A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.
Starring:Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie
Directed By:Kerry Conran
Once a year we seem to find one film that the Hollywood executives don’t know what they have got. Last year we watched The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen flop in the box office for multiple reasons, but I target a lot of it’s failure to poor marketing. In the TV spots that ran for The League, it was referred to by 3 different names, and played up as a serious flick to an all out action film. They didn’t hint to people that it was based off a comic book about real people from literary novels. It well didn’t really tell us anything and made it look stupid. It was obvious that the executives did not know how to market the film. A year later we find another film suffering from the exact same fate, Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow. At first glance it looks like a throwback to the old 40’s and 50’s films. Then its played up as a sci-fi flick, then a high action film, then a near comic book like flick, and the final TV spots made it seem like it was futuristic. What was Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow? If you are not sure, keep reading and find out.
Although not a lot of explanation is given Joe, AKA Sky Captain (Jude Law) is a protector of the city. He and his team of scientists and other mechanical junkies create modified airplanes that help protect the world from the forces of evil. But when a strange robot fleet created by an evil dictator named Tortenkauff start destroying the city, it is up to Sky Captain and his friends to figure out the evil dictator’s plot and put an end to it. With the help of a nosey news reporter, Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), and a equally eccentric pilot named Frankie (Angelina Jolie) Sky Captain spans the globe to learn the truth about Totenkauff and how to destroy his robot army.
For the two hours I spent in the theater, I enjoyed Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. It had an easy to follow fun story that moved quickly from point to point. It had some nice action scenes especially if you enjoy watching “dogfight” style airplane battles. The plot doesn’t waste time with heavy explanations or lots of pointless symbolism; instead it hammers through a simple plot from start to finish.
Acting is ok at best in this flick. The makers of Sky Captain recruited Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow for our lead roles. Each of these actors are good, but are still rising stars. Jude Law is still waiting for his big break, which is on the horizon and Paltrow is looking for that good comeback role. Sky Captain was neither of these things for either actor. Their roles are played out like an old Cary Grant film. Their lines are delivered in a forceful way with out a lot of emotion, and silly sexual innuendoes and bad jokes, which I think was a throwback to the old 50’s filmmakers. Those audience members who do not understand that will be just thinking its poor acting.
What makes Sky Captain really neat is the fact that only the actors are real. The entire film was shot in a green screen and the sets are all computer generated. The sets look really nice, and the visuals at times are amazing. The computer work that went into putting Sky Captain on the big screen is amazing and in time this CGI set making may be a huge thing in the future of Hollywood. If nothing else Sky Captain gets extra bonus points for doing something completely different from other films.
But the problem with Sky Captain is that it is trying to be to stylistic for it’s own good. The film is shot Slightly out of focus giving the film a “soft focus” looks like the old 50’s and 60’s films. This gets a little annoying after a while, especially when it seems as though we get a Sharper focused image in some of the higher action sequences. It also tries to keep a blue/Grey hue the entire film, but suddenly for weird reasons we get scenes that seem almost too bright and vivid to fit with the film. If they were going for the 50’s and 60’s style of cinematography they failed in certain scenes. The other problem with Sky Captain is that while the green screen sets worked well in most cases, there were several instances that you could tell the actors are edited into the scenes. While the computer graphics are good, they still haven’t perfected this technology yet, and it seemed a little silly at times.
In the end, Sky Captain is a great Popcorn flick that will entertain you for a few hours. It’s a simple action plot that could be fun for the whole family. If nothing else it’s got some really cool visuals and a decent enough plot to make you glad that you saw the film once. The problem is that as I look back on it, I am glad I saw it, but I have no real desire to ever see it again. Out of all the films that opened this weekend, this is probably the best one to check out. Problem is you have to catch it fast, because it won’t be in theaters long due to some poor marketing on Paramount’s behalf.