A Few Words About A few words about... Sky Captain...

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Jack Mathews was quoted as saying that Sky Captain is "like nothing you've ever seen in a movie."

    And I totally agree.

    Begun independently, and later with Paramount as a hero, Kerry Conran's heroic, streamlined, art-deco production is totally digital, and looks like no other film that came before it.

    The moment that the first frame hits your screen, you'll know that Paramount's DVD representation is dead-on perfect.

    Rumor has it that the digital representations of Jude Law, Gweneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and others were based upon live digital scans, with every actor and action portrayed by Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, inclusive of several farm animals. You've got to give a tip of the hat to that kind of professional enthusiasm. His performance as Paltrow is a wonderful illusion, backed by her own vocal talents.

    While the majority of the actors represented also vocalized their own roles, see if you can spot several which owe their words to Marni Nixon, whose talents were last heard in Mulan.

    The audio for this production was also produced digitally, with original sound recorded to 30" wax cylinders to give it a realistic aura, and then transferred to digital 24 track for the final mix.

    Those lucky enough to catch this film theatrically in 4k digital projection were knocked head over heels by the audio transfer back to six synchronized cylinders held in sync via bicycle chains. Normal 35mm playdates were accompanied by normal sound on film.

    Sky Captain is not only great intelligent fun on a huge digital scale, but represents a major step forward for cinema technology.

    All of which has been beautifully rendered to DVD by Paramount.

    A great job.

    Very highly recommended.

    Welcome to the second installment in the digital age of filmmaking.

    RAH
     
  2. Kain_C

    Kain_C Screenwriter

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    I'm not sure what this means? Can you clarify on this? I know this process was used for The Polar Express as far as motion capture (I believe)...

    Yes, the film looks great. However, I can't help but to say once the novelty of the look of the film wears off, it's nothing more than a badly written, badly acted B-movie without any of the fun. I was on the edge of my seat with excitement for the first 15 minutes or so and then I found myself becomming more and more bored as the movie went on. And I would have to say it has the absolute worst ending in film history.

    I did have extremely high expectations for the film though.
     
  3. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    I think Robert is confusing Sky Captain with Polar Express in regards to the extent of Tom Hanks' involvement.
     
  4. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Screenwriter

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    Robert, please clarify. It's tough to interpret your posts when your tongue is so firmly kept in your cheek. [​IMG]
     
  5. Jim Barg

    Jim Barg Second Unit

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    So Mr. Harris likes the DVD. Excellent.

    Personally, I can't wait to get this in my hands next week, as I was one of the few people who enjoyed the film a great deal (saw it three times in theaters). I hope Paramount's provided a fair amount of extras, even though the box office take was less than stellar.
     
  6. Antony James

    Antony James Stunt Coordinator

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    I've gotta say, I've never been a big fan of "pretend to be stupid" humour.

    It tends to confuse more folks than it entertains.

    But y'know, diff'rent strokes and all. [​IMG]
     
  7. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    Perhaps I'm not familiar with Robert Harris' brand of sardonic humor. I used to work for the UCLA Film & TV Archive so I guess I should have identified that form of dry wit like the foul smell of vinegar that permeates in old film reel canisters.

    Anyway, I'm sure the Sky Captain DVD will be good. It strikes me as probably being a better DVD experience than a theatrical one. Then again most movies these days fall under that category.
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I'm getting this on street date. It was my favorite movie of 2004. Oddly enough, the 35mm print I saw looked beautiful. It looked a lot better than Attack of the Clones or Stuart Little 2, in terms of image quality. I hope I can get more people to watch it with me, though. When I saw it in the theater, two other people occupied the auditorium. The Grudge was playing next-door.
     
  9. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    RAHster:

    ROTFLMFAO!
     
  10. StevenFC

    StevenFC Second Unit

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    Umm...what??
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. Hector.B

    Hector.B Stunt Coordinator

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    I had really high expectations for this before it was theatrically released. I'll tell you that Elektra was easier to sit through and let me tell you that I hated Elektra big time. Sky Captain was do dry and boring and the sound at the theater was so low that my friends and I were straining to hear every line of dialogue, it was a terrible movie going experience. I can see some people liking it, but it's definitely not for me.
     
  12. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    I have been watching the extras on the Sky Captain DVD. I like RAH's wit. Made me laugh.
     
  13. andrew markworthy

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    Mr Harris, I'd like to replicate this experience at home. The cylinders were easy enough to find, but I am not sure where to get bicycle chains. Can you help? [​IMG]
     
  14. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    I enjoyed the movie both times I saw it [party accompanying me got sick and had to leave, so we went back], although the presentation was typical multiplex-incompetent. The illumination on the screen was too dim to see much and off-centre to boot, and the audio kept cutting out. I must imagine that this DVD presentation would be superior to that.
    Before anyone objects, I will say that the fact I enjoy something does not mean I think it is great art; but for something concieved in the spirit of the old serials, which were rarely "great art", I thought it succeeded quite well, and the visuals were gorgeous. I really doubt the new Indiana Jones film will do better.
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The trick in recreating the thearical experience for Sky Captain is not only in the length of the bicycle chain (available on line via Edisoncylinder.com), but in the proper sizing of the horn or trumpet attached to your player. From previous messages in this thread, it sounds as if certain theatres were having problems with their players. It should be noted that chain length also controls delay to the four rear channels.

    My attempts at humor came into play after viewing this film, as one must totally suspend one's disbelief functions to fully enjoy it.

    The film is offered in a very soft focus look, which certainly hides a multitude of digital sins. While I'm not a fan of Polar Express, which uses digital technology in different ways, I very much like the look of Sky Captain and its total artificiality.

    This film certainly has digital roots, possbily most notably in Vincent Ward's 1998 What Dreams May Come.

    Sky Captain's art deco design combined with the lushly soft, digitized cinematography provide a wonderful background for this film.

    This film will not be to everyone's taste. It would seem that the more interest one has in filmmaking technology and the digtital arts, one will find oneself more attuned with this film.

    And as regards Gary->D's notes regarding vinegar syndrome and rotting film, it would seem that this would be the perfume of Dr. Totenkopf's strategic command center.

    Interestingly, director Kerry Conran has chosen Sir Laurence Olivier for the role of the much maligned scientist, which in some ways leads me to believe that we are viewing this film from the inside of someone's consciousness, while in a dream...

    after consuming some bad shellfish and then viewing Wuthering Heights.

    RAH
     
  16. andrew markworthy

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    I live in the UK - if I lengthen the chains (thanks for the link, BTW) by 3 per cent will this control for PAL speedup? [​IMG]
     
  17. WarrenL

    WarrenL Stunt Coordinator

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    I cannot wait for this disk. It was one of my favorite films of '04. A mixture of nostalgia, high technology, and a fun time. I went in expecting not much and came out smiling. A must have for my collection. Thanks for the review Robert!
    Warren
     
  18. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    To Mr. Markworthy...

    One of the nice things about digital is that there is no PAL speedup regarding the wax cylinders, therefore the 3% extra length is no longer necessary. Do be aware, however, that the thorns on all reproducing units must be changed after each screening.

    RAH
     
  19. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    I too loved SCATWOT [​IMG] and I'm really looking forward to the 2-disc Collector's Edition of Sky Captain, out next month on Region 2.[​IMG]
     
  20. Matt Czyz

    Matt Czyz Supporting Actor

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    This is a side of RAH I've never seen before. It's really throwing my whole day off [​IMG]

    I did not see this in the theatre, but I'll be renting it as soon as it comes out. From what I've read about the movie online, it sounds as if Angelina Jolie's character needs to be given her own film. I would certainly approve of that.
     

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