Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow

"Good"

Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow Review


An imaginative spectacular of retro-futuristic adventure and mind-boggling special effects, "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" so perfectly captures the silly sci-fi wonder of the 1930s serials which inspired it that watching this matinee marvel doesn't arouse a modern reaction of "wow!" or "cool!" -- it garners a genuine, awe-struck "golly!"

The film is cinematically breathtaking, with sepia-toned semi-color photography, swooping Orson-Wellesian dutch angles, top-secret floating air fortresses and pre-War propellered fighter planes battling giant robots in the skyscraper canyons of Depression-era Manhattan. But what's all the more amazing is that, except for the actors and a few props, nothing on the screen -- not the city sidewalks, not the interiors of cars the actors drive, not even the carpets in the lush, film-noir-shaded interior sets -- is real.

Beginning in college, first-time writer-director Kerry Conran spent 10 years on his Macintosh computer creating a six-minute sample of the opening sequence, in which a dirigible docks with the top of the Empire State building just as the riveted-steel six-story robots attack. When Hollywood producer Jon Avnet saw this clip, he raised $70 million and gave Conran free rein to hire himself a titular hero, played by a swashbuckling Jude Law, to come to the rescue and complete the director's groundbreaking dream -- a live-action movie set in an entirely CGI world.

The effects blend seamlessly with Conran's talented cast, including Law as the dashing defender-of-good freelance flying ace Sky Captain, Gwyneth Paltrow as go-get-'em girl reporter Polly Perkins, Angelina Jolie as derring-do British aviatrix Franky Cook and Giovanni Ribisi as Sky Captain's gum-popping gadget-maker Dex. They all help make the world of "Sky Captain" entirely believable even though they shot every scene on an empty blue-screen soundstage.

But you'd never know it to look at the film, which takes them from New York to Sky Captain's air-ship-hanger headquarters, to snow caves in Nepal, to the underwater entrance of a secret island where a rocket-ship-building "Wizard of Oz"-like megalomaniac (played, in another computer-effects coup, by the late Laurence Olivier) is bent on a rather original form of world destruction.

Like the low-budget serials that informed its story and style, "Sky Captain" has its imperfections, not the least of which is the bickering banter between its ex-lover hero and heroine. The dialogue has plenty of 1930s snap -- it's just delivered with more bitterness than charm by Law and Paltrow, who otherwise wholly inhabit their cleverly archetypical characters.

Another distraction (at first, anyway) is adjusting to the film's soft-focus look, which is meant to pay surrealistic homage to "Metropolis," "Flash Gordon," "King Kong," Max Fleischer's Superman cartoons (one was the inspiration for the giant robots) and other classics that influenced Conran (there's even a nod to "Star Wars"). A few minor gaffes of common sense in the plot are negligibly bothersome as well (if the villain's secret island has only just been discovered, how does Jolie know it has an undersea inlet?), and the finale is so over-the-top that it's hard to take our heroes' peril seriously.

But none of this diminishes the brilliantly derivative way "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" re-captures the thrilling, anything's-possible air of the genre it emulates. It is to early science fiction movies what "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was to the period's pith-helmet jungle adventures.



Facts and Figures

Box Office Worldwide: $58M

Budget: $70M

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Natural Nylon Entertainment, Filmauro, Blue Flower Productions, Brooklyn Films II, Riff Raff Film Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Sky Captain, as Polly Perkins, as Dex, as Franky, as Mysterious Woman, as Paley, as Kaji, as Dr. Totenkopf, Peter Law as Dr. Kessler, Khan Bonfils as Creepy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.