Movies You Have Not Seen But Should: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow


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Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Thanks for joining us for another “Movies You Have Not Have Seen….But You Should”. This week we will look at the 2004 retro sci-fi film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The film stars Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelia Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi & Sir Lawrence Olivier.

In an alternative version of 1939, scientists around the world have begun to disappear. The famous newspaper reporter Polly Perkins (played by Paltrow) is on the trail of the missing scientists. She follows a cryptic message to a meeting at a movie theater showing The Wizard of Oz with a Dr. Jennings. Dr. Jennings tells Polly that Dr. Totenkopf (played by Olivier) is coming for him. They are interrupted by air raid sirens that go off throughout the city. Giant robots begin attacking the city. The police call in the Flying Legion led by the “Sky Captain” Joe Sullivan (played by Law). The Flying Legion drive off the robots and take Polly and the remains of one of the robots back to their base to be examined by Dex (played by Ribisi), who is a tech expert. With info from Dex along with Polly, it begins an investigation that will take Joe and Polly (who were also formerly a romantic couple) around the world in search of Dr. Totenkopf and the missing scientists. Along the way, friends such as Captain Franky Cook of the Royal Navy (played by Joile) help the two in their search. What are Dr. Totenkopf’s motives? How will Joe and Polly get along? What is the World of Tomorrow? You’ll have to watch to find out of course.

This film is one of the first to be filmed on a “digital backlot”. This meant that actors (along with a few props) were the only real parts to the movie. The rest, including the surroundings and a majority of the props, were all computer animated. Also another huge effect used was including actor Sir Laurence Olivier. Olivier, who had passed away in 1989, was brought to the screen using archival footage of him from the BBC.

There were many influences on the film. Several included the 1939 New York World’s Fair, which included the idea of the “World of Tomorrow”. Another huge influence was the “Golden Age of Comics” and “Pulp art” that is from the 1930s and 1940s. There are also some similarities to the 1941 animated Superman short The Mechanical Monsters along with 1986 anime classic from Hayao Miyazaki Castle in the Sky.

The film was released in theaters on September 17, 2004. It was initially planned for release in the summer (actually the week before Spider-man 2 was to be released) but it was pushed back to September. It was received by critics fairly well. Famous movie critic Roger Ebert gave it 4 out of 4 stars. It has a 72% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Amazon Instant Video. It is a fun action adventure with sci-fi elements and some romantic comedy thrown in as well. It is a fun mix of retro style movie making with modern technology. Plus it has Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. It is a lively film that you may not have seen, but you should.

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  1. redraobyek 22 October, 2013 at 16:11 Reply

    In addition to the movie being well worth seeing, Jane Monheit contributes an awesome version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and the video for it features footage from the film. You can Bingle it easily enough, I’m sure. Well worth a look.

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