Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Review
Having been out a while, I'm sure everyone knows the plot, but just in case here's a recap. Sky Captain is essentially homage to the 1930's/40's era of serials (like Flash Gordon) as well as superheroes at the time (The Rocketeer) - in fact Conran originally wanted to produce it in this episodic format, but this approach was abandoned for greater box office appeal. The story, as basic as it truly is, concerns the disappearance of various scientists, which eventually comes to the attention of Polly Perkins (Paltrow) by the last scientist on a list. He explains that someone named Totenkopf (Laurence Olivier) is the individual after them and no sooner has this meeting happened, then sirens sound and the city and sky is soon filled with giant robots. Cue Joe “Sky Captain” Sullivan (Law), who flies in to combat the robots and save Perkins, whom slowly explains the information she's been told by the scientist and soon our intrepid heroes are off to save the world from Totenkpf and his robots, but of course they couldn't do it without the help from a certain Captain Frankie Cook (Jolie) or Joe's main technical guy Dex (Ribisi).Well I don't want to cover the same ground again - so that's the story in a nutshell. No it's not a particularly deep story, but then as stated, it's paying homage to the movies from yesteryear and it does so exceedingly well, provided you accept this from the off. If you really have no care for those series etc. then you will most likely not enjoy this movie, which is a shame, as although it is shallow, it is incredibly good fun. Law, whom seemed to be in almost everything last year, play the part suitably well, he's matter-of-fact and we can appreciate the chemistry he shares with Paltrow's character. Paltrow on the other hand, isn't particularly great here, going through the motions to drive the plot forward but nothing else ultimately. Ribisi and Jolie's roles sadly are cameos, which is a shame, as Dex would have livened things up no end between the two principles, possibly even hiding some of the shortcomings of Paltrow while Jolie absolutely steals the movie from everyone, with a sassy and kind of sexy portrayal of a serious Captain, whom is every part Joe's equal, as well as the obvious hint that their characters have romantic history also, which obviously irks Perkins. It's a shame then that Jolie is only in the movie for 5 minutes or so, because the dynamic could have really been interesting had the role been fleshed out (hmmmm Spinoff.......), not to mention that her movie roles haven't been that impressive (although she was still the best reason to watch Alexander as well).
What does set this movie up from everything else (at the time) was the approach of utilising almost 100% blue screen/CGI effects for everything. With the exception of props and one or two sets, like the newsroom and the actors themselves, this is effectively a digital movie and just shows what can be achieved with a decent vision and some great CGI work. OK it's not comparable to the Gollum CGI, but it's a totally different ballpark we're talking. To realise whole sets and backdrops with the actors having little to interact with is impressive, not to mention that the whole movie was shot in 26 days because most of the work would be post-production. Is this the way of the future? Well probably not, but movies such as Immortel, Casshern and more recently, Sin City are all movies using the same or similar process. It will certainly be interesting if they make a sequel, I, for one will be looking forward to it. Besides who can't love a movie with the line “Alert the Amphibious Squadron”.Oh, one final word - when the disk spins up it automatically takes you to the movie with Dolby Digital soundtrack playing. Why not just take you to the menu like 99.9% of the other DVD's?