Sunday, September 19, 2004

Geek Report!

Saw Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.  I was predisposed to like it, and I so totally did.

You remember when Star Wars came out (the first one? y'know, back when they were good?) and people of a certain age talked about how it was a throw-back to the serials they used to watch.  Ditto Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Folks -- like my folks -- liked these pictures because they reminded them of the type of film they'd watched growing up -- excepting, of course, that Star Wars and Raiders had the benefit of a few more decades of technological advancements.

Sky Captain takes things a giant step forward -- it isn't just a film in the non-stop-adventure style of the old serials -- it is a stunning computer-generated recreation of every image we associate with films of that time:  the beautiful blond woman with her hat askew and the frame of light streaming across the lower half of her face; the arms of a crowd pointing to the sky (at a 45 degree angle) as some unknown terror approaches; the map of the world over which our hero flies when travelling to a foreign destination -- the whole package is there.  Even if you haven't seen a ton of those films, Sky Captain reminds you of things you never knew you remembered.

The characters are exactly as they ought to be:  Jude Law as the charming British daredevil aviator; Angelina Jolie as the tough-as-nails military heroine with whom our hero shares a past; and Giovanni Ribisi as the science nerd sidekick.  (The unfortunate weak link is Gwyneth Paltrow -- as the spunky reporter who forces her way into Sky Captain's plane and, hopefully, his heart.  Paltrow perfectly looks the 1939 part, but as soon as she opens her mouth, she doesn't fit in the time period.  Someone like Nicole Kidman could have blown this part away.)

The plot is a little thin (no thinner than half of the world-domination plots of James Bond villains), but the plot is so not the point.  The point is sitting there for 100 minutes with a huge smile on your face, marvelling over each and every image in this live-action old-fashioned comic book. 

1 comment:

mavarin said...

I wouldn't give it a ten out of ten (not that you did, either), and I think that Paltrow did fine. Other than that, I agree with you. Practically every frame of this thing was beautifully composed, not so much in the style of old serials as in the style of old posters. That color palette really worked.

A few more observations on the subject: http://journals.aol.com/mavarin/MusingsfromMavarin/entries/1103

- Karen