Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow

I love B-Movies. So when the first shots of mechanical monsters invading New York appeared on my PC screen, I was already hooked and determined to see this weird Sci-Fi movie from debutante Kerry Conran. As more footage leaked out, my anticipation grew higher. The announcement of Jude Law in the lead, only added to my excitement, so much so that I was able to ignore the potentially devastating news that Gwyneth Paltrow was going to be in it.

In the end I was saved from over-hype by the first of my friends coming into work saying the film was crap. This was followed by another friend saying it was just mediocre and the reviewers in the US saying it sucked.

So to the cinema I went, expectation back to a healthy low. And? I left the cinema in a happy mood.

Sky Captain is no masterpiece. It is exactly what it says on the tin; a movie that draws on the ideas of square-jawed heroes, implausible situations and fiendishly devilish plots about wiping out humanity. It is a throwback to the B-movies of the 1950's and I cannot fault it for that.

The film is set in an alternate 1939 and charts the adventure of the Worlds greatest hero (Jude), and his annoying ex-girlfriend reporter (Gwyney). Not to go into too much detail but the plot is tremendously basic and involves robots, dinosaurs, submersible planes and flying aircraft carriers.

The cinematography (which is entirely CGI) is jaw droppingly stunning and does a fair job at detracting away from the lack of detailed story. While I should be disappointed with the very basic plot I find it hard to criticise because it's not claiming or trying to be anything other than a b-movie. It's a full-on 1950's style action/adventure/Sci-Fi with an implausible plot and characters that are low on back-story. I read somewhere that this is a fan-boys movie and I'd have to agree. Being a lover of b-movies I instantly understood this film and the newbie writer/directors motivation.

The biggest flaw is the acting. While I can accept a lack of back-story I can't stand poor acting and this has it in abundance. Gwyney in particular suffers from the 'Star Wars Syndrome' of not being able to act against a blue-screen. Angelina Jolie appears briefly as a quite random choice for a stiff upper-lipped Brit.

In summary, if you don't like b-movies, you probably won't like or get this film. And to be honest even if you are a b-movie lover you might still find the lack of plot and poor acting a bind. However, for me this delivers. I'm a b-movie fan-boy and mister Conran clearly knew how to push my buttons! There's even a surprise cameo.

Score: 6.5/10

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