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Overall Rating
3.59

Awesome: 26.49%
Worth A Look34.59%
Just Average: 16.22%
Pretty Crappy: 16.76%
Sucks: 5.95%

12 reviews, 113 user ratings


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Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by David Cornelius

"An overload of retro cool."
4 stars

If you’re like me (and surely you are!), you got all giddy at the mere notion of “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.” Not the hi-tech breakthrough way in which it was made, although surely the technical inventiveness featured is indeed worthy of much giddiness. No, it’s the “art deco retro” (for lack of a better term) tone driving the film that makes me grin. Somebody made a movie that imagines how someone in the 1930s would make a sci-fi adventure yarn using today’s technology, an idea that reaches down into the very same part of my brain that loves “The Rocketeer,” “The Phantom,” and other cinematic throwbacks, and stirs that part with the other part that enjoys pouring over old time sci-fi, the decades-old estimates of what the future would hold.

That somebody is Kerry Conran, who spent the better part of the last few years making a retro sci-fi movie on his home computer; the six minutes of footage that he finally produced was wow-inducing enough to get the attention of Paramount, who agreed to turn his idea into a big budget number, and Gwyneth Paltrow, who agreed to star before even seeing a script. Better still, Conran chose to make the big version of his movie in the same way he made the small one: by filming all actors against a bluescreen, then adding in everything else - and I mean everything, including sets, backgrounds, digitized extras, etc. - in later.

Which is kinda how George Lucas made most of his new “Star Wars” movies, and how Peter Jackson created many key scenes for his “Lord of the Rings,” although the difference here is that Lucas, Jackson, and almost everyone else using computers for their special effects aim for photorealism, while Conran does not. His aim is for a more stylized look, more like a comic book, or an illustration from an issue of “Amazing Stories.” The fact that nothing looks quite real never detracts from the film as you’d expect it might; instead, the stylized visuals bring about a dreamlike sensation. (The same has been said of King Kong’s strange movements, the strange movement of his fur suggesting the otherworldliness of a nightmare - no surprise, then, that the original “Kong” is a major influence on Conran’s movie.)

Better still are the designs from Conran’s brother Kevin, sleek art deco imagery that overwhelms the senses. This is an old-time fantasy sprung to life, soaked in sepia tones and rattling with outlandish jolts of exaggeration and imagination. If there is a heaven, how I wish it looks like the New York of this movie.

Now, all of this is good stuff, to be sure, but a movie needs more than impressive visual effects (just ask anyone who saw, say, “I, Robot”). And it’s in the story, not the effects, where “Sky Captain” ultimately wins you over. This is a ripping tale of bravado and derring-do, a wickedly fun take on the adventure serials of yesteryear. In other words, if “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was Lucas and Spielberg’s spin on “The Perils of Nyoka” by way of “Zorro Rides Again,” “Sky Captain” is “Spy Smasher” by way of “King of the Rocketmen.” And if any of those titles made you smile, there is no excuse for you not to see “Sky Captain.”

The Sky Captain in question is Joe Sullivan (the dashing Jude Law), daring leader of his flying Army For Hire, who, in an awe-inspiring alternate 1939 (in which dirigibles still rule the skies and war in Europe is nowhere to be found), teams up with intrepid reporter/old flame Polly Perkins (the lovely Paltrow) to uncover the mystery of the giant robots that have been attacking cities across the globe. On their side: electronics whiz Dex (Giovanni Ribisi) and sexy Brit air commander Franky Cook (Angelina Jolie). Against them: a sinister nameless assassin (Bai Ling) and her employer, Dr. Totenkopf (played by... well, you’ll see).

OK, the plot, with all of its globetrotting and cliffhanging, is a tad underdeveloped; unlike the more solid Indy Jones flicks, “Sky Captain” is more superficial, content with big action sequences instead of quieter character moments. Conran’s script zips us from set piece to set piece without a deeper drive; we don’t really get involved with the mystery than we do simply get swept away by those involved with it. That more of the storyline fails to stick into memory after one viewing reveals that this is merely a good movie, instead of a great one.

This is not to say “Sky Captain” is a letdown, however. On the contrary. This is a movie boiling over with its own positive energy, its own sense of boy-howdy fun. Here’s a movie that brought out the kid in me (not hard to do, but still...), a marvel of the imagination that’s packed with wows. And news that Conran has recently signed to helm the upcoming “John Carter of Mars” is only making me happier - more loving retro fun from someone who looks like he really gets it. With “Sky Captain,” Conran gets it, alright. He gets it in spades.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10762&reviewer=392
originally posted: 01/24/05 21:47:26
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/25/09 Ganry41 These vocabularies, the syntax which structures them, and their set of speech sound units, 5 stars
10/25/09 Gangster90 Atlantic Yards project, the largest ever in Brooklyn, to build a basketball arena plus at l 3 stars
10/25/09 Mr.Carrot74 In effect, a dual-processor hyper-threaded machine provides four processors and ser 4 stars
10/24/09 Roy93 Well, this is a fantastic description, perhaps less becoming a scientist than a poet. , < 2 stars
10/23/09 Bob25 The plantings are chosen to be wind and drought resistant and modules can be rotated seas 5 stars
10/23/09 Loy62 In all likelihood, there is an archive or two that you know are critical for you to visit 2 stars
10/23/09 Crazy82 We need to find ways to remove c02 from the atmosphere. , 5 stars
10/22/09 Roy43 In some cases, our success at preventing fires for nearly a century has altered natural pro 5 stars
10/22/09 Arnold91 Therefore, using cache-aligned memory can reduce the number of cache updates necessary wh 3 stars
9/21/09 lopolongboards.com Even if there are less valued employees in the firm, the highly-valued ones will drive the 5 stars
9/15/09 xJNVqWokXRMFZKRA doors.txt;10;15 4 stars
9/14/09 www.apc.gov.ab.ca For the fitness that we are pursuing, every parameter within your control needs to be modul 2 stars
4/21/09 Dr.Lao Enjoyable homage to a nearly forgotten genre 4 stars
12/23/08 Popcorn muncher Great flick. Losers hated it because it went way over their heads 4 stars
9/02/08 Shaun Wallner This is the kind of movie you fall asleep too. 1 stars
5/26/08 PAUL SHORTT AMAZING TO LOOK AT BUT NOT AS MUCH FUN AS IT SHOULD BE TO WATCH 3 stars
7/11/07 MaDmAN Very stylized look but soooooo boring 2 stars
5/22/07 dude stunning but overall boring 2 stars
3/26/07 David Pollastrini Great fx 3 stars
3/20/07 dude ggod 4 stars
2/04/07 William Goss A gloriously glossy and supremely superficial diversion worthy of a lazy afternoon. 4 stars
7/20/06 Anthony Feor BORING 1 stars
7/05/06 drydock54321 it's different. 4 stars
4/09/06 Thomas Semesky The actors interaction with the blue screened backgrounds lack emotion 2 stars
1/29/06 the laughing man Brings us back to the 50s in imaginative ways. 5 stars
12/06/05 Sir Spam-a-lot Coulda been worse 3 stars
9/03/05 Quigley i am so sick of jude law being in every movie, especially sci-fi. skip this movie, please. 2 stars
8/15/05 cristeen69 so so ,boring over budget film 2 stars
8/12/05 Renee is Gabby I has some cool inventiveness but is let down by scripting and application 3 stars
7/26/05 Indrid Cold At some point after Jurassic Park, CGI extravaganzas became no big deal. WAL though. 4 stars
7/03/05 Ben Baxter Cheesy, without being funny. 2 stars
7/02/05 sam bonner the acting is wooden, but the adventure and effects are exciting 4 stars
6/20/05 darick Good graphics, action, average acting, irritatingly tried and tested story 3 stars
6/17/05 chris. better than i exxpected. very pretty. 4 stars
5/05/05 Kristi Achilleos Cool movie! i;ll definitely buy this on dvd! its so cool! all the scenes had smthn special! 5 stars
4/30/05 J K Rowling overrated 3 stars
4/29/05 matt 10000 pounds of dynamite are about to blow. lets take cover behind this box of dynamite 2 stars
4/12/05 Quigley great science fiction with cardboard characters and horrid screenwriting. thats all it is 4 stars
4/08/05 B Kniprath Very intesting movie. Good plot, for 1940's. 4 stars
3/31/05 keithers.. a fun ride but totally cgi gets annoying 3 stars
3/30/05 hannaho Exciting adventure from this new filmaker. 5 stars
3/22/05 HL A Fun Ride..Entertaning...Well Made Romp. 4 stars
3/07/05 Charlie Dinosaurs were lame crap, but the rest of the movie was interesting and exciting. 3 stars
3/03/05 Mider nice stuff people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
3/02/05 David Tsung definitely unique...great actors to watch 4 stars
2/19/05 Alice Colwell not much of a story to it 3 stars
2/17/05 tatum One of the most beautiful looking films ever made 5 stars
2/08/05 Dr Hock Oh so pretty, yet oh so aweful. 1 stars
2/03/05 Barbara Long Really strange flick. Wasn't my thing. 3 stars
2/02/05 Clifford C Gardner Not great - but a nice change in style 4 stars
2/01/05 Sheila awesome effects, holds your interest 5 stars
1/31/05 Kenneth Hannan The cartoony style got old fast. 3 stars
1/30/05 Lisa Craven Hated it and couldn't watch more than 2 minutes. My kids thought it was okay. 2 stars
1/30/05 Brian The cinnematography was laid on so thick that I couldn't see or appreciate the juvenile pro 1 stars
1/29/05 bongeezer What is this? 2 stars
1/28/05 darlenecom Brings you back to long ago days when you were young and thought you could do anything. 4 stars
1/25/05 Bobby da Squid Visually incredible but ultimately nonsensical and dull 3 stars
11/10/04 angelina jolie A revolutionary film 5 stars
10/30/04 JOE KENNEDY A GREAT SYTLISH FILM, WHAT THE ROCKETEER SHOULD HAVE BEEN, WEAK STORY AWESOME FILM MAKING 4 stars
10/28/04 Alex different indeed 4 stars
10/27/04 Kathleen Not very entertaining but ok...."Special" effects? 3 stars
10/25/04 John intriguing concept but has NO story NO charachters, bad effects and sub standard action 1 stars
10/18/04 Misty De Meo There's no real innovation in the plot, but it didn't need it - it was just plain fun. 4 stars
10/16/04 Aaron Smith Amazing visuals, the airborne aircraft carrier scene alone is worth the price of admission! 5 stars
10/10/04 Tom vision imaginative, but Law,Paltrow not as good as Jolie 3 stars
10/10/04 Steve It was different and that's what made it a great movie. 4 stars
10/06/04 your worst goddamn nightmare pretty, entertaining, silly little adventure flick that I liked 4 stars
10/05/04 Chris A film not afraid to do something different, looks great and has an awesome imagination. 4 stars
10/04/04 Jim Looks so good you almost don't notice the script is kind of crummy. 3 stars
10/04/04 vickie pretty to look at, boring after a few minutes. Dialogue was terrible. Ugh. 2 stars
10/03/04 Margaret Picture shot in sephia except for Polly's red lipstick, slow story, ugly art deco. 2 stars
10/02/04 Zai Sorry ..I had to walk out it was so boring. My husband and I BOTH fell alseep watching it. 1 stars
9/29/04 Jimmy Wanted to love it for it's style. But after the first 30 mins the film turned to shit 2 stars
9/29/04 irene did they even read the script before signing up? 2 stars
9/29/04 X DON'T GIVE AWAY THE ENDING TO SUCH A KICK-ASS MOVIE! 5 stars
9/29/04 Freddie Visually stimulating 5 stars
9/27/04 mkuntz A terrific entertainment: visually stunning, exciting, funny and good natured. Great! 5 stars
9/27/04 NICE GUY THE FIRST OF ITS KIND NICE 1 HOLLYWOOD 5 stars
9/26/04 Whatevr It was cool 5 stars
9/26/04 J. Bethancourt An unpretitious, purely entertainment romp. I loved it. 5 stars
9/26/04 LB If you are a fan of pulp adventure, run right out and see this immediately. 5 stars
9/26/04 Dog Lips completely boring. lame dialog, gratuitous explosions 2 stars
9/26/04 Koitus Fantastic figher sequences, in the city. But .. exactly "who" was controlling the robots? 4 stars
9/25/04 Heather This is the director's FIRST movie, WTF??!! 5 stars
9/23/04 Al Guy Robots- Great! Effects - Good! Characters - eehhh. 4 stars
9/23/04 Marcia Lartz Slow start, more compelling resolution. Gwyneth's poutiness grows a little taxing. 4 stars
9/23/04 Clock It's aight 3 stars
9/22/04 el burro Completely retarded beginning to end. 1 stars
9/21/04 KingNeutron Unique look, but I hope they do better with the plot +char. interaction next time. 4 stars
9/21/04 drfardook Average acting but its a visually stunning film. Its a fantastic pulp film. 4 stars
9/21/04 chimpy121 Extremely fun with great eye-candy. 5 stars
9/21/04 nick2k i liked it alot...nice retroesque adventure movie. been awhile... 4 stars
9/19/04 Eric Herman Utter nonsense. Never has there been a film more damaging to the 'steampunk' genre. 1 stars
9/19/04 T.J. Wood Clever vintage comic book adventure -- but the use of the image of Olivier was jarring. 4 stars
9/19/04 YSBEE See You in Last Era! 5 stars
9/19/04 BrianWilly Beautiful and witty as hell 5 stars
9/19/04 Naka Glorious, visually brilliant fun. 5 stars
9/19/04 dredphul all sfx, bad acting, no plot 1 stars
9/19/04 Kris no. Gwyneth, eat something. PLEASE. 1 stars
9/18/04 Jiz Cheesy, weird, but entertaining overall. 4 stars
9/18/04 Vicious Lovely visuals with a cool adventure story. 5 stars
9/18/04 Rooktoven Great eye candy and humor, dialogue a bit stiff 4 stars
9/18/04 CharWar I loved it! Can't wait to see it again. So different and fun! 5 stars
9/18/04 Heidi Shanklin The renderings are stunningly beautiful. A wonderful little movie 5 stars
9/18/04 Bill Very beautiful to look at, but superficial and predictable. Paltrow was very irritating. 2 stars
9/18/04 Titus So much fun! 5 stars
9/18/04 asdf Fun movie. I liked the Classic Pulp style. 4 stars
9/17/04 Kris The whole time, I was thinking "Blue screen, greeen screen, we all scream for ice cream" 1 stars
9/17/04 Naka FANTASTIC! Wonderfully original and brilliant all around. 5 stars
9/17/04 Sarcastro Derivative and hokey. Feels like something the Japanese would make. Actors wooden as well. 2 stars
9/16/04 Matt Seaver Amazing. A treat for the eyes. Early screenings make me happy! 5 stars
9/15/04 Jeff Incredible retro sci-fi flick. Something different. See it! 5 stars
9/10/04 Ray Good 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  17-Sep-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 25-Jan-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  03-Feb-2005


Directed by
  Kerry Conran

Written by
  Kerry Conran

Cast
  Jude Law
  Gwyneth Paltrow
  Angelina Jolie
  Giovanni Ribisi
  Michael Gambon



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