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The essence of heavy metal - 98%

kluseba, July 8th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2009, 2DVD, EMI (Slipcase)

Flight 666 is half concert film, half documentary and essential to the collection of anyone calling himself a heavy metal fan. The artwork looks cool, the extensive thirty-page booklet is of the highest quality and the two discs offer more than three and a half hours of excellent heavy metal entertainment.

The first part is a documentary of the band's Somewhere Back in Time tour with their own Boeing 757, nicknamed Ed Force One, piloted by lead singer Bruce Dickinson himself. The documentary shows us the complexity of such a tour around the planet, introduces us to legions of enthusiastic Iron Maiden fans from all around the world and gives us a better idea of the six enthusiastic band members who are enjoying themselves on stage like little children. In my opinion, this documentary directed by Canadian heavy metal fans Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen is one of the very best rock or metal documentaries ever made as every moment is filled with genuine passion for this type of music.

The second part is the concert movie, consisting of sixteen tracks from the eighties recorded in exotic locations such as Australia, Costa Rica and India. The songs are obviously heavy metal classics and especially the enthusiastic, epic and fast rendition of "Aces High", the melancholic performance of "Wasted Years" with wonderful backing vocals by Adrian Smith, the atmospheric magnum opus "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", the energetic and energizing fan participation in "Heaven Can Wait" and the often overlooked intellectual and mysterious encore "Moonchild" are highlights on this disc. What makes this second disc stand out are however the incredible fan reactions, including a magic moment when you can see a fan cry tears of joy after his idols' concert.

Even about a decade after its inititial release, Flight 666 has stood the test of time as brilliant documentary about the world's greatest heavy metal band. If I had to choose one single release to introduce Iron Maiden to my children, I would pick this one because of its authenticity, energy and joy. Up the Irons!

Iron Maiden's Gonna Getcha, No Matter How Far! - 100%

Crank_It_Up_To_666, February 3rd, 2010

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!!!

Around the World With Iron Maiden - 100%

caspianrex, June 24th, 2009

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.

1985 In The 21st Century - 90%

infectedsanity, June 22nd, 2009

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.