Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Watching Sky Captain gave me the same thrill I got all those years ago when I watched Star Wars for the first time. Star Wars has been so sequeled, franchised, and parodied that it’s difficult to remember or express the pure joy and amazement I felt then. And I’ve never felt the same since. (No. Especially not with Raiders of the Lost Ark, Mr. Ebert.)

Well Sky Captain gives me the same thrill and for the same reasons. First of all, it doesn’t look like anything you’ve ever seen, but at the same time it reminds you of all those wonderful old comic-book inspired films from the 1930s. In a reverse of “Final Fantasy” where the imaging technicians tested how close to real life they could make animation look, Sky Captain tests how close to animation it can make live-action actors look.

Second, it’s just plain rousing fun. The plot is part Saturday matinee serial, part comic book, and part Wizard of Oz. Both Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow really seem of the time rather than modern actors playing a part. And they have the same great sparring chemistry of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, or Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant. Favorite line, “Can’t we die just once without bickering.”

On the down side, I suppose Star Wars turned the country away from the skepticism and shades of gray of the previous two decades. It paved the way for Reagan’s simplistic world view where everything was black and white. To hell with the bad news! We Americans want to feel good about ourselves again. Defeat the evil empire. Rah rah. Blah blah blah. If George W. Bush watches Sky Captain he’s likely to come away feeling even more inspired to save the world single-handedly with his secret, mercenary military.

One Response to “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”

  1. cmb Responds:

    I finally got to see Sky Captain. I enjoyed the action, sense of fun, and the different approach to the photography. It had the feel of the older SciFi pics–some of their innocence. I hope it does well and Hollywood gets the message the excessive blood and gore isn’t required for a good movie.

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