Entry Level Entebbe
As a 3 year old in 1976 it is little surprise that I had no knowledge of the events on the 4th July at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. But it appears that a terrorist situation involving he Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacking a plane was big news as not only were their two movies based on it released in 1976 but a third movie a year later. "Victory at Entebbe" is one of those movies which were rushed out in 1976 and features a surprising cast of big screen actors including Kirk Douglas, Elizabeth Taylor, Anthony Hopkins and Burt Lancaster. But big name stars don't make a movie and "Victory at Entebbe" is to be honest a bit of a dirge which feels rushed out and lacking the depth to make the true story come to life.
Now I am not going to detail what happens in "Victory at Entebbe", information on the actual Operation Entebbe is readily available. Not only that for those who are unaware of these events of July 1976 this movie doesn't do the best job of explaining them and I found myself seeking out the real information in order to be able to follow what was going on and why. But what is also disappointing and I imagine is also caused by this feeling rushed out is that when it comes to the attempts to rescue the hostages it never becomes entertaining.
What all this means and what "Victory at Entebbe" ends up feeling like is a movie where in order to get it out quickly the writers have relied on a lot of dialogue but ironically most of it comes across as meaningless, time filling rather than revealing the drama, danger or giving character depth. That is one of the movies biggest issues as it serves up a selection of characters but never gives them any depth again seeming to be catering for those who followed the story on the news rather than those who come across this as movie fans.
The upshot of this is that "Victory at Entebbe" has a surprising number of star names especially when you consider this was made for TV. We have Anthony Hopkins, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Elizabeth Taylor, even Richard Dreyfuss and Linda Blair are in there as well but none of their characters feel real. Instead it has the feel of a collection of marquee names called upon to give their parts some gusto, to shout their lines to try and create tension but without good dialogue it comes across as noise.
In fairness there are some interesting scenes in the movie especially one of the Jewish passengers emotional as the separation which the Kidnappers practice reminds him of what they went through during WWII. But most of the scenes just feel rushed and come across as noise rather than revealing and interesting.
What this all boils down to is that despite the star cast "Victory at Entebbe" is quite a disappointment and not only feels rushed but fails to bring the drama of the real events to life.