Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Would you like to watch a film that is a cross between a 1940s sci-fi comic book, an early James Bond movie, and some Star Wars action and special effects?  That sounds enticing, but for me it did not live up to expectations.


Giant flying robots attack major cities around the world.  Polly Perkins (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) is the fearless reporter who rushes out to photograph the robots while investigating the disappearance of several prominent scientists.  Meanwhile, Joe 'Sky Captain' (in his WWII vintage fighter plane) is summoned to fight the robots and stop them any way he can.  Their paths cross, of course, and lots of action, suspense and lovely special effects ensue.

Set in the 1940s, the feel is like WWII, but with more art deco than any movie should reasonably be allowed.  Just like in a comic book, the plot does not always make a lot of sense and the juxtaposition of past and future technology seems incongruous.  It helps if you just enjoy it and don't think too much.

After twenty minutes or so I was yawning and wondering if I chose the right movie, but after half an hour, things started to pick up nicely.

Not just the technology is a strange mixture of past and the future, so are the gender attitudes.  It was a welcome relief to see that our current gender culture was completely absent from this film.  Not even one groin kick made an appearance, nor were there any stupid fathers, female victims, or lines that start with "all men are…".

Definitely ahead of its time, "Sky Captain" includes both male and female heroes and villains.  Wow!  How long have we waited for that to appear in Hollywood movies?

On the minus side, though the special effects are spectacular, the color remains subdued throughout the film to maintain the look of a 1940s comic book.  Additionally, I found the movie to be very cold.  It was all plot and no theme.  The characters were two-dimensional and I felt little emotion towards them.

The film can best be described as a dazzling and exciting homage to 1940s sci-fi comic books.
                                     - Reviewed by Paul G.
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