“The Blue Angels” review: Precision-guided piloting | WORLD
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The Blue Angels

DOCUMENTARY | Dedication and discipline are key virtues for the Navy’s elite blue-and-gold flyers

Amazon MGM Studios

<em>The Blue Angels</em>
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Rated G
Theaters, Amazon Prime

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels have been thrilling audiences at airshows since 1946. Now, thanks to a new documentary produced by Top Gun: Mackerick’s Glen Powell and Star Wars director J.J. Abrams, the iconic flight exhibition team will thrill audiences in theaters and on streaming. The Blue Angels provides an intimate look at the 2022 team, from the start of their training to the last show of the year.

Of the nearly 4,000 Navy pilots, only six make the cut to join the Blue Angels. After being selected, they head to El Centro, Calif., for a grueling two-month training season, hopping into G-force machines and practicing formations in the Boeing F-18 Super Hornets. The pace doesn’t slow down once they go on the road.

The film echoes movies like Top Gun, with its metal guitar soundtrack accompanying the high-octane flight montages. But the Blue Angels aren’t a bunch of cocky flyboys. The documentary introduces viewers to pilots who demonstrate dedication and discipline in the air and on the ground.

Wearing their sleek blue-and-gold uniforms and aviators, they march to their planes in a horizontal line and keep their posture straight while climbing into the cockpits. And flying at 400 miles an hour with thousands of fans watching from camping chairs and tailgates is serious business. In some formations, there’s just 12 inches between the wing of one jet and the cockpit of another.

At the end of each day, the pilots watch footage of their flights and analyze how they can improve. The central theme of the documentary is the relentless pursuit of “professionalism and perfection,” as the Blue Angels Creed puts it. If one pilot is even slightly off in a formation, everyone fails.

Even though the pilots never seem quite satisfied with their formations, the film promotes a sense of flawless perfection. Nothing really goes wrong, though there’s a brief mention of Blue Angels who crashed in the past.

The Blue Angels, featuring this group of clean-shaven family men, seems like a blast from the past, and one can’t help but feel the team, with its pursuit of excellence, possesses an old-fashioned attitude that’s going out of style. It’s a little sad that the Blue Angels have become a nostalgic tribute to a bygone slice of Americana, rather than what they were meant to be—an inspiration for the next generation.

Bekah McCallum

Bekah is a reviewer, reporter, and editorial assistant at WORLD. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Anderson University.


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