a critiQal film review Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Plot: It's 1938, and Reporter Polly Perkins (Paltrow) is investigating the mysterious disappearance of 6 scientists when, without warning, huge robots attack the major capitals of the world, stealing generators, killing innocents...and then leaving. With terror on their doorstep, the world calls again to the aid of famous pilot Sky Captain (Law) to save the day. But Polly won't be left behind for this story!

618 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 5s)
  • ...a stunning visual feast that should have a profound effect on movies of the future.

Unknown new Director Kerry Conran brings us a vision 10 years in the making – Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. With famous actors swarming over the screen – Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi…even Sir Laurence Olivier – you know there was something that attracted them to the film. Was it the huge salary (the usual reason behind stars swarming to a film)? Nope. A famous director, like Spielberg, Coppola, or the like? Obviously not.

What about this film drew the famous? I sat down with Heather on SuperBowl Sunday before the game and decided to find out for myself.

The actors put on a terrific show all by themselves. Favorites of critiQal Angelina Jolie and Giovanni Ribisi again delivered fun performances as expected.

Jude Law (who was very good in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001) and crappy in, well, pretty much everything else) also turned in a surprisingly good performance in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. He was able to tone down his usual I’m-so-pretty-everyone-stop-and-look-at-me attitude enough to actually let his performance shine through (same as he did in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)) – and he should do that more often. That facade apparently hides a pretty darn good actor.

Even Gwyneth (who I never have been a big fan of) was able to really embrace her role and play it to a T. In fact, all of the actors jumped into their roles with more enthusiasm than viewers have seen in awhile, and, almost as importantly, they were able to grasp the whole concept of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow right from the start, so were able to deliver exactly what each scene calls for.

The plot had aspects of movies seen before (King Kong and Godzilla (1998) among them), but was able to put it’s own twist on the action to bring off something not too mundane. While Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow gets the pacing of the storyline just right, some of the “surprise twists” are a bit too easy to guess. Still, it makes for a thrilling ride – and the special effects are just downright amazing.

This, similar to the original Toy Story (1995), showcases a whole new world of movie-making. While Toy Story (1995) caused an explosion of bright and cheery animated kids films, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow will most likely start an explosion of films geared toward an older generation. This film really blows the doors off (again) of what animation can do. While most films are incorporating computer animation into their picture, this takes it to the next level – everything you see – with the exception of the actors themselves – is entirely computer-generated.

Just check out the Behind-The-Scenes Featurette to see for yourself – the actors never left a small blue-screened sound stage for the entire shooting of the film! It’s truly impressive to watch, and boggles the mind at the skill of the animators involved. Add to that a cool tone of the colors of Sky Captain, and you’re looking at something truly original.

Surprisingly, the actors knew what they were doing when they signed up for this project: they were making history. With it’s incredible new style, amazing animation and good acting, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is very impressive. If the plot was just a little bit better, this film would have been perfect.

Still, animation-wise, this is bound to throw doors open – and I can’t wait to see what changes this brings to the movie-making industry. In the meantime, check out the stunning visual feast that is Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and see for yourself how bright the future looks.

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