 26 thousand feet where oxygen is scarce, Glaisher begins to lose consciousness and bleed through the nose. It is time to act. Amelia begins to climb the balloon. In a crawling over snow, blood, and danger which evokes memories of the wildling climbing the wall, she makes it to the top of the balloon and deflates it. The balloon begins to descend much to the relief of the viewers.

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When they have gone sub-dead zone, Glaisher comes back to consciousness but there is a new problem. The balloon is heading down too fast. They need to lighten the carriage. They through things down all to the avail. Glaisher elects to jump and let Amelia be the survivor but she says no, she is not going back alone as she did during her flight with her husband.

In the end, they decide to cut the carriage off the balloon and hang mid-air. It is a frightful sight, the two hanging in the middle of the air as the balloon descends. They hold on. The balloon crashes on a tree and pins James there. The character Miss Jones portrayed clashes on green earth and the balloon drags her on the ground in fantastic Oscar-winning (in a less competitive year) 22 seconds. Amelia’s first thoughts are on James Glaisher – where is he? She finds him crawling in pains and exhaustion. “Can you stand?” she asks him.

“I will rather not,” he says in response.

“What if I help you?”

“Then I will stand.”

And she helps him up and they begin to take wobbly steps for a couple but great leaps for mankind with the ruins of organized doubt, scientific snobbery, mockery, and fear behind them. And a great sight for movie watchers.

The Aeronauts, A Promise Kept on Amazon Prime Video

Netflix may look at the mirror and see a leader in the video streaming market of the planet but that won’t be the complete picture for lurking in the background are competitors one of which is Amazon Prime Videos. Amazon Prime as a whole has more than 100 million subscribers but the Prime Videos alone subscription is only open for the US, Canada, Germany, and a few other countries; Prime Video is not worldwide yet. But since discontinuing the open pitch for scripts and concepts from the public, Amazon Studio is responsible for a series of TV and movie originals including

Released in December 2019, “The Aeronauts” is the latest film to be distributed by Amazon Studio. It is a decent film this one, flirting with greatness even. The other Amazon Prime Studio film I had watched recently is and it is also good. I can’t remember seeing a bad film on Prime but this is to be expected since Amazon has a much smaller library than Netflix. As of August 2018, they had 20 thousand movies and 6 thousand plus TV shows. Netflix database runs into millions of content. When Amazon finally escalates their library bad movies will surely find their way in. So far, they have kept a tight house. Absolute quality is the first price they will pay to give Netflix a bloody nose. Losing any form of quality will mean they can’t beat Netflix. It is a Catch-22.

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Does it mean “The Aeronauts” is without blame? I didn’t say that nor did I see a single black face in the whole 100 minutes of the film. There were reviews I read, such as the one in, which took an exception as to why the role of Felicity Jones was drawn from composite women. Is this to say that the women she portrayed as a bunch don’t deserve to be heard and seen for whom they are and what they represent? And why, they ask, must it be a careless, clueless man beside a strong woman character which would more than diminish her accomplishments. There are so many questions Tom Harper must answer about his making of “The Aeronauts”. None of the questions will be on why he made a bad movie because he didn’t.

Image source: LATimes

Amos JC

Amos JC

Amos JC is the head of movies and TV content.