After New York City receives a series of attacks from giant flying robots, a reporter teams up with a pilot in search of their origin, as well as the reason for the disappearances of famous scientists around the world.
In 1939, an intrepid reporter in New York City makes a connection between the story she's covering -- of famous scientists suddenly disappearing around the world, and a recent attack on the city by giant robots. Determined to find the solution to these happenings, she seeks the help of her ex-boyfriend, the captain of a mercenary legion of pilots. The two are investigating the case when the robots attack the city again, though in a stroke of luck, Sky Captain's right-hand man is able to locate their source. They then set off on an adventure in search of the evil mastermind behind these schemes, who is bent on creating a utopia and destroying the current world. Written by
A bloody sacrifice to the Deus ex machina; suitable only for small boys
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow sets out to be pioneering, sets out to be clever, and sets out to gain cult status through references to the past. Instead, we have an early stinker of a predecessor to what will no doubt be many, many, CGI films in the future.
One does not expect a film of this sort to be realistic, but the 'face' of this film, as it were, is so contorted into one vast ironic wink, that no other tone is at all apparent. There is zero suspension of disbelief at any point in this film; NONE! Indeed the much mentioned "sepia" tone and fuzzy image, designed to evoke the 1930's, are but the final straw in giving the film not so much the charm of a comic book, but rather a (bad) comic book's pervasive air of insincerity and unreality. While technically striking, the film is not quite visually striking, being simply too phony to matter. I suspect that this film was aiming for the sort of insincere fun found in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, but unlike the "Pirates" franchise, the acting, humor, and dialog are all played down, rather than played up, and the plot is, amazingly, utterly and notably inferior.
While many people have criticized the dialog and acting, in fact, I think that both are somewhat cleverly done, but both are also so shriekingly at odds with the supposed action on screen, that one is reminded of a janitor sweeping in front of a movie screen while a film is running; a veritable exercise in DE-integrating live action and CGI.
I think (or at least hope) that this film marks something of a milestone in Hollywood as the final gasp of pure special effects awe over special effects artistry, and film craft. While intended to be sophisticated and ironic, the filmmakers are mired in a mentality that upholds pointless but technically difficult spectacle over all. The next generation of filmgoers in particular will be accustomed to high end special effects and are not going to be awed by special effects that are not supportive of story, nor truly interesting in themselves. While past films could shock simply because they COULD show a given scene, just like a novelist, future filmmakers will need to present a scene skillfully, and present scenes that support a story. Almost nothing in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is well presented, and unfortunately, the film is suitable only for small boys.
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