Picks and Pans Review: Amelia Earhart: the Final Flight
updated 06/13/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/13/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT
When we first meet the famous aviator it's eight years after her celebrated transatlantic flight. Ear-hart (Diane Keaton) is bored, restive and profoundly uneasy with the way she's being packaged and promoted by her husband, George Putnam (Bruce Dern). So on an impulse she announces that she will attempt to become the first pilot to circumnavigate the globe. The rest of the film builds up to that fateful 1937 flight, during which Earhart vanished without a trace over the Pacific. Rutger Hauer plays Fred Noonan, a navigator with a drinking problem and Earhart's sole companion in her attempt to girdle the equator.
Keaton and Dern are both such characters in themselves, it's difficult to buy them as historical figures. Yves Simoneau's direction is visually splendid, particularly the aerial shots, but it lacks narrative cohesion and impetus. And the ridiculously romantic ending, speculating on the reasons for Earhart's disappearance? Let's just say it doesn't fly.