On a Wing and a Prayer is the 2023 movie released on Amazon, based on the true story of a family that survives an airplane flight. This film is separate from the many other movies released with similar titles in 1944, 1992, 1998, and 2015 as is noted on IMDb (aside from a TV series in the late 1990s). When I heard the title of this new release, I sincerely thought it was a remake of an older film. It is a sincere effort to tell the story of the White family. Still, this effort by the filmmakers, Brian Egeston (screenwriter with a history of writing TV series) and director Sean McNamara (The King’s Daughter, Soul Surfer), need to deliver the required drama about the real danger in this story. The viewers may know there is an impending peril when a pilot is ill or passes away while flying a plane, but the screenplay comes across as predictable and about the same skill level as a made–for–TV film. Given the limited and predictable dialogue, all the actors do their best for this film. This movie will likely be a hit for any individual satisfied with the made–for–TV movies. Others may not agree.
Jeff (Brett Rice) is a pharmacist working on being a pilot. He has his brother, Doug White (Dennis Quaid), join him in the skies as a pilot on a flight, but Doug is not quite as enthusiastic or confident about controlling the small plane. Soon after the family time, Doug learns of his brother’s untimely death, which shakes his faith. He, his wife Terri (Heather Graham), and two daughters, Maggie (Jessi Case) and Bailey (Abigail Rhyne), attended the funeral. Doug’s pilot friend, Joe Cabuk (Wilbur T. Fitzgerald), passes out on the return flight. Thankfully, Doug was sitting in the co-pilot seat visiting Joe during the flight and noticed when Joe was non-responsive.
This problem is another drama amidst the main one. Doug lacks confidence, but his wife keeps boosting him up. A control tower worker named Dan (Rocky Myers) reaches out to a couple in Connecticut, Kari (Jesse Metcalfe) and Ashley (Anna Enger Ritch), who have flight experience. They connect with air traffic controllers and others who are reached via phone to fly this plane and land it safely.
There are two children in the film, and their characters’ participation needs to be fully explained in the script and fall flat at the end. Preteen Donna (Raina Grey), who aspires to be a pilot, and her friend, Buggy (Trayce Malachi), listen to the events via Donna’s computer screen as events unfold. Ultimately, they ride their bikes to the airport, get past security and then watch and talk among themselves – as if suddenly the security guard in a vehicle chasing them disappears.
The film ends with photos/videos of the real-life people on whom the story is based. By the way, if you like and are interested in the music used in films, you can hear “Spirit in the Sky” and “Hallelujah” and notice how they accompany the film’s story. Obvious, but at least it is good music.
I am not a fan of predictable screenplays, but the good thing is that Amazon Studios has released the film on Prime Video now. View it on your favorite device and in the comfort of your home.