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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 Brian McKay

"Do you have a little Captain in ya?"
3 stars

There's a scene in SKY CAPTAIN where two characters have a clandestine meeting at the Radio City theater during a screening of THE WIZARD OF OZ - and in a way, that film serves as a fitting metaphor for this one. While the Emerald City is certainly full of wondrous sights to behold, the Scarecrow is coming down hard from sensory overload after rolling on Ex at a munchkin rave, the Tin Man is making do with a pig's heart while he languishes on the transplant list, and that man behind the curtain really isn't worth paying attention to because he's not all that interesting. While SKY CAPTAIN offers plenty of treats for the eyes, it comes up short on brain candy and ultimately feels like it's missing an emotional center.

It's difficult to come down too hard on a movie like Sky Captain because, flaws aside, It really does aim to please. Even if one fails to connect with the film completely, one must at least admire all of the work and innovation that went into the project, and admire the filmmakers for what they were trying to do. However, it is likely that Sky Captain will appeal mostly to the older crowd of hardcore movie history and nostalgia freaks, and barely make a blip on the radar of the crucial 16-24 demographic. How it will fare on its debut weekend is anybody's guess, but my prediction would be a modest opening thanks to the curious, followed by a sharp drop into obscurity.

It's a novel approach to filming a period piece, using only CGI and green screen technology to insert the characters into the fantastical scenery. But the technique has its strengths and weaknesses. Many of the visuals are beautiful, like the opening shot of what 1930's New York City would look like if merged with Fritz Lang's Metropolis and placed inside of a giant snow globe. However, the characters' interactions never quite mesh seamlessly with their surroundings, the lighting always looks a bit off, and it is often painfully clear that actors are moving against a digitally implanted backdrop. The entire production is given a slightly washed-out look for what I suspect are two reasons - to give it that old movie film-noir feel, and (more importantly) to hide how fake a lot of the CGI really looks.

Set in a sort of alternate-universe 1930's that is chock full of anachronisitic technological advances, Sky Captain opens with headstrong reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is hotly pursuing a story about some missing scientists and a doomsday plot of world domination. Before long, the city of New York falls under attack by huge flying robots that look like slow cousins of the Iron Giant. After they begin wreaking havoc on the city, the authorities call on the services of Joe Sullivan, a.k.a. Sky Captain (Jude Law) to come save them. Yes, that's right - not the Army with its fleet of tanks, not the might of the U. S. Air Force, but one dude in a tricked-out Corsair full of James Bond-ish gadgets.

After the initial attack, the robots depart, leaving Sky Captain and Polly (who are old lovers currently on the rocks, of course) to figure out where they come from, what they want, and who's behind their actions. Aided by gadget-making whiz-kid Dex (Giovanni Ribisi) and spunky British fighter pilot Frankie Cook (Angelina Jolie in eyepatch, looking like a Nazi Pirate), the two set off on an adventure that takes them around the world to places like Mt. Everest, Shangri La, an Atlantean graveyard full of famous shipwrecks, and a Dinosaur-infested "Lost World" island, as they search for the evil scientist who appears to control the robotic Legions.

Full of homages to many great sci-fi films, from Lucas and the Wachowski brothers to the old Buck Rogers and Doctor Strange serials of yesteryear, Sky Captain has plenty of little touches to bring a smile to the face of the average nostalgic movie-lover. The script also contains several funny moments thanks to a mostly enjoyable chemistry shared by Law and Paltrow, and the occasional witty exchange of dialogue. Although I have always found Miss Paltrow's beauty and talent highly overrated, she actually proves an asset to the film- which would be almost completely bereft of any genuine human elements without her.

Alas, all of the pretty visuals and cross-genre mixes become more of a distraction than anything else by the time the film reaches its disappointing Third act. Eventually, the plot twists become even more far-fetched than the high-tech gadgetry, serving as a mere means to move the characters from point A to B to C, so that they can observe more CGI-created wonders along the way. But without a genuinely compelling crisis, or an even remotely intriguing villain, Sky Captain starts to feel like just another fluffy CGI wankfest. The filmmakers seem so eager to squeeze in as many pulp-comic motifs as they can, that anything resembling a plot gets lost in the shuffle. Only the occasional repartee' between Law and Paltrow keeps things interesting, when the eye candy's novelty has long since worn off. However, one other shining point of Sky Captain is its stirring score, which evokes memories of Raiders of the Lost Ark musically in a way that the film just can't quite pull off visually.

While it's nowhere near as disastrous as something like VAN HELSING, it's not nearly as engaging as a film like the fifteen year old (and still far superior) THE ROCKETEER. Although worth a once-over by the curious, the visually intriguing WORLD OF TOMORROW will likely be all but forgotten by next week.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10762&reviewer=258
originally posted: 09/17/04 10:37:52
[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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