SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, 2004
Directed by Kerry Conran
Cast: Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Gambon, Ling Bai, Laurence Olivier, Angelina Jolie
Review by Jarred Thomas
SYNOPSIS: After New York City receives a series of attacks from giant flying robots, a reporter teams up with a pilot in search of their origin, as well as the reason for the disappearances of famous scientists around the world.
Set in stylized 40’s New York City, Polly Perkins (Paltrow) is investigating series of disappearance of the world’s top scientist. During her investigation an invasion takes place where giant robots arrive wreaking havoc of New York City, destroying everything in its path. Luckily, Sky Captain arrives in his Spitfire airplane and successfully destroys the mechanical monsters using advanced weaponry attached to his plane.
Believing there may be a connection between the robots and disappearing scientist, Polly looks for help from Sky Captain (Law), who she shares a past with as the two used to date. They still harbor feelings for one another, most of which is rooted in anger believing that other betrayed them at some point or another. As they investigate together, they uncover a doomsday machine Totenkopf, (Olivier) an evil scientist, has created.
There’s a lot to admire about this film, in particular it’s retrospective look done in a visually impressive and innovative way. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before, and if you had, it was most likely in the comic books during the 40’s. The look is a character of its own and really enhances the viewing experience.
After another attack from another group of flying robots, Dex (Giovanni Ribisi), Sky Captain’s genius technician, goes missing, but not before leaving a clue behind for the duo to follow. Franky Cook (Angelina Jolie), the commander of a flying battle station, uses her squadron of flying/swimming airplanes to aid Sky and Polly in breaking through to the evil Totenkopf’s hideout.
After many obstacles the two finally reach the evil Doctor’s lair, and upon their arrival is the discovery of the strange existence of the man and the machines that do his bidding. They also realize he has put a plan in motion to imminently destroy the planet, and they must act to prevent this.
In keeping with the retrospective look, Conran even cast the Sir Laurence Olivier as the villain. However, Laurence has been dead for years by the time of the film’s release. So since Olivier had been deceased for nearly 15 years at the time of filming, he was shown in the film via computer manipulation of video and audio. The footage they used was of the young actor, and it worked. It was great seeing the renowned actor in one last film, especially one that was fun.
Conran draws most of his inspiration from growing up watching 30’s and 40’s films and reading comic book. It shows. First time director Conran does a sensational job in which he absorbs you entirely into this world of Tomorrow. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow should have received more attention, but if you haven’t seen it yet and are curious, look for it.