I’ve waited a long time to see a movie whose main action happens in the air, and ‘Shadows in the Clouds’ made that wait worth it, and director Roseanne Liang and Max Landis, made this space combat action-horror film look like a walk in a park.
Toxic masculinity and sexism were the real villains in ‘Shadow in the clouds’
Although the villains were vicious gremlins and fast air-crafts, toxic masculinity and sexism was the actual monster shadow in the clouds conquered.
The movie begins with Maude Garrette (Chloe Grace Moretz), a female flight officer on a covert mission to deliver a confidential package from the base camp to Samoa. The plane is typical of the combat planes used in WW2. This particular aircraft is designed with a Fool’s errand banner. Fool’s errand was a puzzle game trendy in the late 80’s about a wandering character who seeks fortune in enchanted lands. Although it is difficult to interpret this reference in the beginning, however at the conclusion, it ties up together at the conclusion.
Being the only female on board, Maude witnesses what still quite seems to be the norm of society’s objectification of women as the male crew members [except Quaid, who will be revealed to have once had a previous relationship with Maude] pass offensive remarks oblivious that Maude hears everything as she occupies the plane’s Sperry.
We hear the male crew members tease, “Who gives a crap about her arm? How’s her Ass” ‘She got one of those mouths you can just fuck all day. ’‘Shit, maybe if the flight gets boring, we can all get lucky.’‘ That’s a real stealth pussy fellas’
This was in the ’40s, yet these sexist remarks and gender-based threats are still very much common today.
Nonetheless, Maude is not intimidated by their words. Instead, she is provoked to take affairs of the aircraft’s handling into her own hands after they begin to get attacked by horrifying gremlins and metal piercing ammo. As the intensity of the invasion becomes more life-threatening- Reeves, the flight captain, accuses Maude’s package of being responsible for their flight mishap, breaks the confidential protocol, and opens it anyway. To the crew’s shock, there is no special package. It is a baby.
As Quaid tries to fight them off, He unlocks a new trajectory to the story. ‘Give me back, my baby’, he demands. Maude and Quaid are further questioned, and it is revealed Maude is no flight officer, and wasn’t assigned on any particular mission. More revealing, she is running from her violent husband out of fear for her life and that of her baby’s.
In this scene, we get to see Chloe Grace Moretz's incredible acting as the expressions on her face brilliantly match with the script. This makes me feel I will be seeing more of her on the big screens after Tom and Jerry 2021.
What follows is another series of attacks that sees Maude have a near-death experience as she tries to recover her baby from a gremlin, take control of the flight and land the plane while still warding off the on-air invasion. The action was thrilling enough to leave me hanging on the balance between sky and land, flight and fall, life and death.
Two parts of this movie I feel could have done better. One was the effects. At some point, you could tell there was a green screen in the background during the plane combat. How Maude climbed a plane moving at 612 miles per hour, 8000ft in the air, could’ve been made to look more natural.
The second was the ending. What happens next?
The movie ends with Maude and the co-pilot pulling a rough but successful landing in the middle of nowhere. That begs the question, how will Maude, the co-pilot, Quaid, and one other crew member- the only survivors of the flight make it back to civilization?
Perhaps the flight they took off from wasn’t going to take them to Samoa as they intended but to an enchanted land in the middle of nowhere which can justify the fool’s errand reference in the opening. Or it hints at another adventure reserved for a sequel if there ever would be one.
Israel Olorunnisola is a freelance creative. When he is not writing about Film, Music, TV or Pop culture he is telling stories on Wattpad.
Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.
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