Sunday, October 17

Fly the Friendly Skies

Can Sky Captain and Polly Perkins save the world from certain DOOM??!

From the mind of filmmaker Kerry Conran comes the retro-futuristic action-adventure Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Conran, a first-time director, won the right to make his dream reality by the virtue of a 6-minute concept video he made himself on an old Mac. Ten years in the making, the film finally hits the big screen.
Set in an alternate-reality world in the 1930s or 40s, Sky Captain takes glamorous retro-fashion and camera angles, glossy sepia-toned visuals, old-style fade-ins and radio waves and mixes it with giant robots, underground empires, dashing fighter pilots, flying airbases, intrepid reporters and good ol' fashioned Doomsday Devices.
The world is under attack from mysterious war machines being sent by an unknown mastermind. On the story of her career is reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is contacted by a terrified scientist who mutters with his dying breath the name "Totenkopf". Ooooh.
Anyway, when giant robots attack, the only defense against them is a mercenary force led by the suave Sky Captain, Joe (Jude Law) who flies into battle in a souped-up, loaded-with-more-gadgets-than-James-Bond propeller-driven fighter plane. After the initial skirmishes, Joe and Polly soon find themselves in a desperate quest to stop Totenkopf's scheme to bring about THE WORLD OF TOMORROW.

If it all seems pretty far out and kinda corny, it is... but in a good way. Going into this movie I really felt I was watching an old serial. The visuals are quite a sight to see, and the retro designs are appealing, unusual and quite refreshing to see. On the strength of the visuals and feel alone, this movie is worth seeing.
The story is a bit leisurely in its pace, but is not short in action, and it manages to get Joe and Polly on a trek around the world and into various locales before their adventure reaches a sky-rocketing conclusion. I would have preferred that the script and overall pace of the film be a bit faster, and I would have liked that Sky Captain be more a two-fisted hero. Jude Law is quite likeable as the titular hero, but it would have been nice to have him do more fighting outside of his super-plane. He and Gwyneth Paltrow don't seem to evoke a romantic chemistry between their characters- perhaps this was intentional- but I liked the way that their relationship, and the involvement of a third party (Franky Cook, played by a sexy Angelina Jolie in an eyepatch) was played lightly as comic relief.
Sky Captain's not perfect, but I can honestly say that I was having fun watching the film. I've heard from Carl that the movie didn't do that well in the US... I sincerely hope that it does better in other markets, and on DVD- good enough to warrant another high-flying adventure. Sky Captain and the Invaders from Mars, anyone?

Watch it in theaters now!

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