SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW is a highly stylized synthesis of everything from Buck Rogers and WAR OF THE WORLDS to FLASH GORDON, with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT thrown in for good fun.
The movie begins with everyone dressed in Fedoras and heavy overcoats as the Hindenburg III zeppelin docks on top of the Empire State Building during a snowstorm. An old German man passes a note to a flight attendant as he disembarks and is mysteriously gunned down a few minutes later. Quick to sense a story, news reporter Polly Perkins, a Lois Lane-type played by Gwyneth Paltrow, follows the trail of the murder. She finds that elite German scientists are being kidnapped and that an evil Dr. Totenkopf is concocting a sinister plan that involves giant robots.
Those giant robots begin to strike all over the world, stealing electric generators and oil reserves. Unable to resist the robotic onslaught, New York City sends up a distress signal to mercenary Sky Captain (Jude Law) and his squadron of fighter pilots. The ensuing dogfight pits Sky Captain’s toothy P-40 Warhawk fighter plane against a squadron of mighty robots.
The cinematic effects and theater-shaking sound add up to an incomparably larger than life chase scene that ignores the capabilities of an airplane and the effect of G-force on a human body but delivers pure excitement.
The cutting edge visuals contrast well with the film’s retro setting. This movie is an edgy imitation of the look of old, low-tech films. It manages to capture the feel of the “golden age” of science fiction and comic book art. With over 2,000 computer effects, not only is this movie taking the next step in computer graphic imaging, but SKY CAPTAIN is the first all-digital live action movie. Every shot was filmed against a blue screen, and even the actors’ images were digitized and altered to fit the background. An interesting side note is the digital resurrection of the deceased Sir Laurence Olivier as evil Dr. Totenkopf. Using old footage and computers, combined with audio courtesy of Olivier’s family, Totenkopf is the quintessential mad scientist.
Assisted by Dex the inventor (Giovanni Ribisi) and with Polly Perkins in tow, Sky Captain sets out to discover the truth about the missing scientists and the identity of the mastermind controlling the robotic army. The trail leads them all the way from New York City to Shangri La and the Land That Time Forgot in a series of action-packed chases. Toward the midpoint of the film, Sky Captain calls in a favor with Franky (Angelina Jolie) and her squad of submersible fighter planes, and together they penetrate the defenses surrounding Totenkopf’s secret island base.
The movie captures the wonder and mystery that science held in the 30’s and 40’s, when anything seemed possible. Fantastic robots and immense aircraft carriers flying through the sky make up some of the dramatic effects. Never mind how that P-40 plane can dive into the ocean and convert to a submarine – the effects, storyline, and action makes this film a real treat for any science fiction fan and are straight forward enough for even a young audience to enjoy. The film quickly convinces the audience to accept these mysteries of science, and then the chase to stop Totenkopf is on!
(BB, C, CapCap, Pa, L, V, M) Moral redemptive worldview with bravery and good vs. evil, with light capitalist worldview where technology is bringing about a better world; some pagan syncretism; four obscenities and two profanities and one particularly lewd comment; 1930’s comic book-style violence between humans and robots; three people in bed together with no sex implied but suggested infidelity; implied nudity; and, mild lying and cheating.
GENRE: Science Fiction
SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW is a highly stylized synthesis of everything from Buck Rogers and WAR OF THE WORLDS to FLASH GORDON. In the movie, a mad scientist Totenkopf creates an army of flying robots, which invade New York City and begin stealing the world’s electric generators and oil reserves. Jude Law’s Sky Captain and his squadron of fierce fighting machines do battle with the robots to foil the scientist’s plan and save the world!
Heavily inspired by the comic book art of the era, the movie captures the wonder and mystery that science held in the 30’s and 40’s, when anything seemed possible. Giant robots and immense aircraft carriers with propellers zoom through the sky. The movie’s visual look is incredibly creative. Never mind how that one plane can dive into the ocean and convert to a submarine: the effects, storyline, and action make this film a real treat for any science fiction fan and are simple enough for a young audience to enjoy. Starring Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, SKY CAPTAIN quickly convinces the audience to accept these scientific mysteries, and then the chase to stop Totenkopf is on!