Air New Zealand’s safety video was supposed to be ‘magical’ – but it’s just plain weird

Air New Zealand’s 2017 video features Cuba Gooding Jr and Katie Holmes.

If there were awards given out for creative safety videos in the aviation industry, Air New Zealand would win hands down every single year.

For years, the airline has produced hilarious and imaginative safety videos, which are usually star-studded and sprinkled with jokes.

Who could forget the “most epic safety video ever made” it released in 2014 with guest appearances by Elijah Wood and Sir Peter Jackson?

This year, the airline’s safety video stars Hollywood stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Katie Holmes as creators of the world.

After introducing New Zealand as “the most beautiful place we’ve created yet”, the stars take viewers on “a fantastical journey” inspired by Lewis Carol’s classic Alice in Wonderland.

While the topic seems promising, this year’s safety video lacks the magical oomph we were expecting to see.

Did Air New Zealand set the bar too high in previous years?

Don’t get us wrong – the 2017 video is beautiful, with stunning scenes of New Zealand’s natural landscape. But its narrative gets a little draggy, with frequent out-of-place interruptions by aircraft imagery.

A scene from Air New Zealand’s 2017 safety video

The difficulty of piecing the visuals together just makes this video seem a little weird – and not in a good way.

In the past, Air New Zealand managed to make air safety look fun, by re-purposing typical safety guidelines in unconventional settings such as in cafes, police cars and even in the wilderness.

This year’s footage seems disjointed, and cuts intermittently between pretty fantasies (think skiing down the white slopes of a pavlova cake) and bizarre scenes of aircraft components superimposed on New Zealand’s scenery (such as the part where a giant woman braces forward in gigantic airline seats digitally imposed on the Conway River).

A scene from Air New Zealand’s 2017 safety video showing a skier on a pavlova

Another scene from Air New Zealand’s 2017 safety video showing giant airline seats on a river.

And the most disappointing part about the new video is that it isn’t all that funny. Previous editions have always left us in stitches, but jokes in the 2017 version seem to fall flat most of the time.

Cuba Gooding Junior jokes that there should be a street named after him in New Zealand, a reference to world famous Cuba Street in Wellington.

We expected something more magical to come out of a great theme such as this, but were left confused and trying to connect the dots in this latest video.

Nonetheless, it’s still a pretty darn good video compared to the other offerings out there. And besides, weird is what keeps us glued to the screen.