I took Alex to seeRed Tails today before taking him back home. I’ve been excited about this movie for a while now because there’s so much power and goodness in the story of what was called “The Tuskegee Experiment,” the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.
You have to keep in mind that at the time, Jim Crow laws were still in effect and the races were segregated in the Army, no staying together in the same camps, no going into the same officers clubs, etc.
Back in 1988, George Lucas decided that the story of the Tuskegee Airman should be told. No studio seemed interested in doing so and as a result, after years of work and $58 million of his own money – the movie was made.
I really wish I could tell you that it’s a good movie. I really do, but I have to report that it is your typical George Lucas movie. George hasn’t really found his skills in telling a good story since the release of “Return of the Jedi,” because the “re-release” of the original Star Wars movies don’t count as something really new.
I found the acting to be adequate, but the directing seemed to be inconsistent (or was this the script). I found the edits in the movie to rush through the general story of the Airmen. The issues dealing with racism, frankly, were glossed over.
That being said, these things did not detract from the courage and the message of those men who served in the Tuskegee program. Alex and I left with a resolve that each of us can not wallow in self-pity and we should never tolerate the degradation of small minded people or systems. We don’t have to fight for the sake of fighting, but we can improve ourselves and excel in the fact of those who think we don’t have the skills or the desire to move forward.
Supposedly, Lucas wants to pitch a “prequel” and a “sequel” for the movie (even going as far to suggest at Spike Lee should direct them). I think that could be a good idea, especially if Lucas just sits back and lets Spike do what he does without interference or a push to make it “Star Wars” lite.