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There are moments during ‘Flight 666’ that cause a very, very genuine response of stunned disbelief at what is laid bare by Sam Dunn and Scott McFadyan’s (of ‘Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey’ fame) all-seeing documentarian’s eyes. It’s there in full strength when the epic, spectacular set pieces used in each and every live performance leap out at the audience from the mammoth cinema screen.
It hits even harder at the magnificent sight of Ed Force One, Iron Maiden’s very own customised Boeing passenger plane (complete with beautifully lurid Eddie decals), soaring over the mountains ranges of South America in all its evil glory. This is a band, shots like these seem to say, that dares you to doubt that they haven’t achieved all this with no support whatsoever besides their fans worldwide.
It is endlessly endearing to think that Iron Maiden have attained all this glorious success and acclaim out of pure hard graft, endless touring and pure, indomitable will. In the world of today, where a band’s success is measured purely by the number of friends on their Myspace page, the continual reminder made by the documentary that Maiden have had next to no mainstream support in their 30+ years never stops being astounding.
More than any other documentation of Maiden’s career (and there have indeed been a fair few over years), ‘Flight 666’ is a testament to the devotion the band have inspired all across the planet. Headbangers who hold the notion of heavy metal fandom as being more akin to a community of believers fill the movie to bursting point, and to see them cling so dearly to the ray of light that Iron Maiden brings to their lives is more awe-inspiring than anything else in the film.
Some of them turn out in legions to greet (read: mob) the band the second Ed Force One touches ground in their nearest airport, and barely five minutes of the run time go by with a shot of someone showing off a home-made banners, or else cradling a signed t-shirt like they’ve just chanced upon the Holy Grail. But especially think of the heart-warming sight of one fan in Costa Rica, weeping openly and sending up ecstatic prayers of thanks for what he’s just seen. Forget every other magical documentary moment you might have seen – that is one sight that must surely rank as one of the greatest in all of filmmaking.
Elsewhere, ‘Flight 666’ impresses with the admirable candidacy with which the band are depicted. What’s presented of the band is far from sugar-coated; no frustrations with the unending lack of privacy around the keener fans are edited out of the narrative, no hitches in the militantly planned and executed tour left unmentioned for the sake of the band’s image. The frank and honest attitudes taken in the extensive interviews dotted through the film are also a pleasant counterpoint to all the good-humoured irreverence of the icons hamming it up on screen – drummer Nicko McBrain and his cheekily pointed sarcasm get the biggest laughs of all.
And of course, no Iron Maiden film would ever be complete without a plentiful dose of their trademarked metal brilliance, and ‘Flight 666’ has more than its fair share of Maiden standards, running the gamut from the galloping charge of ‘Number of the Beast’ and ‘The Evil That Men Do’ up to the glorious crowd-led epics ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and ‘Fear of the Dark,’ all of which take on glorious life on the silver screen and make their DVD-only companions of previous years seem pitiful by comparison.
Both a masterwork of documentary filmmaking on the part of Dunn and Macfadyan and one of the most intimate looks into the life of the biggest metal bands on earth to be found in their prodigious filmography, ‘Flight 666’ is head-and-shoulders above every flimsy ‘behind-the-scenes’ inserts found on any number of hastily released metal docs of late – and nuts to you, you poor unlucky soul, if you didn’t have the pleasure of it blasting out at you at full volume on the one night it was shown in cinemas. Up the Irons!!!
I got this DVD yesterday, and watched it with my two and a half year old daugher. She proclaimed it "rocking," and let me tell you, the little lady has TASTE! Not only is this an excellent glimpse into the lives of Iron Maiden on the road, it's also an entertaining travelogue, that offers a look at rock and roll through the lens of several "non-European" cultures. It's simply amazing to see the crowds of people thronging in the airports in Mumbai, Costa Rica, and other countries. It is clear from watching this film that Iron Maiden are far from being some heavy metal relic from the 80s, trying to relive their glory days. Far from it. This is a band who is still attracting hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
Musically, these guys are showing few signs of their age. The concert footage throughout the film shows a band at the top of their form. Bruce Dickinson wails as powerfully as he ever has, even in the mountains of Bogota, where the air is a bit thinner than he is used to. Nicko McBrain mercilessly flogs his drum kit, even when he almost breaks his wrist while playing a round of golf on one of his days off. The triple guitar attack of Adrian Smith, Janick Gers and Dave Murray is nothing short of awe inspiring: these guys trade solos back and forth, like some sort of intricate sporting event. And let us not forget the inimitable Steve Harris, who manages to play a great show in Australia, while still feeling the stomach-turning effects of a bug caught in India a few days before. I must also say, it's nothing short of inspirational to watch the reaction of the crowd in the concert scenes. The most emotional moment comes toward the end of the film, when a Latin American fan who has caught one of Nicko's drum sticks at the end of the show breaks down in tears, crosses himself and lifts his hands heavenward, absolutely enraptured by his concert experience. Beautiful...
Meanwhile, the film shows us much entertaining and often hilarious behind-the-scenes footage of the band recovering from concerts, hanging out on Ed Force One (the plane which Bruce Dickinson pilots around the globe, carrying all the band, crew and equipment), meeting and greeting fans all over the world, and sometimes kicking back and relaxing. The interviews interspersed throughout the film manage to give a paint a fascinating picture of a group who has been doing this for a little while, and one comes away with the impression that these guys are devoted to their fans and the music, while maintaining quite a bit of humility and respect for each other.
If you are at all a fan of Iron Maiden, you need to see Flight 666; if you are a fan of rock music, you need to see Flight 666. Hang it all, if you're a person who enjoys seeing a bunch of people who are passionate about what they do, encountering people of all kinds of cultures, you need to see Flight 666! Go ahead, once you've read this review, go to Amazon or FYE or wherever you like to shop online, and get yourself a copy of this DVD! You will not be disappointed, I promise.
When Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere Back In Time” world tour was announced, I thought, “They oughta do a live DVD of this tour. It’s going to be awesome having the current line-up playing all classic songs”. Sure enough, a bit more than a year later, that DVD is made a reality, but it is not the main focus. The main attraction is a documentary of the tour called “Flight 666”, made by Sam Dunn and Scot McFayden of “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” and “Global Metal” fame. Knowing how awesome those movies, and Maiden, are, Flight 666 isn’t to be missed.
The premise of Flight 666, as I said before, is documenting the Somewhere Back In Time tour, which brought the band to 16 cities worldwide, playing 23 concerts in 45 days. This was made possible by their customized Boeing 757 jet, nicknamed “Ed Force One” after their mascot Eddie, which carried the band, crew, and gear, as well as family and press. Singer Bruce Dickinson pilots the plane, which I find amazing because I would think that being in a band like Iron Maiden, and doing such a tour, would be stressful enough. But it sure didn`t seem like it, because they made it to every stop, with no threatening complications. Along the way, we see the band offstage/backstage, as well as taking part in recreational activities like tennis, golf, and football (soccer). It`s obviously funny to see lots of this stuff, because they`re all a bunch of characters. But every time the plane touches down, there is the typical pre-show fandemonium, then the show they`ve been waiting to see.
The concert disk is boasted to be "the most spectacular live footage yet seen of Maiden", and that sounds just about right. The stage is an almost complete recreation of the `84-`85 "World Slavery Tour", a most classic period of the band, with some imagery of the Somewhere In Time album. The setlist is comprised of one song from each of the 16 cities on the tour, all being pre-1990, when the band was at their best. Watching the HD footage in surround sound, just like the film, was super awesome. Not just that, but Maiden`s a renowned live band to begin with, so that is great in itself. The only problem I had with lots of the songs is that they aren`t very exact to their originals (different guitar solos, tempos), which I didn`t really like. I know that lots of bands do that, but I don`t really like it. Also, they show much of the concert footage throughout the film, so you know a lot of what's coming.
The only problem I had with the DVD itself is that it didn`t include any special features like deleted scenes, extended interviews, photo galleries, etc. The DVD calls the concert disk a "bonus disk", but I still would`ve enjoyed actual special features. But for what this DVD does have, it does very well, and I think that Flight 666 is essential for Maiden fans wanting to see the band as they are now: as awesome as ever.
Iron Maiden's Flight 666 is a documentary featuring Iron Maiden's first leg of the 2008 Somewhere Back in Time world tour.
The documentary album comes in a 2 DVD format, with the first DVD being the documentary itself and the second DVD being pro-shot footage of various performances at different venues around the world.
The documentary is basically about the band's life on the road, with this tour being exceptionally special as they were about to embark on an adventure that no heavy metal band has gone on before: 23 concerts on five continents in 45 days. This was made possible by the band having their own plane to travel on (which contained the crew, the band and the band's equipment), piloted by who else, but Iron Maiden's very own vocalist, Bruce Dickinson.
Perhaps the most interesting segments of the film are those of the backstage antics, both by the band members and the crew. It shows the life of Iron Maiden while on tour (which isn't all just about partying all night long, but rather indulging in various hobbies, such as golfing), and also gives insight to each individual member of the band.
Overall the production quality of the documentary is excellent (both sound-wise and visual-wise), with great footage done by Sam Dunn (producer of other metal-related films such as Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and Global Metal).