Nineteen-eighty was something of an annus horribilis for Walt Disney Productions, since the company didn’t release a new animated film and the best Disney could muster in terms of live action was the middling supernatural flick The Watcher in the Woods. On one wretched day, June 27, the company released both the execrable sequel Herbie Goes Bananas and the pointless adventure film The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark. Starring Elliot Gould, The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark is an animal picture in which animals are barely featured, a kiddie movie in which children are incidental, a romantic movie without spark, a comedy without laughs, and an action picture without thrills. Notwithstanding impressive production values and some moody cinematography by Charles F. Wheeler, the movie has virtually nothing to offer. As for the plot, it’s so silly that it’s nearly a parody of Disney’s live-action style. Down-on-his-luck pilot Noah Dugan (Gould) takes a job flying a World War II-era B-29 to a remote island on behalf of a French-Canadian missionary, Bernadette (Geneviève Bujold), who plans to deliver livestock to a remote settlement. Two children, one of whom is played by ’70s/’80s child star Ricky Schroeder, stow away on the plane. A mishap causes the plane to drift off course and run out of fuel just in time for a crash landing on a tiny Pacific island, the sole occupants of which are two Japanese soldiers who believe World War II is still underway. The dramatic possibilities of this set-up are discarded almost immediately, because one of the Japanese soldiers speaks English, Bernadette easily persuades them the war is over, and then everybody collaborates on an escape plan. In lieu of excitement, The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark offers schmaltz, complete with a theme song so precious it will make your ears bleed. (Sample lyrics: “If I were a tree, you’d be my roots—we’d grow together.”) It’s a wonder this flight wasn’t equipped with airsick bags.
The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark: LAME