The Theory of Everything was a phenomenon. A moving, inspirational, beautifully acted period drama about a genuinely heroic figure, The Theory of Everything ended up being nominated for five Oscars – and winning best actor. It left people wanting more, so now more is on the way.
Like The Theory of Everything, The Aeronauts stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Like The Theory of Everything, it is also another inspirational period drama about a genuinely heroic figure. And, like The Theory of Everything, it has been designed to directly appeal to an older, more genteel audience that prefers its storytelling to be slow and deliberate. Let’s look at the trailer.
Eddie Redmayne plays brilliant Victorian meteorologist James Glaisher, starched and staid and fond of delivering important lectures in wood-panelled halls. This thing has got Oscar written all over it.
But he’s a maverick. His heady, groundbreaking ideas about meteorology go down badly with the out-of-work shopping centre Santa Clauses who represent his peers. This is going to be the story of one man against the establishment. It’s a story about quiet grit and steady resolution.
So Glaisher enlists the help of Amelia Wren, played by Felicity Jones, to fly him up in a hot air balloon to prove his thesis. What could be more perfect than that? Not only will there be beautiful period costumes in this film, but also soaring aerial shots of the verdant British countryside. It might be a bit too sedate for the likes of you, but your grandparents are going to absolutely love The Aeronauts.
And up she goes. Two of the greatest living British screen actors in a period drama about hot-air balloons. I for one cannot wait to fall asleep to this film when it’s on TV on Easter Sunday five years from now.
Oh no, what’s going on? They must have hit a storm or something, because everything’s going wrong. Redmayne is screaming, Jones is screaming, the trailer is literally playing the noise of a screaming jet engine. Oh lord, this is terrifying. Surely this is just a blip, and we’ll be back to quaint little England soon enough.
Oh Jesus, now the basket’s fallen off. Guys, they’re way up in the sky, and the basket of their hot-air balloon has fallen off. I thought this was supposed to be a gentle little period drama. It was supposed to be The Theory of Everything 2, not The Literal Manifestation of All My Most Deeply-Held Fears. God almighty, I’m sweating here.
OK, definitely don’t show this film to your grandparents. At this rate it’ll probably finish them off. Felicity Jones is falling out of the hot-air balloon. They hit a storm, the basket fell off and now she’s going to plummet several thousand feet to her definite death. Holy-moly, this is terrifying.
It’s fine, it’s fine everyone. Felicity Jones has managed to climb to the top of the balloon for safety and – oh, wait, no, the balloon is covered in ice, and she’s slipped off. The balloon is so high that you can see the curvature of the Earth, and Felicity Jones is slipping around on some ice on top of a hot-air balloon to her inevitable death. What the hell is going on with this film? Imagine if you went to see The Remains of the Day, and then halfway through a volcano went off, and it was full of dinosaurs, and then Anthony Hopkins spent the rest of the film machine-gunning dinosaurs to smithereens in the middle of a lava field. Imagine it. If that happened you’d still only be half as confused as I am by The Aeronauts. I mean, good lord. This isn’t The Theory of Everything. It’s Toff Gravity.
Seriously, this is the third consecutive scene where Felicity Jones falls off a hot-air balloon to her death. How many Felicity Joneses are there? Is the balloon full of Felicity Joneses? Was she repeatedly cloned by a berserk scientist hell-bent on taking over the world, so they’re trying to fly them all into the sun to destroy them? Is that what’s going on? Because, honestly, that would make a lot more sense than any other explanation. Honestly, this film.