“Everything about Tom Harper‘s The Aeronauts seems tailored to the lowest-common-denominator ADD demo. Every line and scene is aimed at the peanut gallery. Every potential risk and thrill element (almost falling out of the passenger basket, climbing up the side of a balloon in frigid weather) struck me as cartoonishly crude and exaggerated. The recreations of early 1860s London felt about as genuinely atmospheric as the depictions of mid 1930s London in Mary Poppins Returns, which is to say “pass the crackerjack.” It all feels like a movie — a show for the shmoes.

“The bottom line is that I didn’t care very much about Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones above the clouds. One of them could have frozen to death (one almost does) or fallen to the earth and I wouldn’t have blinked an eye. I’ve had a problem with Redmayne ever since The Danish Girl, and especially since Jupiter Ascending. He has a deeply punchable face.

“Just as the voyage begins there’s a moment when Amelia Wren throws a small dog out of the basket about 150 feet up, but he lands safely with a parachute. (This was apparently a real-deal stunt that Blanchard or Graham did to amuse the crowds.) If only The Aeronauts had shown this stunt going wrong…if the parachute hadn’t opened and the dog had gone splat on the pavement, I would’ve respected it more. At least that would have been unexpected. As is, The Aeronauts is completely predictable and assembly-line.” — from “Aeronauts Ain’t For Me,” posted from Telluride on 9.1.19.