"Sky Captain and the World of
Directed by Kerry Conran.
Written by Kerry Conran.
Starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Giovanni Ribisi and Angelina
Release Year: 2004
Review Date: 9/21/04
When this film got bumped from this summer
into September, you knew trouble was a-brewin'. "Sky Captain
and the World of Tomorrow", the debut film of Kerry Conran, must be
good at something, and those reviews were quite strong...so,
naturally, I thought this was a near-total atrocity.
Sometime during World War II (maybe; we're
never given the exact year), scientists are being kidnapped by some
madman named Totenkopf to build some big freakin' robot army for
some purpose akin to every other world takeover plot ever concocted.
Reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) links up with a guy that
seems to be the only serviceable pilot in the galaxy, Joe "Sky
Captain" Sullivan (Jude Law), to find out why huge robots and some
sweet-looking enemy fighters are shredding New York City.
The look of "Sky Captain", and really the
first 30 minutes in general, are fantastic. Conran has done a
great job of capturing how those old-school adventure films used to
look while doing a great job of using today's technology (and a
shitload of blue screens) to match the light levels of some of the
great noir of the past. Sure, you take notice quite early that
no one really seems right for their parts, and the dialogue is going
to take a major beating by anyone that has to suffer through some of
these poor lines. But, in terms of PG-rated goodness, "Sky
Captain" looks promising through a second airplane shootout about a
half-hour into it.
Then, a plot advancement takes us to the
Himalayas, and during this sequence you can literally feel the film
beginning to die right in your nacho-laden lap. Suddenly, "Sky
Captain" is giving you the feeling that you are in for a long day,
and that the trailer you think you saw with airplane follies and
shootouts with fighter pilots and witty dialogue and thrilling
surprises was all a big mirage. The grating feeling that
represents the Paltrow character--a witless blonde that is of the
"I'm going to make every single mistake possible to make this
adventure interesting" caricature (kind of like the little kid from
"The Missing" last
year)--makes you raise your hands every time she makes a mistake
that nearly gets everyone killed. Suddenly, we have a romantic
angle to negotiate with a former flame (Angelina Jolie) that happens
to be able to help Sky Cap take down Totenkopf. Suddenly, the
special effects become so prevalent that you find yourself asking
"Man, couldn't he have just shot that
outside without the fucking special effects?"
"Hey, isn't that Dagobah?"
when we get down the road in this film; "Sky
Captain" has a script that can politely be called Delinquent at the
Famous Script Library, because you can see it ripping from a few
different blockbusters of the last 30 years in developing its
near-empty pit of clichéd moments. Its ending is so bad that I
actually started booing (my friends Raleigh, Wes and Max can attest
to this) before it was even over; the film's use of the hot Bai Ling
is so inane that I'm damn near buying a plane ticket to see director
Conran myself to assess what the fuck he was thinking.
The six people that saw this with me were as
unhappy as I was when we left the theater, but again, no one can
argue with the look of the film, especially early on as it sticks to
a 1930's-style adventure flick. But, the shit hits the fan
often after that initial happiness, and when you drop $10 on
something, you want to see some results. "Sky Captain and the
World of Tomorrow" is not worth the hype you might think you are
seeing in your local newspapers.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard