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Published on September 19th, 2008 | by simeon


Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Harkening back to the days of episodic serials, “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” attempts to blend the thrills of the old adventure films and serials with the high tech computer effects of the modern age.

The film stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law as reporter Polly Prince and Aviator Sky Captain, who are reunited during a surprise attack on New York by an army of robot . Polly has been investigating a recent wake of scientists who have vanished under mysterious circumstances, and when the robots attack, Polly sees a connection and gets in contact with her old flame the Sky Captain.

Sky Captain is not thrilled to see Polly as he does not trust her, especially when they last parted under a difficult situation where the Sky Captain was left in a dangerous situation as a result of Polly’s ambition. Nevertheless, the duo team up and investigate the cause of the attacks. No sooner does the duo start the investigation, then Sky Captain’s base is attacked and his friend and gadget creator Dex (Giovanni Ribisi), has been kidnapped.

In a race against time to save Dex and stop the evil Dr. Totenkoph from destroying the world, Sky Captain and Polly must travel the globe meeting all manner of deadly and bizarre resistance in some of the most remote locations on the planet. Eventually the team meets up with Captain Franky Cook, (Angelina Jolie), who also has a past with Sky Captain, and her legion of flying forces help stage an attack on the good doctors compound in a lavish display of FX and action as they attempt to gain entry to a hidden fortress.

With the clock ticking, and the situation growing tense, Sky Captain and his crew must traverse the exotic and deadly location of the hidden location before it is to late if they are to stop the doctor and his henchmen (Bai Ling), and save Dex, the missing scientists, and the world.

While ambitious “Sky Captain” suffers from a lack of focus as the film tries to do too much. Writer/Director Kerry Conran does a good job in his first feature, as he is able to blend lavish visuals in a unique and creative way to create and populate the world of the film. Sadly though, the performances of Paltrow and Law are remarkably understated and the talented cast often comes across as bland. This causes the audience to have little connection with the characters and any real tension or chemistry is sadly lacking. We know there was some history between the two lead characters but it is mostly glossed over in favor of the action that after a while comes across as more of the same and becomes bland. Only the Franky character stands out as Jollie plays her with a sultry charm and flair that hides her devilish streak, yet emphasizes the strength of her character and her loyalty to the captain.

I had really wanted to like this film, as I found the premise to be interesting, however the action sequences were rather under whelming and to me it was very obvious that the film was filmed entirely against screens and used CGI for everything from buildings to sets. While ambitious, it became overwhelming after a while and in more than one instance the backgrounds were obviously false and did not match up well with the actors.

While this can be excused, what cant be a pedestrian plot that borrows heavily from other works, and while they like this film were inspired by the serials of old, and pulp comics, I could not help but see the “Indiana Jones”, “Star Wars”, and “Jurassic Park”, over and over in the film. Law, Jolie and Paltrow are talented actors but they are given little to do aside from run around and spout stale dialogue from a story that is already muddled down by a lackluster plot, lack of tension, pacing, and average special effects.

Conran is a director with promise and it should be noted that despite the film’s faults, the film was a daunting task as it was shot in just 29 days, which would strain even the most seasoned of directors. As it stands “Sky Captain” is an average film that could have been much better with just a little more time in the hangar.

2.5 stars out of 5

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