Straight from the pages of a pulp comic from a past era, the Rocketeer recreates 1930's Hollywood, complete with gangsters, Nazi spies, and the growth of the Age of Aviation. Young pilot Cliff Secord stumbles on a top secret rocket-pack and with the help of his mechanic/mentor, Peevee, he attempts to save his girl and stop the Nazis as The Rocketeer. Written by
Greg Bole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Billy Campbell, who once studied commercial art, made sure to read the Dave Stevens graphic novel on which this film was based. He got the part after getting a haircut to make himself look identical to the character in the graphic novel. See more »
The color of the endcap on the Gee Bee's control stick changes from red just as Cliff takes off to yellow after he flies over the car chase. See more »
[as they bring the Gee Bee out for its maiden flight]
Keep her straight, keep her level. It's your first time up, so don't do anything interesting.
And remember, she stalls out at about a hundred. So keep the air speed up. Otherwise, you're gonna be drifting around all over the sky. And if the ailerons start to shimmy...
Peevy, I have flown a plane or two in my life.
Not like this one, you haven't. This one's... This one's a handful. You sneeze in this thing and you're ...
[...] See more »
Based on Dave Stevens' graphic novel, this very un-Disney-like Disney movie is a joy from start to finish, a two-fisted tribute to the serials of yesteryear which combines nostalgia for the innocence of ages past with the Art deco gloss of a world on the brink of war. Bill Campbell (from TV's "Tales of the City") plays a 1930's air ace who stumbles on a jet-propelled device that allows its wearer to fly at high speeds, a device coveted by law enforcement agencies, gangland criminals, Howard Hughes (!), and a Nazi villain (Timothy Dalton) masquerading as a Hollywood heartthrob.
Handsome and talented, Campbell plays the title role with just the right amount of wide-eyed candor and boyish charm, and he's supported by a veritable who's-who of Hollywood's finest character actors, including Alan Arkin, Paul Sorvino, Terry O'Quinn, Ed Lauter, Jon Polito and Eddie Jones, alongside Tiny Ron as a hulking henchman clearly modelled after Rondo Hatton (courtesy of Rick Baker's rubbery makeup), whose speciality is - you guessed it - *snapping spines*! Sadly, Jennifer Connelly is unable to make much of an impression as Campbell's eye-candy girlfriend, an old-fashioned heroine who lacks autonomy and is almost entirely dependent on her co-star's strength and bravery. That small blip aside, director Joe Johnston (HIDALGO) plays the whole thing straight, without even a hint of camp (when Campbell asks how he looks in his spiffy 'Rocketeer' outfit, Arkin deadpans: "Like a hood ornament!"), and while the characters are mere stock figures, they're played with real integrity by an enthusiastic cast, and the film's many set-pieces culminate in a showstopping finale on board an exploding zeppelin high above the Hollywood hills! Yep, this is one movie where you *definitely* get your money's worth!!
Produced today, the script (by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo) might have been co-opted by some overpriced 'star' whose off-screen notoriety could sap the magic out of every frame. It's the fact that Campbell WASN'T a household name during filming, and that the production dares to celebrate the movies of a bygone era without simultaneously mocking its references, which makes THE ROCKETEER so special. It carries none of the baggage that a major celebrity would have brought to it, and is simply a thrill-ride, no more or less, packaged and presented as a widescreen spectacle for audiences young and old (and DO try to see the film in its original Panavision dimensions). Incredibly, the movie underperformed at the American box-office, despite playing in 70mm (blown up from the original 35mm) at selected venues, though it has since found an appreciative audience on TV and home video. Originally released in the UK as ROCKETEER, an unnecessary abbreviation.
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