Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Dir: Kerry Conran
Star: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Giovanni Ribisi, Angeline Jolie

I'm sure you've heard the story, how director Conran slaved for years on the groundbreaking technology to put real actors in an artifical world. There's no doubt it works; as a demo real, this is almost insanely impressive. However, maybe he should have spent more time on the script, which doesn't so much invoke the spirit of pulp comics, as transplant it, one-dimensional characters, plot holes and all. When an army of robotic giants attack Manhattan, feisty journalist Polly Perkins (Paltrow) reunites with old flame, 'Sky Captain' Sullivan (Law) an aviator with his own air-force, base and research complex [the question of financing, etc. is never seriously addressed] and they go in search of Dr. Totenkopf, the reclusive scientist behind it all.

Whoosh! They pick up a signal from the Himalayas! Swish! They find Shangri-la! Wheee! They're off to Totenkopf's island lair! Er, what about the Himala...Oooh! Look, there's Angelina Jolie as a British aviator! None of this makes sense; Totenkopf can make endless battalions of robots, but not generators? It's classic Hollywood bait-and-switch, dangling pretty baubles in front of the eyes, and hoping we pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! And indeed, The Wizard of Oz is specifically referenced, though the final resolution here can only dream of banging its ruby slippers together. In five years, as with morphing and bullet-time, the technology here will be in every film and commercial - so best see it now, since the film has little else to offer.

September 2004

The plane truth
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