CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

TOP TEN 2004 "Sky Captain and the World of tomorrow"

On the bargain rack of most Border’s Bookstore can be
found the genesis for today’s multimillion-dollar
extravaganzas. "Undersea Kingdom," "The Phantom
Creeps" and "S.O.S. Coastguard" are 1930 serials
that inspired filmmakers George Lucas, Steven
Spielberg and James Cameron. Retaining the motifs of
the 1930’s serials, creator Kerry Conran has fashioned
a unique vision for the twenty first century called
"Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow."

"Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" features
three academy award-winning actors (Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie
and the late Sir Laurence Oliver). The actor's stage
is a blue screen set with computerized graphics that
represent New York City, the lost horizon of Shambala
and the laboratory of a mad scientist. "Sky Captain
and the World of Tomorrow" is a visual treat for the
eyes for movie lovers.

Intrepid newspaper reporter Polly Perkins (Paltrow)
learns that world famous scientists are disappearing.
When gargantuan robots arrive to trample Gotham City,
Sky Captain, alias Captain H. Joseph Sullivan (Jude
Law), is called to the rescue. Sky Captain is a
daredevil aviator who is Polly Perkins’s former lover.
Assisted by technical genius Dex (Giovanni Ribisi),
Sky Captain and Polly learn that the mechanical
monsters were the creation of Professor Totenkopf
(Olivier), an evil mastermind behind a plot to enslave
the world.

The investigation leads the Sky Captain team across
the world thru Nepal to an undersea kingdom. Assisting
Sky Captain is another former flame,
Frankie Cook (Angelina Jolie) who is an inventive
aviator in her own right. Sky Captain also enlists the
aid of Kaji (Omid Djalili), a mercenary with contacts
in this exotic Asian world. Despite the talent of the
team, Sky Captain's allies run afoul of the martial
arts specialist, Mysterious Woman (Bai Ling), and her
personal army of deadly robots.

"Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" works
because the talented cast and crew capture the spirit
of Smilin’ Jack, The Phantom and Indiana Jones. Jude
Law captures the correct balance between Sky King’s
swagger and his need for milk of magnesium. Paltrow
channels the spirit of Lois Lane with 21th Century
feminism. Jolie is a delight in her cameo role and it
is a relief to see Giovanni Ribisi forego his
trademark intensity to portray a heroic sidekick.

"Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" is a film of
detail. With first viewed, one is overwhelmed with
the imagery. Yet on closer look there are many
details that demand a second viewing. One tease –
what is the fuzzy figure climbing the Empire State
Building during the robots attack? The fact that
Radio City Music Hall prominently placed in the
sequence provides an important clue.

When "E.T. the Extraterrestrial" was released to Box
Office glory in 1982, Harrison Ford starred in "Blade
Runner" which was directed by Ridley Scott. While a
box office disappointment, "Blade Runner" has been
recently honored as one of the best science fiction
films of all time. The plot was derivative of a
"Dirty Harry" movie with film noir convention, the
visuals overwhelmed the ensemble of actors. "Sky
Captain and the World of Tomorrow" is the "Blade
Runner" of 2004. This new film will be recognized by
future generations as a unique cinematic achievement.
Don’t miss this one on the big screen for a Saturday
Matinee price!
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