The PimpDragon's Review of SKY CAPTAIN!
on Sunday, September, 19, 2004 2:35 PM
It is not without irony that this film uses "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as its closing credits tune. I can't think of anything more spot-on, especially following this film.
Folks, I've been a movie geek for as long as I can remember. I cut my cinematic teeth on the ultimate blockbusters: Jaws, the Star Wars Trilogy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman and countless others. Although not a serious blockbuster, Tron was DEFINITELY in this group of films. These films allowed me to dream - to escape to another world, another time that was different than mine. See, that's what films do for me. I don't go into a film trying to criticize it from frame one. I want to believe what I see on screen. I want to be captured in the moments, transported to the places I'm seeing projected on a huge silver screen.
In other words, when it comes to films like this, I want to be 5 years old again.
This is important to note as I review this film, because for me, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a dream of a picture. It's so note-perfect in all it seeks out to accomplish that I cannot do anything other than to proclaim its greatness in a mediocre world of film.
THIS is why I go to the movies.
From the opening titles, with Edward Shearmer's soaring score (that sounds like it was written by John Williams somewhere during the time he composed Superman, Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark and for the love of all things holy should win him an Academy Award next March), I was catipulted into 1939 and was a child all over again.
This movie resides in a world that rests somewhere between Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, with healthy doses of Max Fleisher's Superman cartoons and the Batman animated series thrown in for good measure. Mix them all up and you get this feast for the eyes and soul.
Once the opening credits roll, we find ourselves in New York City (circa 1939/1940), only it's not exactly the New York City we know. It looks like New York City the way it was designed in comic books and pulp magazines of the era. The snow is falling as the Hindenberg III prepares to dock at the Empire State Building. That sentence alone should prepare you for the world you enter in this film.
Our intrepid reporter, Polly Perkins (a wonderful nod to the alliterate Lois Lane), is meeting a professor at Radio City Music Hall, where people are watching "The Wizard of Oz" on the big screen, which is a wonderful nod at the audience, especially when we hear Dorothy proclaim that she's "not in Kansas anymore"!
The professor tells her that a madman, Dr. Totenkopf (who's portrayed by someone I won't name but if you understand German, when you see him you'll get the joke), is kidnapping the world's top scientists, who he worked with before in a secret Nazi thinktank known as "Unit Eleven", in an effort to harness their intelligence to create the ultimate weapon, which they set out to create years ago. Just as he gets these words out, the air raid sirens sound! People panic into the streets and look up to see the mechanical menace of dozens of large robots flying into NYC's airspace! They land and begin their destructive march towards downtown New York City.
The police give it everything they've got, but they have no way of stopping - or even slowing down - the monstrosities.
Then, we cut to what was the crowning achievement of getting me hook, line and sinker onto this movie's side: a montage of radio telegraphs going across the airwaves over the U.S., just like the RKO Pictures tower that opened Citizen Kane and their other great films, with a man saying "Calling Sky Captain! This is protocal 90206. Come in Sky Captain!" From there, we cut to the sky and out of the clouds comes our savior, Sky Captain Joseph Sullivan, and his glorious P-40 Warhawk (which is as cool as the Batmobile - maybe even cooler)! "This is Sky Captain. I'm on my way!" The hero's music swells and he soars into battle!
It was at this point that I turned