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the right stuff has those moments that make you wonder if the movie actually does have the right stuff to pull off the story that it is trying to tell. these moments, while they are fewer than a lot of movies of this kind, feel disingenuous in the way that it feels as if the film is trying to hard to be a sprawling epic that other people think it should be. it is in these moments that i felt as if they film may be stretching itself too far to reach something that it was never going to be. yet, despite these moments, the film rises above these moments to deliver a solid, enjoyable, and fun film to watch.
this film tells the story of a group of test pilots as they make their way through a boom of technological advancement and become key figures in landmark event such as breaking the sound barrier and space exploration. the film takes the form of an epic, although it pays more intense attention to the smaller scenes and montages that make up the broader film than it does to the broader historical strokes of the story it is trying to tell. i think that it is in the way that the film attempts to connect these scenes into a larger story arch in a traditional sense that the film runs into some trouble.
take, for example, the opening scenes and the opening voice over of the film. it feels like the film went to another space exploration epic and ripped off the front end of the characters beginning their journey to something great. it feels like it is trying to stretch itself to be something like that and connect this stuff to the stuff later when it doesn't need to do that to be effective. it attempts to invoke feelings of nostalgia or feelings of the emerging greatness of these individuals. the framing of the near fatal flight near the end of the film also rang a little false in the way that it was stretching to characterize yeager in a way that would be more compelling in the larger arch of the film. the connective tissue to the rest of the film, such as the voice over, feels a bit fake and forced. however, the film does work on an individual scene basis. both of those scenes i mentioned work pretty well on a individual basis but the attempts the film makes to use those in service of a larger story just felt false to me.
what the film has is a series of very well put together individual scenes that are in their own right compelling and interesting to watch. these scenes are really fun to watch and there aren't many that fall flat. there is a sense of energy and entertainment to many of the different scenes that make the film blaze by, despite the exorbitant running time of the film. and, because of how fun the film is, the film never feels boring or too long, as each of the scenes is carefully crafted and has something to admire and enjoy about them.
the flight scenes themselves are very thrilling to watch. they are very carefully crafted and they really do sell the appeal of the danger and the excitement that these pilots must experience and what keeps drawing them back to do the same dangerous work over and over again. in that sense, the film is able to keep you engaged with those scenes, even if you aren't able to buy into the larger story arch that they are telling.
overall, this is an entertaining, thrilling, and fun film to watch despite the problems that it may have. i may not like this film as much as many other people do but there is a lot to admire and enjoy about this film.
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