Sky Captain and the
World of Tomorrow

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow



Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a novel approach that the whole family can enjoy





Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

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Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow




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For all the decades that I have been a fan of the art of cinema I, like many out there, have been fascinated by the use of special effects.

From King Kong in 1933 to the golden age of Ray Harryhausen right through to the geniuses at Industrial Lights and Magic. These men and women that have pushed this art form to new heights. Special effects have been able to bring to movies certain magic and wonder. In many ways the bar has been set just a little bit higher now with the release of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. This film may upset the members of the unions responsible for actually building practical sets. The film was shot entirely against a green screen with only a handful of actual props used. New York City is besieged by hundreds of giant robots intent on securing control of the world for their unseen master. The only one that can save the day is Joe ‘Sky Captain’ Sullivan (Jude Law), aviator extraordinaire and adventurer supreme. With perky girl reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) at his side and aided by a quirky engineering genius Dex (Giovanni Ribisi) and Captain Francesca 'Franky' Cook (Angelina Jolie), commander of an all female air borne squadron, Sky Captain sets out to save the world, again. To go into more of the plot of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow would spoil the fun of discovery for the audience but suffice it to say that it is straight out of the adventure serial of the thirties and forties.

The use of completely computer generated sets is not enough to hold a film together. In Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow it is the means to tell a fun story instead of being used in lieu of one. The folks in front of those endless lines of computer graphic screens did an incredible job of recreating a strange mixture of old and new. It reminded me of the ‘World of the Future’ exhibits in the old World’s Fairs where futuristic visions of technology where superimposed on familiar contemporary scenes. New York City is set in tones of sepia giving the feeling that they just jumped out of an aging photograph. The giant robots where directly from the classic Max Fleischer Superman cartoons, even King Kong is given the homage he deserves. Not only do the visuals take us back to those golden age films we grew up with, the interaction of the live performers reinforce the feel in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The dialogue and comical banter are right out of those films we all love so much. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is almost a child’s dream of an exciting future, dreams most of us had after returning from a Saturday morning matinee. There are no deep messages here, nothing to really think about, just pure entertainment, all encompassing fun. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a film where you check your worldly cares at the door, leave your adult responsibilities behind for a couple of hours and let your inner child go to the movies.

With such a spotlight on the computer generated graphics we mustn’t forget the actual people that add so much to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. There is little doubt that Jude Law is the darling of casting directors throughout Hollywood. It seems that every new film is a Jude Law vehicle. The thing is this actor is versatile enough to pull it off. He has the rakish charm that instantly endears him to the audience. Men want to be him; women want to be with him. For the role of Polly Perkins you need an actress that is comfortable with the stylized look and cadence of the thirties. The absolute perfect choice here was Gwyneth Paltrow. She has the classic Hollywood beauty that is able to pull off the hairstyles and clothes of that era as naturally as must actresses don a pair of jeans. Paltrow has apparently been friends with Law since they appeared together in the Talented Mr. Ripley and this friendship translates here to a wonderful chemistry between the two. Angelina Jolie is a bit under utilized here; perhaps she would have taken some of the spotlight away from Law’s character. Still, her screen time is perfect. With her favorite English accent she is believable as the eye patched adventuress. Pushing the limits of CGI there is a special guest appearance by the late Sir Laurence Olivier as the villain. The use of deceased stars has been used by commercials for some time now but this use of his old film clips was done with respect for the man and his body of work.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was Kerry Conran’s first time sitting in the director’s chair but what a freshman opus. He still has some maturing to go as a director but the talent is definitely there in abundance. Conran treads the fine line of this extensive use of computer graphics, keeping the awe and wonder but never over shadowing the talent of the actual actors. He posses an excellent eye for details, his framing of the scenes is impeccable. While his graphic backgrounds set the mood the actors take on the chore of emotionally capturing the audience, bringing them back to those wonderful old action flicks. Conran has rekindled this long lost imagination with incredible results.

Paramount really did Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow up right! The audio is spectacular, the speakers working together to fill the room. Even the slightest creation of the Foley artist is audible. The sub woofer roars as the robots descend upon New York. The dialogue is over overwhelmed; every word is crisp and clear. The video is equally up to reference quality. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow will rapidly become the DVD that people use to show off their home theaters. Every frame is perfectly composed with great attention paid to the balance of the many rich earth tones and the brilliant colors of the live action. There are three featurettes presented as extras. Naturally, the first is how the amazing special effects where created. The second details the extensive graphics employed to make Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Last there is the promotional short that gave rise to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Each featurette goes a little beyond the run of the mill making of shorts we are so used to now. While I doubt that Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow will catch on as a regular means to produce a film it is a novel approach that the whole family can enjoy.

Movie Review of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com

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