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Overall Rating
3.59

Awesome: 26.49%
Worth A Look34.59%
Average: 16.22%
Pretty Bad: 16.76%
Total Crap: 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 EricDSnider

"Giant robots! How can you go wrong with giant robots?!"
4 stars

I wish I were 70 years old, so I could say that "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" reminds me of the many Saturdays of my youth that I spent down at the cinema, paying a nickel to watch Dick Tracy movies all day, and how afterward I'd stop at the drug store for a strawberry phosphate and some horehound candy. But alas, I'm too young for that, and "Sky Captain" only reminds me of what I imagine it must have been like.

This is probably the best throwback to the cliffhanger serials of yesteryear since "Raiders of the Lost Ark." It's a grand, old-fashioned adventure that meticulously follows the plot structures and characters from those old films -- which most of us only know by their reputation and imitators, not having seen the actual movies -- and truly pays homage to them. This is not a parody. This is the real article, using modern technology to make it look like very little modern technology was used.

The writer/director, Kerry Conran, shot the film entirely on a green screen. That is to say, only the principal actors are real. Everything else was created digitally, with the actors inserted into it later.

The reason for this was so the images would be easier to manipulate. With all the computer wizardry applies, the backgrounds have blurry edges, the foregrounds have a dewy quality about them, the color looks artificial -- it looks very much like a film from the 1940s, in other words, and has plots and dialogue to match. The streets of New York look like the streets of Metropolis from Max Fleischer's "Superman" cartoons -- and then giant robots attack, just like they did in one of those very cartoons.

And that's not the only film reference. "Wizard of Oz" parallels are obvious, as are connections to Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (no relation to Superman's hometown) and various others. Mostly, though, it's the style that is duplicated, and it is done with glee, ingenuity and wit.

It's 1939, and the world's eminent scientists are being kidnapped one by one, and newspaper reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) has a lead on who might be next. Meanwhile, giant robots invade New York and other major cities to suck up their energy supplies. Only one person to call in a situation like this: Sky Captain.

Sky Captain is Joe Sullivan (Jude Law), a dashing pilot and adventurer and leader of the for-hire army that world governments call upon when there's trouble. His crew, assisted by Dex Dearborn (Giovanni Ribisi), has seen these robots before, but has never been able to determine their source. After Dex is abducted, it's up to Joe and Polly -- who have a tumultuous history, of course, and who currently engage in much verbal combat -- to rescue him, find the scientists, and stop whichever nefarious party is behind all this.

Jude Law makes a good enough adventurer, though he's no Harrison Ford, who always seemed to be having fun even when all around him was chaos, while Law takes everything so seriously. Better is Gwyneth Paltrow, whose simple beauty makes her a perfect fit for the role of Golden Age screen idol. And better still is Angelina Jolie as Franky Cook, a one-eyed ship commander who helps Joe and Polly late in the game, and who has a history with Joe, too. Jolie's enthusiasm and all-out commitment is infectious; it's rare to see her enjoying herself this much.

Conran keeps things moving pretty fast, and he very nearly makes the style work for the entire film. But there are a few points where the action slows down and the novelty of it wears off and you stop smiling for a few minutes and you think, "Wait, there's really nothing to this, is there?"

And there really isn't. But when all of the movie's elements are working together -- the familiar characters, the goofy-but-interesting story, and the eye-catching special effects -- it's a magical, wonderfully entertaining ride.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10762&reviewer=247
originally posted: 09/19/04 17:47:00
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/26/09 Ganry41 These vocabularies, the syntax which structures them, and their set of speech sound units, 5 stars
10/26/09 Gangster90 Atlantic Yards project, the largest ever in Brooklyn, to build a basketball arena plus at l 3 stars
10/26/09 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
10/24/09 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
10/23/09 Roy43 In some cases, our success at preventing fires for nearly a century has altered natural pro 5 stars
10/23/09 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
9/16/09 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
4/22/09 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
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner This is the kind of movie you fall asleep too. 1 stars
5/27/08 PAUL SHORTT AMAZING TO LOOK AT BUT NOT AS MUCH FUN AS IT SHOULD BE TO WATCH 3 stars
7/12/07 MaDmAN Very stylized look but soooooo boring 2 stars
5/23/07 dude stunning but overall boring 2 stars
3/27/07 David Pollastrini Great fx 3 stars
3/21/07 dude ggod 4 stars
2/04/07 William Goss A gloriously glossy and supremely superficial diversion worthy of a lazy afternoon. 4 stars
7/21/06 Anthony Feor BORING 1 stars
7/06/06 drydock54321 it's different. 4 stars
4/10/06 Thomas Semesky The actors interaction with the blue screened backgrounds lack emotion 2 stars
1/30/06 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
9/04/05 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
7/27/05 Indrid Cold At some point after Jurassic Park, CGI extravaganzas became no big deal. WAL though. 4 stars
7/04/05 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
6/18/05 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
5/01/05 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
4/13/05 Quigley great science fiction with cardboard characters and horrid screenwriting. thats all it is 4 stars
4/09/05 B Kniprath Very intesting movie. Good plot, for 1940's. 4 stars
4/01/05 keithers.. a fun ride but totally cgi gets annoying 3 stars
3/31/05 hannaho Exciting adventure from this new filmaker. 5 stars
3/23/05 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
3/04/05 Mider nice stuff people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
3/02/05 David Tsung definitely unique...great actors to watch 4 stars
2/20/05 Alice Colwell not much of a story to it 3 stars
2/18/05 tatum One of the most beautiful looking films ever made 5 stars
2/09/05 Dr Hock Oh so pretty, yet oh so aweful. 1 stars
2/04/05 Barbara Long Really strange flick. Wasn't my thing. 3 stars
2/03/05 Clifford C Gardner Not great - but a nice change in style 4 stars
2/02/05 Sheila awesome effects, holds your interest 5 stars
2/01/05 Kenneth Hannan The cartoony style got old fast. 3 stars
1/31/05 Lisa Craven Hated it and couldn't watch more than 2 minutes. My kids thought it was okay. 2 stars
1/31/05 Brian The cinnematography was laid on so thick that I couldn't see or appreciate the juvenile pro 1 stars
1/30/05 bongeezer What is this? 2 stars
1/29/05 darlenecom Brings you back to long ago days when you were young and thought you could do anything. 4 stars
1/26/05 Bobby da Squid Visually incredible but ultimately nonsensical and dull 3 stars
11/10/04 angelina jolie A revolutionary film 5 stars
10/31/04 JOE KENNEDY A GREAT SYTLISH FILM, WHAT THE ROCKETEER SHOULD HAVE BEEN, WEAK STORY AWESOME FILM MAKING 4 stars
10/29/04 Alex different indeed 4 stars
10/28/04 Kathleen Not very entertaining but ok...."Special" effects? 3 stars
10/26/04 John intriguing concept but has NO story NO charachters, bad effects and sub standard action 1 stars
10/19/04 Misty De Meo There's no real innovation in the plot, but it didn't need it - it was just plain fun. 4 stars
10/17/04 Aaron Smith Amazing visuals, the airborne aircraft carrier scene alone is worth the price of admission! 5 stars
10/11/04 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
10/06/04 Chris A film not afraid to do something different, looks great and has an awesome imagination. 4 stars
10/05/04 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
10/03/04 Zai Sorry ..I had to walk out it was so boring. My husband and I BOTH fell alseep watching it. 1 stars
9/30/04 Jimmy Wanted to love it for it's style. But after the first 30 mins the film turned to shit 2 stars
9/30/04 irene did they even read the script before signing up? 2 stars
9/30/04 X DON'T GIVE AWAY THE ENDING TO SUCH A KICK-ASS MOVIE! 5 stars
9/30/04 Freddie Visually stimulating 5 stars
9/28/04 mkuntz A terrific entertainment: visually stunning, exciting, funny and good natured. Great! 5 stars
9/28/04 NICE GUY THE FIRST OF ITS KIND NICE 1 HOLLYWOOD 5 stars
9/27/04 Whatevr It was cool 5 stars
9/27/04 J. Bethancourt An unpretitious, purely entertainment romp. I loved it. 5 stars
9/27/04 LB If you are a fan of pulp adventure, run right out and see this immediately. 5 stars
9/27/04 Dog Lips completely boring. lame dialog, gratuitous explosions 2 stars
9/27/04 Koitus Fantastic figher sequences, in the city. But .. exactly "who" was controlling the robots? 4 stars
9/26/04 Heather This is the director's FIRST movie, WTF??!! 5 stars
9/24/04 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
9/23/04 el burro Completely retarded beginning to end. 1 stars
9/22/04 KingNeutron Unique look, but I hope they do better with the plot +char. interaction next time. 4 stars
9/22/04 drfardook Average acting but its a visually stunning film. Its a fantastic pulp film. 4 stars
9/22/04 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
9/20/04 Eric Herman Utter nonsense. Never has there been a film more damaging to the 'steampunk' genre. 1 stars
9/20/04 T.J. Wood Clever vintage comic book adventure -- but the use of the image of Olivier was jarring. 4 stars
9/20/04 YSBEE See You in Last Era! 5 stars
9/20/04 BrianWilly Beautiful and witty as hell 5 stars
9/20/04 Naka Glorious, visually brilliant fun. 5 stars
9/20/04 dredphul all sfx, bad acting, no plot 1 stars
9/19/04 Kris no. Gwyneth, eat something. PLEASE. 1 stars
9/19/04 Jiz Cheesy, weird, but entertaining overall. 4 stars
9/19/04 Vicious Lovely visuals with a cool adventure story. 5 stars
9/19/04 Rooktoven Great eye candy and humor, dialogue a bit stiff 4 stars
9/19/04 CharWar I loved it! Can't wait to see it again. So different and fun! 5 stars
9/19/04 Heidi Shanklin The renderings are stunningly beautiful. A wonderful little movie 5 stars
9/19/04 Bill Very beautiful to look at, but superficial and predictable. Paltrow was very irritating. 2 stars
9/19/04 Titus So much fun! 5 stars
9/19/04 asdf Fun movie. I liked the Classic Pulp style. 4 stars
9/18/04 Kris The whole time, I was thinking "Blue screen, greeen screen, we all scream for ice cream" 1 stars
9/18/04 Naka FANTASTIC! Wonderfully original and brilliant all around. 5 stars
9/18/04 Sarcastro Derivative and hokey. Feels like something the Japanese would make. Actors wooden as well. 2 stars
9/17/04 Matt Seaver Amazing. A treat for the eyes. Early screenings make me happy! 5 stars
9/16/04 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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