Thursday Night Movie Club
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: September 17, 2004

Director: Kerry Conran
Gwyneth Paltrow
Jude Law
Giovanni Ribisi
Michael Gambon
Ling Bai
Omid Djalili
Laurence Olivier
Angelina Jolie
Trevor Baxter
Julian Curry
Peter Law
Jon Rumney
Khan Bonfils
Samta Gyatso
Louis Hilyer
Polly Perkins
Joe 'Sky Captain' Sullivan
Dex Dearborn
Editor Morris Paley
Mysterious Woman
Dr. Totenkopf
Capt. Francesca 'Franky' Cook
Dr. Walter Jennings
Dr. Jorge Vargas
Dr. Kessler
German Scientist
Executive Officer
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow movie poster Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow movie poster Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow movie poster
Photo of Sky Captain's P40While watching Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, I was thoroughly enjoying myself, then came reality and I had to sit down to write this review. While the movie looks great, feels great, sounds great and is a rousing picture, something is missing. What is missing are good characters, especially the lead roles. While Jude Law and Gweneth Paltrow are serviceable, they are not given any really stimulating/humorous dialog to work with. Director/writer Kerry Conran just cannot write a good "Bogart/Becall" byplay.

The time is 1939. If the sets and clothing doesn't give this away, The Wizard of Oz is playing at the local movie house. Ace reporter Polly Perkins has stumbled upon a dastardly plot. Before she can learn more, New York City is assailed upon by monstrous robots. Mayhem ensues. The local constabulatory is unaffective. A desperate plea is sent out to Sky Captain to save the day.

To the rescue flies ace pilot Joe "Sky Captain" Sullivan in his P40 airplane. Sullivan must be really good because no one else from his unit joins the fracas. Sullivan is able to take down a few of the behemoths before they suddenly take flight and disappear. The questions: where are these robots from, who sent them and why? The why is fairly simple to answer. The next day's newspapers are full of headlines from around the world of robot attacking other cities stealing power generators. The mystery is on!

Photo of Jude Law as Joe Sky Captain Sullivan Polly decides to look up her old flame, Joe, to see if he can shed any light on the situation. Joe and his band of "protectors for hire" have been hard at work collecting several earlier models of robots. The robots have spent years raiding different locations collecting supplies. Soon, Joe and Polly are globe-trotting the workld on the trail of the mysterious Dr. Totenkopf.

Sky Captain was shot entirely using the green screen process. None of the sets are real. Only minimal props, that the actors interact with, are used. The entire move is sepia-toned to give it an unreal, stylized, comic book look. The camera shots look very similar to the classic Fleisher brothers "Superman" animated shorts of the '30s. The actions sequences and effects are quite stunning. In fact, the entire movie is stunning, from a visual/audio view.

Photo of Gweneth Paltrow  Polly PerkinsThe story is as wildly fantastic as Van Helsing. But it mainly fails! As I said previously, most of the problem is in the dialog which is not played for the "camp" that the visuals suggest. Another interesting observation I made is that the sepia-tone of the movie never changes from the brown tint. The movie takes place on land, sea and in the air, but the actor's tint never changes to reflect this. The tinting process works well in the opening sequence in New York. The tinting on the actors doesn't change with their changing perspective.

There are also plot points that are never concluded. The main one of these is Totenkopf's main plan. I can give too much away by revealing his plan, which would spoil the movie. Suffice it to say, where is he going and why remains a mystery. I like the story to answer the simple questions I have. One can suspend disbelef for only so far, but to swallow this movie, hook, line and sinker, you must be half asleep.

Photo of Angelina Jolie as Frankie Cook Photo of the robots