Discussion in 'Movies' started by Travis W., Sep 16, 2004.

  1. Travis W.

    Travis W. Second Unit

    Jun 11, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Here's hope that this begins the official Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow thread.

    I had been looking forward to this since they day I heard about it. A film like the old serials that could possibly have ringings of Indiana Jones and Star Wars? WWII era airplanes against giant robots? I was in right there. Then Paramount pushed the date from June 25 to September 17 and the wait became longer. Well, the wait was worth it.

    My theater's print of Sky Captain came in late last night and I jumped at the oppurtunity to preview it.

    The time spent waiting and waiting was not in vain. Sky Captain soars. The whole time I was watching it I was reminded of what made the movies fun to begin with. Escapism. This is the perfect film to have a blast with after a bad day or something and great to watch with friends.

    The process of shooting the whole film in front of various blue and green screens scared me at first but it adds to the film on so many different levels. Without this effect the film would not feel as right as it does. I applaud Kerry Conran and his crew for what they did.

    I'm sick of these films that come out that claim to be just mindless popcorn fare. Many people may lump this into the same category but this is the popcorn fare event of the year. There's nothing mindless about it. I'd even go as far to say popcorn was made for this kind of film [​IMG].

    Anyway, I'll leave the formal reviews to the posters who usually do it. I loved the film and reminded me why I got into movies in the first place.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  2. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Jun 30, 1997
    Likes Received:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] (out of four)

    "Sky Captain causes happiness." - Matthew Seaver, immediately upon the movie's finish

    I don't know where to begin with what I loved about Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, so I'll start with the opening credits, which have a wonderful 1930s look that required twenty-first century computer graphics to create. The soundtrack is perfect, borrowing from the same sources that John Williams used for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Superman. Speaking of Superman, the general feel of this movie brought to mind those great Fleischer Superman cartoons. In the real 1930s, animation was the only way to create this kind of bigger-than-life adventure on the screen, but writer/director Kerry Conran has incredible tools at his disposal to build a world directly out of his imagination. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he's got Jude Law and Gwynneth Paltrow, either.

    Paltrow, in particular, is perfect here as Pollly Perkins, the kind of thirties career girl who could handle anything the men could while also looking gorgeous in her red lipstick and high heels. She's perfect glammed up for the period, able to toss of wisecracks, wither men with a look, and take the wonders around her in stride. She's an icon but also an individual.

    Law's character is iconic, too; his Joe Sullivan is the courageous playboy adventurer who finds the girl initially annoying but falls into an easy rapport with her. During the period in which Sky Captain is set, the "superhero" hasn't yet been codified, and there's a feeling that any kid could grow up to be him. He's as quick-witted as Polly but not as sharp-tongued.

    Also on board is Angelina Jolie as Captain Frankie Cook, who doesn't appear until halfway through the movie but manages to crank the tension between Polly and Joe up a notch and is a commanding presence in the midst of a fantastic anachronism.

    It's worth bringing up the cast first because they are the ones who sell this world to the audience. The world of Sky Captain is almost entirely created inside a computer, even more so than the last two Star Wars movies were, and though I'm one of those movies' staunchest defenders, it's this cast that displays the most comfort with their unreal (and non-present) surroundings. They're good enough that they can react to a swarm of CGI robots and banter wittily at the same time. Heck, Conran even ends the movie on a joke, letting our last impression be how these guys play off each other.

    But this movie's got more than just characterization; any movie with a decent script can do that. This movie's got some of the most stunning visuals committed to film, and it just keeps coming. From the giant robots invading New York, we move on to other robots, incredible air battles, monsters, gigantic flying fortresses that would make Nick Fury jealous, an incredible underwater battle, and the astonishing inside of the sinister Totenkopf's private island. I realize I'm talking like the front of a 1935 pulp magazine here, but it's fitting. Kerry Conran and his brother Kevin, the film's production designer, swipe liberally from old comics, Old Hollywood, and old pulps to construct a consistent world, and then have great fun pitting Joe, Polly, and Frankie against Totenkopf's forces.

    By now many have seen the way the Conrans filmed the actors against blue screen and then built the movie around them, and it's got a somewhat surprising effect - even in cases where the special effects aren't absolutely perfect, it's okay, because that's in line with the rest of the movie. By building the movie as a patchwork, they manage to make it cohesive. And they clearly love this genre and period. Even as the movie is frequently very funny, it's funny in a genuine 1930s manner, not mocking the trappings at all. That's why when the movie serves up cliffhanging adventure, it can get away with trapping Joe and Polly in a room stuffed to the rafters with dynamite. And when an action sequence finishes with an improbable escape, the audience doesn't sneer, and doesn't just laugh - the preview audience responded with actual mid-movie applause. You'll know which sequence when you see it.

    The applause rule alone would get Sky Captain a perfect rating, but that's just the point when everyone in the audience expressed their joy. I had a foolish grin on my face for the entire hundred-five minute running time, and not just because I love the comics, pulp sci-fi, and movies that the Conrans borrow from so liberally. Sky Captain doesn't just borrow; it knows what makes a fun movie and delivers it in its purest form.
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  4. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

    Mar 14, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Great movie, just got back from it with the wife and sister-in-law. One great set piece after another, and a pretty funny romantic comedy to boot. The last spoken dialogue is priceless. And during a montage of international newspapers close to the beginning of the film, I'm pretty sure Spoiler:I saw Godzilla in the picture of the Tokyo paper! Lots of homages and little details like sound effects from some of our favorite A and B- sci-fi films of the 40s and 50s.
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I think I need to see this film again because I wasn't feeling the love for this film. I admit to be a little tired from the work week, so a few parts had me snoozing, plus the washed out cinematography got bland for me after a while.

    Now, the set design/visuals were pretty good, but the story never grabbed me, and the characters never got inside my head, so the resolution from the last act just didn't really do much for me.

    I'm going to hold off on an overall ranking until I see it again on in a not-so-tired state. But at this time, I give the visuals a solid B+, while the story gets a C from me.

    Okay, thought about it:

    I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.
  6. Terry Hickey

    Terry Hickey Second Unit

    Feb 21, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Terry Hickey
    My sons and I just got back from the movie. I enjoyed it,

    my sons said it was freaky but okay. I felt that I was back in my childhood watching a vintage 30's movie, except that it was in color versus black & white and at the theater vice watching it at home. The story held up

    and unlike alot of CGI movies, this one was great to watch and hear. I give it a definite "thumbs up".
  7. LanieParker

    LanieParker Supporting Actor

    Apr 15, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Mr. Cranky's review:

    When I was less mature, I used to look at the cover of Cosmopolitan and pine for those cover girls. They seemed beautiful and ideal. Then slowly, I became aware of Photoshop and its ability not only to clean up blemishes, but to actually change shapes. Then I met a few of these women in person and discovered that not only is their skin splotchy from all the cigarettes they suck down, but most of them are so thin and skeletal that a light breeze can actually fracture their limbs. Now I look at the cover of Cosmo and feel ill and slightly used.

    This is exactly how I felt after watching "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," a film that not only admits that its actors were filmed entirely in front of green screens, but actually celebrates it. Director Kerry Conran's film is a stylized homage to the 1940s and is little more than one gigantic art project.

    Conran gives new meaning to the term "soft focus." When ace newspaper reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) first turns her face to the camera, you can barely see it through the thick sheen of Vaseline that's apparently been smeared on the lens. There's also a glow around her that makes her look like she's doubling as an airport runway landing beacon. No wonder invading robots almost step on her.

    Robots do invade the big city and Polly is almost killed, only to be saved by Joe "Sky Captain" Sullivan. Polly has the information and Joe has the means to save the world from the evil, unseen Dr. Totenkopf (Laurence Olivier). And yes, Laurence Olivier has been dead since 1989, but Conran uses archival footage to essentially drag his corpse from the grave and animate it onscreen so he can make a quick buck. Isn't Hollywood wonderful?

    As Joe, Polly and Joe's right-hand man, Dex (Giovanni Ribisi), hone in on Dr. Totenkopf's location (hint: check the cemetery), we learn that Joe and British aviation ace "Franky" Cook (Angelina Jolie) used to have a thing. As Franky stands aboard her ship looking more studly than Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Speedo, we wonder how Joe could possibly prefer the annoying, conniving Polly to Franky. What we learn at the end of the movie is that Joe is basically a slut.

    With its retro aesthetic, "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" will make you long for the good old days... before the invention of cinema.
  8. Dave Hackman

    Dave Hackman Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 11, 2000
    Likes Received:
    This movie's blurriness drove me crazy, I start rubbing my eyes every 2 minutes thinking my vision was impeded in some fashion. I even resorted to the old soda technique, by sucking some soda into the straw then holding it with my finger and finally releasing it on top of both pupils. While this didn’t improve the picture it did provide strange looks from nearby sufferers.

    I was extremely disappointed with the sound or lack there of. The sound contained no sub bass and very little stereo separation. This movie looks old and sounds old (mono). This could be because the theater I viewed this in was experiencing speaker trouble. I will never really know because I’m unwilling to see this again for verification.

    The overall story seems to liberally borrow elements from Star Wars and Jurassic Park with creatures just roaming around the countryside and a light saber type display on the girders leading to a rocket. It easily borrows from Indiana Jones with a guide that bales out the white hero. I suppose there is a pinch of I Robot and maybe a little Stepford Wives for bad measure. Robot freaks will be star struck but these robots are just remote control pieces of steel and nothing more. Plenty of time is given to the beginning of this movie but once you get past half way it gets real silly.

    I did enjoy the acting by Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow; both look great and really get into their roles. Angelina Jolie just nails her role in my opinion and she was a lot of fun to watch. My favorite moment is when Paltrows character is in the plane with law and they seem so close but so far.

    This is easily an acquired taste and one that I would not attempt to acquire.

  9. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Aug 24, 2001
    Likes Received:
    The reason I went to see this flick instead of all the other heartless, souless SFX crap-o-ramas is because I thought it might have heart. I'm a sucker for the pre-WWII era sheen of idealism and optimismm aesthetic, and do generally think highly of the principle actors involved.

    Unfortunately, it turned out to be yet another typical soulless flick. It's no better than Wild Wild West. I was ready and eager to revel in the corniness of the plot and the hokiness of the characters, but even that requires more earnestness than this film could muster.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. Tim Abbott

    Tim Abbott Second Unit

    May 10, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. Everything that has been described above is exceptionally accurate. I walked in expecting a fun, popcorn type summer movie (despite the fact it is the end of September) and I got exactly that. I didn't find much of it to be believable, but I was not expecting that. If you find the trailer interesting, I think you will enjoy the movie quite a bit.
  11. Anthony Neilson

    May 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    I have to agree that the script for SKY CAPTAIN - whilst not terrible, by any means ; in places, it's actually very good - is not quite sharp enough to raise it into INDIANA JONES territory. If it had, I think we'd be looking at a genuine classic.

    Despite that, I'd highly recommend seeing this in a cinema if you're going to see it at all ; visually speaking this is the most gob-smacking movie I've seen since JURASSIC PARK (and, btw, the sub-bass was excellent in the cinema I went to).

    The problem is that this is one of those multi-million dollar art-house flicks that the studios occasionally cough up by glorious accident. The film it most looks like is actually INSTITUTE BENJAMENTA, if anyone remembers that. And whilst the story is full of aerial battles and action sequences that should make it kid-friendly, the gorgeous visuals reference the kind of pulp fiction and noir movies that only geeks and the over-forties will really appreciate.

    I mean, this is a film with a guest appearance by Rebecca-era Laurence Olivier (how they swung that one I'll never know).

    So I'd urge you to give this one a try. The CGI - much more purposely applied than in the STAR WARS prequels - is a bit too rich for such a thin storyline. But the first thirty minutes is absolutely joyous and will knock your eyes out of your head. Personally, I'd love to see this style refined, developed and used for slightly more worthwhile material in the future.

Share This Page