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Creature Feature: The Plane from Airline Disaster

I felt a little weird adding The Plane from Airline Disaster to last year's list of non-human Looney nominees; but truth be told, I thought it was as much as character as any creature that reared its ugly head in an Asylum film last year, so I went for it. Heck, that's why the category was called "best performance by a non-human" instead of "best performance by a creature." What surprised me even more, however, was how many votes it received from you guys. The Plane came in a secure third in its category, when truthfully I barely expected it to register. But my initial assessment was correct: the plane in Airline Disaster is as central to the film and as much a physical presence as is Moby Dick in Moby Dick, or either Mega Shark or Crocosaurus in, well, you get the point. So I thought, given it's prominent position in my readers' fancy, I'd give the plane its full due and devote this creature feature to it.

There's nothing super or mega about this plane, spatially-speaking; it's a big ole plane, sure, but it's not the biggest ever or the heaviest or anything like that - it isn't the Titanic of the skies. There are multiple levels, kinda perfect for a band of terrorist hijackers looking to move about relatively undetected, and it does have four massive engines capable of sucking up cows and grinding them alive. Furthermore, its aerodynamic design is supposed to significantly cut down on fuel consumption. But again, these traits aren't all that distinguishing. What sets this plane - the first in Coastal Airlines' much-touted Starquest program - apart from all others, what makes it a target, in essence, is that it boasts to be run solely by computerized controls: "fully automatic from takeoff to landing." Pilots, so it's implied, are afterthoughts here, visual comfort for the passengers but not nearly as in control of the flight as we're accustomed to. In short, and perhaps oversimplifying, it's a robot plane. This has its advantages and disadvantages.

 Advantage: that human error factor which equates for roughly 70-80% of all airline disasters is avoided.

Disadvantage: you know, no one's in charge of the fucking plane.

That's not to say there's no way for a human pilot to regain control of the plane - of course there is, "innovative" isn't always synonymous with "suicidal" - but she's a bitch to control, a big, beautiful whale of a plane that takes more than power to steer, it takes an steel will stronger than that massive tube hurtling over our nation's capital toward the icy, unforgiving waters of the Potomac*.

Overall then, the plane in Airline Disaster becomes, in fact, more of a presence than other notable non-humans; after all, Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus might be about those non-humans, but it also doesn't simultaneously take place inside them. The plane is villain, victim, setting, and, ultimately, hero. That's a lot of personas for something without an intellect (circuit boards aside).

So while the plane may never find itself in a "vs" film, or even get a sequel, it was one of the hardest-working, if not the hardest-working, non-human in The Asylum's employ last year, I'm convinced. Sorry for ever doubting you, big guy.

*just ask the British


  1. So you may be interested to know that the plane got a quick cameo in the upcoming 2012: Ice Age! If it makes the cut, watch for it briefly at the start of the film. :-)

  2. Another, more extended, cameo for our favorite Asylum plane coming up in 3 Musketeers. A new airline even!