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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars German and English versions are totally different
I do agree with a previous review: This is a guilty pleasure. In Germany the movie got mostly bad reviews. It was said that the Red Baron's portrait was much too positive. British viewers are much kinder. I saw the German original but now watching this trailer here I realise that the two versions are totally different. The whole hunter, sport, fun aspect is much more...
Published on 30 Jun 2010 by allaboutwarmovies

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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curates' Egg
Firstly, this film is well produced and well acted, but unfortunately the screenplay leaves a lot to be desired. Matthias Schweighofer plays his character with depth and feeling, but bears little resemblence to the real Richtofen. The latter was a trained Prussian officer with a high sense of duty and a ruthless attitude to both his enemies and subordinates. Schweiger's...
Published on 18 Jun 2009 by M. B. Jennings


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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curates' Egg, 18 Jun 2009
By 
M. B. Jennings "wwwmikejbentley" (M R James country) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Red Baron [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Firstly, this film is well produced and well acted, but unfortunately the screenplay leaves a lot to be desired. Matthias Schweighofer plays his character with depth and feeling, but bears little resemblence to the real Richtofen. The latter was a trained Prussian officer with a high sense of duty and a ruthless attitude to both his enemies and subordinates. Schweiger's portayal shows a playful youth with an easy going nature who becomes openly critical of the German high command, which behaviour Richtofen would have regarded as undisciplined.

The air scenes are exciting and care has been taken to show aircraft of the time, although the dogfight scenes look like something from a computer game. The night fighting scene is pure make-believe but visually dramatic.

No real effort is made to follow Richtofen's life (after all, the title is The Red Baron!). A spurious relationship with his nurse is turned into a central part of the film, and she is shown wandering around the fighter airfield, which would have been off limits to civilians. Joseph Feinnes plays an enigmatic allied officer who meets up with Richtofen in no-mans-land, which just adds confusion to the story- he seems rather wasted in this role.

As a bit of light relief for the computer game generation, this film is fun but shouldn't be mistaken for history. It's full of mistakes but worth watching- at least it isn't the usual gung-ho Hollywood cobblers. Note; this is a review of the original German version, so the English release may differ.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable, but could have been better., 24 Oct 2010
By 
J. Van Limpt "Enigma" (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Red Baron [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Good actors. Great subject. Clearly sufficient funds. Nice music. Reasonable movie, but mediocre. It never ceases to amaze me why movies like this aren't better than they are. This could have been the ultimate von Richthofen movie, but it isn't. The story is thin and drenched in anti-war nonsense. These men were warriors. Soldiers, brought up in the tradition of sacrifice and honor. They didn't spent their time being philosophical and sad about the losses of men at the front. They did their duty and were proud of it.

What this movie shows has little to do with reality. What a pity. Apart from that, Schweighofer is very convincing. We will see much more of this gifted actor. I would have wanted to see more of the aerial fighting too. The scenes of the ground battles are pretty bad, but the air battles are another story. All in all, not bad, but it could have been a lot better when all pacifist nonsense and polical correctness had been left out. Of course war is not a thing to celebrate. Of course we all have our dark side. But a man like von Richthofen deserved a more historically correct movie.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The illusion shot down in flames again and again., 7 Oct 2009
By 
Hereward the Wakeful (Northern Euro Region, Former UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Red Baron [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
It was a sterling effort - satisfactory acting though I thought the script started to get a little ponderous when the RB was explaining to his nurse why he wouldn't stop flying. I was fascinated by the visual interpretation of the theatres of war, both in the air and on the front, but the computer graphics - as someone else has said - did leap up and shout "Hey, look, this was done with computer graphics!" But I ignored that and hung on to the illusion as tightly as I could. That illusion was challenged again as I felt the RB's squadron tended to fly in very tight formation, too tight for my liking. It looked great, a screen packed with spinning props and overlapping profiles of Albatrosses, but I couldn't help feeling it had been overdone. There were the graphics shouting at me again. The dogfights were clearly speeded up for a modern,impatient audience, with the planes on both sides throwing themselves around the sky like jet-engined fighters. Still, I wasn't looking for a history lesson but a dash of escapism and adventure with my cocoa. So yeah, good enough.
Where the film unredeemingly let me down was the character and event development. The story, particularly in the first half of the film, seemed to be racing through a tick list, rattling off the landmark events with no passage in between. This was only emphasised by the well-intentioned but actually very necessary date strap that kept appearing in the bottom of screen. Otherwise we had the periodic deaths as pilots were knocked off their perches, with only a shallow attempt at giving them any personality, with the sad result that I felt no more sympathy for them than I would for a fallen skittle. The film took up too much time with the RB's relationship with the nurse and skimped on the RB's relationship with his men and their feelings, their fears and their morale. Though there's no way of knowing how individuals might have actually behaved, would an early twentieth century unchaperoned single woman casually let a male acquaintance into her room while she was wearing nothing but her silky pyjamas? Then, once that relationship had moved up a gear, would she stand in full view of the airfield personnel wearing his dressing gown, having emerged from his tent, to wave him off on his mission? It's all very well getting the costumes and the hardware right but social behaviour can be just as anachronistic if not researched and applied properly.
It's not until the end of the film we discover that the Jewish pilot was fictional and his presence is justified as a representation of all the Jews that fought patriotically and courageously on the German side during WW1. It's true they did, but is it really necessary to include such politically correct elements in what is after all a story based on a historical biography? The same is true for the Poles. Poland was at that time dismembered and occupied by three empires - the German, the Russian and the Austro-Hungarian empires. Inevitably, as citizens of a German empire, there would be plenty of ethnic Poles in German uniform in WW1. There is no justification for picking out one race above any other that was victimized by the Germans in WW2. However well-meaning it turns art into propaganda.
To be honest the character that engaged me most was Kaiser Bill. Only two little appearances but a screenful of presence on both occasions.
Still, just a bit of fun innit?
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars German and English versions are totally different, 30 Jun 2010
This review is from: The Red Baron [Blu-ray] [2008] (Blu-ray)
I do agree with a previous review: This is a guilty pleasure. In Germany the movie got mostly bad reviews. It was said that the Red Baron's portrait was much too positive. British viewers are much kinder. I saw the German original but now watching this trailer here I realise that the two versions are totally different. The whole hunter, sport, fun aspect is much more emphasized in the English version. Odd but interesting. Anyway, from a cinematographic point of view it's a great movie.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Politically Correct Baron, 17 Mar 2010
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Red Baron [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Shot in English with a largely German cast, Nikolai Mullerschon's 2008 German would-be epic The Red Baron is perhaps somewhat better and slightly more ambitious than the recent Flyboys, but it still pales beside earlier films about the first war in the air like Aces High and, in particular, The Blue Max, which it at times strives to emulate. But where John Guillermin's film had a genuinely ruthless anti-hero and stunning aerial sequences shot in real planes, this quickly chips away at its hero's early arrogance to find the New Man underneath and too often limits the dogfights to brief green screen and CGI sequences that are good enough but not particularly convincing (though at least are slightly better photographed than the soft and undetailed scenes on terra firma). But while it spends far too much time on the ground and never offers a single prolonged or outstanding aerial setpiece to energise the film, it's not without redeeming features, offering Von Richthofen as the first superstar air ace, star of a thousand battlefront postcards who even has French prisoners stopping him to ask for autographs he gladly signs. There is even some attempt to look at the psychology behind his tactics and the propaganda machinations behind his rise to fame, Germany's need for a hero combining with his initial arrogance, thrill of the hunt and ideal of fighting a war with grace to create the perfect media-friendly heroic image in an increasingly ugly war, while it acknowledges the incestuous nature of the war in Europe, with relatives fighting on either side in family ties that mirror the old collapsed system of European alliances. Unfortunately it raises issues but only pays them lip service and all too often dumbs down with rushed scenes and on-the-nose dialogue that spells everything out far too specifically - it even adds captions like `Berlin, capital of the German Empire' for those who flunked their basic geography.

Matthias Schweighofer is adequate in the early scenes where Von Richthofen's arrogance exceeds his actions, but develops little gravitas as the role progresses, underlining the bland predictability of the character's journey from exhilaration to disillusion as he becomes increasingly uncomfortable with his role as a propaganda tool. Til Schweiger and Lena Headey fare rather better in their clichéd roles, though Joseph Fiennes is unable to do anything with his painfully trite scenes as Roy Brown, the Canadian air ace credited with shooting down Von Richthofen (the film dodges that controversy by not showing the Baron's demise, giving him a romantic farewell before flying off into legend instead). Rather than offering any alternate perspective to the Red Baron's view of war, he's simply there to help facilitate the German ace's relationship with Headey's nurse, who opens his eyes to the true horrors of war and turns him into a politically correct jaded 21st Century figure who even answers back the Kaiser about the futility of mechanised murder in the hope of making him more acceptable to modern audiences. Unfortunately it tends to make him rather bland and anachronistic instead, something the sporadically inappropriate moments of clichéd world music in Stefan Hansen and Dirk Reichardt's score only amplifies. The end result is a watchable but unconvincingly romanticised potboiler that never does its subject or its setting justice and never offers the kind of thrilling scenes in the air that films made over half a century ago did.

Showbox's UK DVD offers the English-language version of the film in an acceptable 2.35:1 widescreen transfer considering the weaknesses of the original cinematography and a decent array of extras: making of and visual effects featurettes, 6 brief deleted scenes, outtakes, stills gallery, trailer and, er, music video of the end title song - yes, the film ends with a German pop song...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No subtitles, 9 Oct 2009
By 
Malcolm Knight (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Red Baron [Blu-ray] [2008] (Blu-ray)
As expected the flying sequences are totally unrealistic CGI, in fact the whole film has an unnatural look about it that makes it look like a high definition computer game.

The audio is quite involving with lots of surround and sub-woofer activity and it is loud enough to occasionally lose some of the dialogue, which brings me to the film's major failing for me, there are no subtitles whatsoever.

The cover warning panel refers to nudity; well I must have blinked because I didn't see any.

I didn't find the film anything like as interesting as Flyboys which covers a similar subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RED BARON ON BLU-RAY, 9 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Red Baron [Blu-ray] [2008] (Blu-ray)
Having read Manfred Von Richtoffens' autobiography, which was published in 1917, I think the films director, Nikolai Mullerschon, and the young actor who plays the Baron, Matthias Schweiger, have done a pretty good job at nailing his character. With just the correct amount of egotistical disdain for the German hierarchy, the titular Red Baron comes across as an arrogant but surprisingly sympathetic youth beloved of his airmen and revered by friend and foe alike. At the age of just 25 this young knight of the air was offered command of the entire German air force and turned it down in favour of flying; a decision of course that lead to his untimely death soon after. Interwoven throughout the story of the air-ace is the often confrontational relationship with his younger, hot-headed brother, Lothar, who Richthoffen describes in his autobiography as a butcher, and the possibly factual love story between the Baron and his Belgian nurse, Kate Ottersdorf, following a head injury Richtfoffen incurred during combat. Neither story-line is in my mind intrusive, actually allowing the viewer necessary breathing space between the aerial combat sequences. The dog-fight scenes are particularly well handled, and using a combination of full-scale replicas and green-screen CGI techniques, appear far more authentic than those of the more recently released, World War Two action saga from Lucasfilm, 'Red Tails' (see my Blu-ray review of that film). Though featuring bi-planes the dog-fights in Red Baron are far more stately in execution than those in Red Tails, they are, none the less, breathtaking, and one is left wanting more.
With an aspect ratio of 2.39:1, the film fares well on Blu-ray. It is not the crispest transfer I've seen and in some scenes offers little qualitative superiority over the DVD. Colour saturation is good, however, and blacks are deep though lacking in detail. Outdoor scenes are particularly bright and crisp; the exterior CGI shot of Berlin being exceptionally detailed and well done. As already hinted at, it is the aerial sequences that really stand-out in this film and they fare exceptionally well under high definition scrutiny; the action looking realistic and not overly stylised and the assortment of aircraft appearing wholly authentic. The extras - including 'making of' documentaries, out-takes and deleted scenes amongst others, are interesting and worth a watch, though are not in HD.
Over-all I feel the Red baron on Blu-ray is a good buy, especially for the price at which it is available these days. It will definitely appeal to aviation enthusiasts and contains enough factual content for those interested in learning a bit about the man who became a legend. It is also a fine example of how an aerial-action war film can be made with subtlety, using an intelligent script without recourse to clichéd platitudes and stereotypical nationalism. Hollywood film-makers take note!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Red Baron, brought to life, 11 Feb 2011
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This review is from: The Red Baron [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Everyone has heard of the red baron, as I had, but I knew very little about the man himself. This film provides a fascinating insight into the life of a great historic figure and noble man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In No Man's Land, 3 April 2010
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Red Baron [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Red Baron is in that difficult area between biography and Disneyfication. There are great similarities to Flyboys and to the Young Indiana Jones series; some excellent effects, a rather simplistic telling of the story with a little bit of anachronism for the mores of the time. If you regard it as an exciting action film then it is well worth watching though the love-interest will jar.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Creativly Ananchronistic, 1 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Red Baron [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
As a WWI Aviation enthusiast I could not wait to see this movie. The life of the Red Baron. The planes featured in this movie are fantastic. It appears that no effort was spared to reproduce every plane with amazing accuracy. Other than that the movie is as historically innaccurate as you can find. In movies the leading man needs to be the tallest; this meant shrinking Lothar by over a foot. (Lothar was historically taller than his brother) According to the movie the Baron shot down Brown twice before thier fateful encounter, and landed once to walk his adversary to the front lines.
The Baron was noted for collecting souvieners from his kills and this is noted in the movie. By far though the funniest thing is the Barons love intrest.
The combat scenes though intense are hollywood at its finest. I really enjoyed them but again very inaccurate.
Lastly the manner ov the barons death. While it is an established fact that he was killed by groundfire the movie skirts this issue entirely as the hero flies off into the sun his girl promising to be there upon his return only to never return.
Watch and enjoy this movie it is well done. Do not use this as an educational tool.
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The Red Baron [Blu-ray] [2008]
The Red Baron [Blu-ray] [2008] by Nikolai Müllerschoen (Blu-ray - 2009)
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