Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow beautifully combines ’40s Hollywood style with the best computer-generated images, making the film an exquisite treat for the eyes. Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow carry the film perfectly while adding life to their under-developed characters.
Unlike the brainless, no-more-than-special-effects flicks such as I, Robot and The Day After Tomorrow, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow keeps a smart, simple storyline, all the while enticing the viewer with a 1939 none of us could ever visualize. Also setting the film apart from its competition is the sheer wonderment it evokes and the larger-than-life adventure that has been missing from theaters since the Indiana Jones franchise.
Upon his maiden voyage as director, Kerry Conran puts his imagination to use. His decision to create a film relying heavily on CGI and a very vintage sci-fi plot was a risky one. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow looks like something straight from the pages of a comic book, and it’s a worthy first effort.
The world is being rampaged by robots that fly into cities, take what they need and disappear into the sky. Polly Perkins (Paltrow) is a cutthroat journalist looking to unravel this mystery. Around the same time several scientists turn up missing and Polly manages to connect the loose ends, but needs help in this dangerous task. That’s where Joe “Sky Captain” Sullivan (Law) comes in. Together, the two embark on a journey to find Dr. Totenkopf, a mad scientist whose perception of the world has lead him to believe it must be destroyed.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow sports two strong supporting roles. Giovanni Ribisi plays Dex, a very intelligent scientist and Joe’s buddy. Ribisi is great and at certain moments steals attention away from the lovely Paltrow. Commander of a large fleet, fearless and eye-patch clad sounds like a character that could only be played by Angelina Jolie. Jolie is absolutely amazing playing Capt. Franky Cook, a former flame of Joe’s. Though her screen time is limited and despite sharing top billing, Jolie puts forward her best performance since Girl, Interrupted.
Law is undeniably charismatic and gives Sky Captain his oh-so-cool persona. With a packed release schedule (Alfie and I Heart Huckabees in October), Law is making a bid to join the A-list. With solid choices such as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and Mike Nichols’ Closer, he shouldn’t have any problems.
Paltrow does justice to inquisitive and sometimes annoying Polly, but this isn’t her most inspired performance. After keeping a rather low profile, it’s refreshing to see Paltrow back on the screen.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is one of the freshest action films, and that’s all due to Conran’s very unique vision. The first-time filmmaker gambles with a movie that is largely computer generated, and the long shot pays off as his film is breathtakingly stunning.
Conran also wrote the film’s screenplay, which blends humor into the intense action sequences, keeping the movie lighthearted and enjoyable. The film’s major flaw is that the lead characters are underwritten, which prevents audiences from caring about the characters or whatever troubles they should land in.
Flaws and all: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is the antidote to the hordes of tasteless action flicks that invaded theaters this summer. The film itself reminds audiences of a time when action films were fun, intelligent and imaginative. A genre once loved for its originality has begun to release countless carbon copies of previous hits, and now Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a small sign that there’s still some life in this genre.