The Blue Angels (2024) Review

By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

The film crew not only got up close with the Blue Angels and the planes but also recorded in high-definition resolution that will blow your mind.

The Blue Angels (2024) Review

Every branch of the United States Military has special commands that are the elite of the elite and require special training.  The Army has Green Berets, the Air Force has Special Ops, and the Navy has Seals.  However, the Navy also employs pilots and has a flight demonstration squadron called The Blue Angels.  Founded in 1946, the squadron was created to remind the American people that the Navy had an air fleet.  They have since become an American tradition entertaining millions of people of all ages.  But what does it take to run an operation of elite pilots?  The new documentary, The Blue Angels, offers a glimpse inside their world.

While one might think the Blue Angels is a small group of Naval pilots and some crew members, the unit comprises 141 service members.  Besides the previously mentioned individuals, there is a flight surgeon, a team monitoring the weather, a marine crew piloting "Fat Albert", the cargo plane carrying crew and supplies to various air show locations, etc. and despite rotating members out every two to three years the members often express feeling as if they are part of a family.  The selection process is rigorous and is made up of not only practical flying hours and skills but also an intimidating and probing interview.

The documentary follows the team from the first day of "winter training" through the final demonstration show.  The crew sits in on prep meetings and debriefings after daily practice maneuvers.  They interview each member of the Blue Angels from the "Boss" to newbies and those who are being rotated out after the season.  The "Boss" is the commander who flies plane number one and oversees all unit operations.  At the time of filming the "Boss" was Brian C. Kesselring.

The team practices and performs maneuvers such as the diamond formation - the first four planes flying at 400mph, moving in unison in a diamond shape.  Meanwhile, pilots five and six are soloists with number five being the lead.  Pilot four, who is the underside of the diamond and who has the best view of the three other planes in the formation, is the demonstration safety officer, due in part to their vantage point.  At their best - usually by the end of the season- the diamond formation pilots are flying a mere 12 inches apart, making any mistake a danger not only to themselves but to the other pilots with them.

Though the film feels a little like a Navy propaganda/recruitment piece for the first third, documentarian/director Paul Crowder (The Last Play at Shea) eventually addresses the ugly side of the job - the 28 team/crew members lost since the program's inception. Of course, Capt. Jeff Kuss is mentioned as the most recent fatality (2016) having lost control of the aircraft during a rehearsal and crashing shortly after takeoff. This reality check then leads into the physical training required of the team and footage of the newbies - including the new Boss - passing out in the centrifuge while experiencing the G-force they will endure during shows.

The film crew not only were able to get up close with the pilots and the planes but they were able to record in high definition resolution.  The clarity and picture quality are some of the best I have ever seen making the mere inches between the planes readily apparent and the details of the other aircrafts show up beautifully. 

For anyone who has ever watched the Blue Angels perform, this film is a glimpse behind the curtain with views of the day-to-day operations, the preparations that go into the practices and shows, the discipline required of team members, and the sacrifices their families make as their loved ones travel all over the country entertaining. The documentary is thorough, passionate, and interesting throughout the hour-and-a-half runtime.

Grade: B+

Directed By:
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 94 minutes
Distributed By: Amazon Studios

For more information about The Blue Angels visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

The Blue Angels images are courtesy of Amazon Studios. All Rights Reserved.

FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.


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