(director/writer: Paul Crowder; cinematographer: Jessica Young; editors: Paul Crowder, Kevin Klauber, James Leche; music: James Everingham, Stewart Mitchell.; cast: Captain Brian Kesselring, Lieutenant Commander Christopher Kapuschansky, Lieutenant Commander Scott Goossens, Major Frank Zastoupil, Lieutenant Commander Cary Rickoff, Lieutenant Commander Julius Bratton, Lieutenant Commander Monica Borza, Commander Alexander P. Armatas, Lieutenant Commander Amanda Lee; Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: G; producers: Glen Powell, Sean Stuart, Glen Zipper, Mark Monroe, J.J. Abrams, Hannah Minghella; Amazon Prime; 2024)

“This is one film that demands to be seen on the ‘big screen’ in an IMAX theater.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Directed and co-edited by Paul Crowder (“Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who”/”The last Play At Shea”). The straightforward documentary is a U.S. Navy PR video used for recruitment that offers a backstage look at how the Blue Angels put on their crowd-pleasing air shows and carry out their training methods.

The focus is on the 2022 team of six jet pilots who will fly as one, which is chronicled by Crowder and his team. The Blue Angels are led by Commanding Officer and Flight Leader ‘Boss’ Captain Brian Kesselring. He communicates to his pilots in a rat-a-tat aviation lingo not understood by civilians but speaks in a normal conversational tone when talking to us from his home.

This film covers the efforts that go into making the aerial display such a precise and thrilling show for the spectators.

Glen Powell who appeared in both “Devotion” and “Top Gun: Maverick” is one of the film’s producers.

The Blue Angels team covered is stationed in Pensacola, Florida. They tour the country annually for eight months at a time. The team consists of six jet fighter pilots flying in dazzling formations, sometimes only 18 inches apart.

The first-year flier Chris “Cheese” Kapuschansky, located in the 4 position in the Angels’ infamous diamond pattern, explains how he must continually look to the right while his controls are on his left as makes his maneuvering moves.

There’s amazing flight footage, much of it shot from within the cockpit.

We meet Amanda Lee, the first female pilot ever to be inducted into the program, who is ready to fly in 2023 with the prestigious group and its new leader Alexander Armatas.

This is one film that demands to be seen on the ‘big screen’ in an IMAX theater.

REVIEWED ON 5/24/2024  GRADE: B-