Like its namesake, The Hindenburg is big and bloated. Unlike the famous zeppelin, this film never gets off the ground, let alone soars. A plodding, tiresome, and often irritating account of what might have brought about the landmark disaster, Hindenburg is full of clichés, stereotypes, and soaped-up melodrama. What it lacks is interesting characters, believable plot twists, intelligent (or just engaging) dialogue, and anything resembling suspense or momentum. Though it only runs slightly longer than two hours, with Robert Wise's leaden directing, it feels much longer. The film is not a total loss, however. The designers meticulously recreated the interior of the ship, and there's a certain historical fascination in getting to see its inner workings in such detail. Also, Albert Whitlock and Glen Robinson's visual effects are superior. The sets and costumes are quite evocative, and Robert Surtees has photographed the whole thing marvelously, with a judicious use of sepia. It's also hard to discredit a cast that's as chock-full of stars and talented players as this, although not even the likes of George C. Scott and Anne Bancroft can breathe much life into the script. These assets don't make Hindenburg good, but they keep it from being as big a disaster as the real thing.
by Craig Butler review