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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



Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
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by Luke Pyzik

"Snore Captain and a World of Disappointment"
2 stars

“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” is among the most dignified of noble failures. It is so filled with visual ingenuity and genuine passion for moviemaking that I’m still looking for reasons to like it more than I did. Writer/director Kerry Conran successfully recreates the mystique around old-fashioned, globetrotting, sci-fi adventure tales, but it is not enough to simply evoke that spirit. The elements of the story still have to be intriguing enough to hold audience attention from start to finish, and no matter how visually spectacular “Sky Captain” may be, it is hard to admire when all you can see is the back of your eyelids.

When giant robots attack New York City for mysterious reasons, a sexy journalist named Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) stumbles upon a connection between the incident and dead scientists. Just before Polly is about to be crushed by a massive robot foot, in swoops Joe “Sky Captain” Sullivan (Jude Law) to save the day. The two have a romantic past, haven’t seen each other in years, and must now team up to solve the riddle behind the angry robots. Luckily for them, Polly was given a juicy lead, and it seems if they can find one Dr. Totenkoph, the mystery behind the robots will be uncovered. It is a breezy, classic set up, and the early action scenes easily entertain us as we are still under the spell of the movie’s technical achievement.

“Sky Captain” looks like no movie you’ve ever seen. Shot entirely against green screen with actors inserted into the digitally created backgrounds, the movie manages to be futuristic while still maintaining the distinctly old fashioned look of a classic comic book. The result is jaw dropping; the neo-historic cityscape is detailed and wholly original, while the actors fill out the canvas with expertly crafted costume design.

At around the half hour mark, when Joe and Polly are off to search for Dr. Totenkoph, the initial majesty surrounding the visuals begins to wear off, and we are left with a film that has grand aesthetic ideas with very little innovation in the way of plot development. Conran wants to strictly follow the parameters of an archetypical serial adventure, which is fine, but within that framework he doesn’t cook up anything particularly exciting in terms of action or adventure.

Law and Paltrow fill out their roles nicely – Paltrow is a classic beauty that brings along a certain intellect and strength, while Law is strapping and charming enough to believe that citizens would actually refer to him as “Sky Captain.” Some over zealous critics have compared Law and Paltrow’s chemistry to classic pairings like Grant and Russell or Spencer and Tracy. This is a drastic overstatement. Law and Paltrow are fine, but Conran’s screenplay is not nearly as clever as the ones those legendary actors got to work with, and their supposed “snappy” back-and-forth is not very biting or entertaining. Their chemistry, and the entire thrust of the story for that matter, is more reminiscent of the awful Julia Robert/ Nick Nolte journalist adventure “I Love Trouble” than it is classics like “His Girl Friday.”

Thinking back and trying to remember what actually happens in the movie proves difficult, as so little actually does happen. Joe’s friend Dex (Giovanni Ribisi) is kidnapped by Dr. Totenkoph’s minions, at which point Joe and Polly’s mission becomes “personal.” The duo is thrust into a series of painfully unexciting adventures as the story plods along from one spectacular digitally created location to another. The lack of excitement might be remedied if we cared about the characters or took any delight in their interaction with one another, but they are so flat and uninspired that their downfall would have come as a welcome surprise to an otherwise bland narrative. There is a moment of hope when Angelina Jolie appears late in the game (her advertised “supporting role” is, in reality, a small cameo) as a fiery ship captain who happens to be Joe’s ex-girlfriend. She has fun with the part and livens things up when she is on screen, but unfortunately she comes and goes faster than you can say “Billy Bob.”

The movie ends nicely, with a gorgeous image and zero pretension. It is clear what Conran’s intentions were with “Sky Captain,” and in many regards he succeeds. The technology is used to create beautiful and captivating images, and the movie certainly does evoke the wonder and aura that surrounds old-fashioned adventure films. On a larger level though, in terms of sheer entertainment value, “Sky Captain” is severely lacking. For all the obvious care that went into creating the world these characters inhabit, a little more creativity could have gone in to writing something interesting for them to do.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10762&reviewer=381
originally posted: 09/22/04 01:46:07
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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

10/26/09 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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