Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to go and see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Wow was that ever a mistake!
I went in knowing that most of the reviewers out there had said it was bad and about half of the geeks were saying the same1. However the trailers for the movie looked just gorgeous with an impressive style that felt very much like one would expect a 1940’s pulp sci-fi movie to look2, from the giant robots to the cars down to the ray pistol. The one interesting thing about the movie that one should remember is that the entire thing was shot in front of a green screen and there were no locations. All the background stuff was computer-rendered. Then it appears that they pushed the film of the actors through some filters to add a bit of noise & distortion into the film, giving a feeling of being from the 40’s. These computerized specials effects were unfortunately the only good thing about the movie. The writing of the movie was wretched. The acting was sub-par at best. If you wish to know more details, following the (more) link but be warned that there are some spoilers mixed in there.
For example, the basic story is that the world has been under attack, mostly out of the way locations, by an unknown enemy who uses massive sem-remote controled robots. I say semi-remote because 1 of the robots that gets sent out is the master robot and relays the control signals from the villian’s secret hideout. Naturally enough, the master robot has an obvious visual queue on it that makes it stand out from the several hundred other robots running around; so the hero knows which one to chase. Now the thing about these robots is that they were supposedly created by a german scientist around WWII, though they never specifically say he was a Nazi; it is heavily implied. Other cliches/weaknesses of the film include:
- Joe Sullivan, a.k.a. Sky Captain, escapes some robot planes by crashing into the ocean, which completely destroys the solid, metal-looking robots while Joe’s customized plane, which looks something like a Grumman P6F Hellcat, converts into a sub and impacts without damage.
- Polly Perkins is one of roughly 2 characters who don’t use an English accent.
- Francesca ‘Franky’ Cook is a captain in the British navy (of a flying aircraft carrier) and doesn’t have a British accent.
- The sole bit of emtional chemistry in the entire 107 minutes of the movie was when Franky was greeting Joe. Note that chemistry was entirely from Franky to Joe and nothing went the other way.
- Polly is a nosy reporter woman who’s confident in herself only when dealing with her editor or with Joe. The rest of the time; she acts more like a timid, little mouse.
- Polly trips, rips or finds someother way to flash the top of her stockings and a bit of her garters every time she’s wearing a skirt.
- About halfway through the movie, Polly loses all her film except for what’s currently in her camera. She spends the rest of the movie complaining that Joe should have let her go back into the face of guaranteed death to get the film. When she doesn’t say he should have let her go back; we’re treated to a scence of her looking at the shot count on her camera and complaining that she’s got 2 shots left.
- That complaining leads up to the one good line in the entire script. At the very end of the movie, after Polly’s down to 1 shot left and she’s saved it past several amazing scenes; she starts to take a picture of what’s happening around her and switches over to take a picture of Joe. Joe tries to tell her something first, but she doesn’t let him. After she’s taken the picture; she asks him what he wanted to say. He replies with 2 simple, little words “Lens cap.”
1 That includes geeks I know personally and geeks who’s blogs and/or webcomics I read.
2 Well, at least how somebody born more a couple decades past that era would expect something from it to look.