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Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

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Hmm. I guess the film is so 98.5% free of stuff like that, I'm more grateful than disgruntled. And I think those moments fly by so quickly that kids will blink and forget all about them...

Yeah, maybe -- IF they see it ONCE, in the theater. But that's not how kids watch movies nowadays. They see them on DVD over and over. There's no moment so fleeting in the Star Wars films that my kids don't know in exact detail.

except the "under the sheets" moment, which I thought was quite funny without taking what would have been an easy step into "kinky."

Yeah, the bed scene is borderline, but I wouldn't not take my kids over that alone.

The comments about "cheating" could have been a bit more discreet, though, and the nipple comment is completely over the line in my book.

: The most egregious example is a pointless lewd remark -- in a subtitle no less --

: that doesn't even make sense in context.

Is discussion of male nipples necessarily "lewd"?


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Perhaps the better Indiana Jones analogy is not to Raiders -- which is, after all, a relatively mature film in more ways than one -- but to the more, um, immature The Last Crusade, which also features a two-timing character of sorts.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Perhaps the better Indiana Jones analogy is not to Raiders -- which is, after all, a relatively mature film in more ways than one -- but to the more, um, immature The Last Crusade, which also features a two-timing character of sorts.

Exactly -- and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which was rated PG-13, was totally inappropriate for kids, as was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which SHOULD have been rated PG-13, even though the PG-13 rating hadn't been invented yet -- a fact that was so obvious to everyone that it helped lead to the creation of the PG-13 rating.

My point is, the PG-rated Sky Captain is more like Star Wars than Last Crusade or Temple of Doom; it's basically an innocuous fantasy adventure that is a hairsbreadth away from being in fact the family-friendly adventure that it is in spirit.

In the case of the nipple line especially, you don't gain anything from it -- it's not funny, it's not sexy, it doesn't tie in with anything -- and it doesn't jive with the film's 1930s nostalgic milieu. It's a loser all the way around the block.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I just got back from seeing this one with my girlfriend (I've always wanted to say that, and now I finally can! blush.gif ). She seemed to like it, although she said it was the weirdest movie she's ever seen. For the record, I offered to see Wimbledon, but she insisted I chose the movie.

I thought it had it's moments, but overall, I came out of it a bit disappointed. The idea was great and the visuals were fun, but it never seemed to live up to it's potential. There were all these moments in the film where I felt like I should be excited, I wanted to be excited (such as when Sky Captain is introduced), but I just wasn't.

It had some genuinely funny moments (which I thought included the "naked in bed scene"), but it also had some real bombs (including the whole "nipple exchange"). That was really the deal breaker, the dialog, I felt, was terribly uneven. It wasn't bad, but I can't say it was very good either, although I wish I could. Of the "summer movies" I'd place it somewhere ahead of Troy and somewhere behind this year's Harry Potter.

I think there's a lot of potential here, so I am interested in seeing what the director does next...

Edited by Darryl A. Armstrong

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
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Oh, oh! Has anyone mentioned this yet? I love the last line! The whole running gag with Polly's camera was very clever.

I'm sorry to see so much space on this thread all tied up in knots over one line. There's so much to enjoy here...

I love the varieties of iron giants storming about.

I love the underwater scene, when Jolie's character gets to play an important part.

The zeppelins are awe-inspiring, so much better than the one in Last Crusade.

I love the "reveal" of the note that Ribisi has left for them.

If this was a regular Saturday morning cartoon, I'd watch it religiously.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Saw Sky Captain this afternoon. I thoroughly LOVED the look and feel of the film, and for that alone I'm willing forgive weaknesses in the acting or plotting (this is the kind of breakneck-cheesy-action-adventure that Stephen Sommers WISHES he could make). As soon as I saw the zepplin breaking throughe snowy clouds into New York, I fell in love with the film and settled down with a big grin on my face.

I'm a big fan of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons (I'll have to go to my DVDs and check, but I believe the robots that attack at the beginning are STRAIGHT out of an episode entitled "The Mechanical Monsters"), old adventure serials, comic books, and anything that has evil German scientists so this film was tailor-made for me. I just want Kerry Conran's world so I can play around in it and come up with my own adventure stories.

Also the references were flying hard and fast (anyone notice the submerged S.S. Venture complete with big cage? or Platform 327). I don't know if people who aren't as well versed in the history of genre entertainment will appreciate it (and judging from the kinda soft $16 million gross it appears so unfortunately). All I know is this is the kind of thing I've been waiting for for ages, and I was satisfied.

I agree that Law and Paltrow don't give their strongest performances (and that isn't saying their bad, remember this is an Oscar winner and Oscar nominee), but they are far from being bad. I thought Paltrow captured the "Lois Lane"-type very well, and Law is perfect as a 30s leading man-type. I've been liking him more and more since A.I. and admire his choices and performances very much. I also admire Law and Paltrow for recognizing the magic and visual brilliance of this film. So many big actors are like "Blue screen? Not going to happen." but they went ahead and I think they should be proud.

All in all, I think it was wonderful, and is definitely a contender for Top Ten. I still think Spider-man 2 is an overall more solid and moving film, at least for me, but this one is definitely up there with Spidey and Harry Potter for exceptional fantasy adventure films. It was a nice way to end the summer in that regard.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: Oh, oh! Has anyone mentioned this yet? I love the last line!

Yep -- see above ("There are some nice humorous touches between them, including a great punchline at the very end...").

: The whole running gag with Polly's camera was very clever.

At times, yes. But at times, the film's efforts to replicate the old screwball-comedy patter didn't quite take off as well as they could have, I thought.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I'll have to go to my DVDs and check, but I believe the robots that attack at the beginning are STRAIGHT out of an episode entitled "The Mechanical Monsters"

I checked MY DVD days ago, and the answer is yes (cf. my review). smile.gif My question now is, where do the OTHER giant robots come from, the ones we see in Joe's HQ after Dex's kidnapping, with the tentacle-like arms? I'm sure I've seen them before, but I can't place them.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I too was extremely entertained by Sky Captain. So, first we had Michael Moore... and now we have Kerry Conran making his mark for filmmakers from Flint, Michigan.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Interestingly enough, Sky Captain was originally supposed to come out on June 25 ... the same weekend that Fahrenheit 9/11 opened. But they postponed it, possibly because post-production took longer than expected, but also, I think, because Spider-Man 2 moved its release date up from the following Friday to the following Wednesday, giving Sky Captain only five days to claim the audience to itself. (Fahrenheit 9/11, of course, wasn't really going for the same audience.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I've only seen them in the previews, but the tenticle robots remind me of Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

AH! Yes! Of course. How stupid of me not to see it -- especially with the dirigibles and other Miyazake-like elements. Thank you!

(Of course, in Laputa those tentacle-armed robots worked for good, and here they work for evil....)


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Finally saw this last night. Man, I loved looking at this film! Among the most breathtaking parts were the multi-layered montagy sequences (e.g. the reporter typing against a background of newspaper headlines fading over airships and skyscrapers) and craning up to reveal unexpectedly wide busy vistas (like the dirigible hanger type places). As for the acting, well, maybe they should have gone with CGI for the leads as well. (Angelina Jolie being the exception. She was perfect.) Jude Law is passable, but poor Gwyneth Paltrow -- while she looks good -- just didn't exhibit the screen presence (especially voice -- she needs to smoke more, I think) to generate that adventure-duo chemistry that others are talking about here. I realize the genre demands a blond, and possibly an American blond, but I kept wondering as I watched who I thought might have been able to better pull off a performance in line with the glistening nostalgio-camp of the art direction. Cate Blanchett might have had the necessary glamour power, Liv Tyler could have held up the melodrama. Maybe even Kate Winslet. A CGI version of a young Lauren Bacall, obviously would have been the ticket. But acting in front of a blue screen -- that's the whole thing, isn't it? I blame the director for the performances here. No complaints about the look, art direction, feel -- but under such circumstances a director has to add to all his computer skills that of an Actor's Studio director, adept at coaxing that organic realism under minimalist circumstances. (I thought of Juliet Binoche in that empty room in Code Unknown -- there's somebody who could act with nothing but a blue screen!) I wonder with this director (and Lucas) if the advent of Blue Screen films will necessitate a second director: besides hitting the marks so the live action fits into the CGI template, somebody's got to watch the performance with an eagle eye, and not be distracted keeping track of all the scene elements that will be composited in post.

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Oh, oh! Has anyone mentioned this yet? I love the last line! The whole running gag with Polly's camera was very clever.

I love the varieties of iron giants storming about.

I love the underwater scene, when Jolie's character gets to play an important part.

The zeppelins are awe-inspiring, so much better than the one in Last Crusade.

I love the "reveal" of the note that Ribisi has left for them.

If this was a regular Saturday morning cartoon, I'd watch it religiously.

I am solidly in Jeffrey's camp on this film. In the last year or so I've really lost my passion for film (as evidenced by my lack of posts here), partly because we lost one of our local art house film venues (turned into a $.99 movie joint) but also because as of late I just haven't had the kind of loose-yourself-in-another-world feeling in many movies of late.

As soon as I saw the zepplin breaking throughe snowy clouds into New York, I fell in love with the film and settled down with a big grin on my face.

This is exactly what happened to me. It was the look of the film - the texture, the soft focus, the hard shadows, the classic imagry - and the way it was just there as opposed to calling attention to itself (I felt the same about the way Finding Nemo handled water). Oh, and I don't think anyone's mentioned this yet - what about the way they show Sky Captain flying from one spot on the globe to another, very much like the Indiana Jones series but taken to the next level.

As for the performances, I was too busy being awed by what was presented and wondering what was coming up next to notice.

Anyway, I gotta run to work but let me end with this: the last time I fell this hard for a movie was Big Fish and people seem to be just as divided over that one as they are this one.

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Oh, and I don't think anyone's mentioned this yet - what about the way they show Sky Captain flying from one spot on the globe to another, very much like the Indiana Jones series but taken to the next level.

I thought this was wonderful--the perfect '30/'40s film touch.

As for the performances, I was too busy being awed by what was presented and wondering what was coming up next to notice.

Yes and no, for me. These actors carried it off well enough, but was eye candy enough? I'd have been even happier if the script had given the actors more to do, established their relationships more solidly. At the same time, I understand that really wasn't what this film was about.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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I'll take a moment from my regularly schedule political ranting and comment here.

I think the main problem with the acting in Sky Captain wasn't the acting, it was the sound. I don't have a lot of experience with movies, but I do have some experience with studio recording (the music kind) and it seemed to me that there was a big difference in volume between the dialog that was shot while the actors were actually, well, acting, and the volume of the overdubs. The dialog that was shot while the actors were acting was fighting for equal time with the sound effects and the music, while the overdubbed dialog was noticeably louder.

I found sometimes I had to concentrate to hear what Jude Law was saying.

I think if they fixed that it might help.


It had a face like Robert Tilton's -- without the horns.

- Steve Taylor, "Cash Cow"

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LoneTomato wrote:

: Oh, and I don't think anyone's mentioned this yet - what about the way they show

: Sky Captain flying from one spot on the globe to another, very much like the

: Indiana Jones series but taken to the next level.

Heh. I liked that (and Raiders, in turn, ripped that idea off of old films like Casablanca), but the 10-year-old with whom I saw the film actually laughed and said out loud, "That's CORNY!" And I think that was the only part of the film in which she SAID anything.

: As for the performances, I was too busy being awed by what was presented and

: wondering what was coming up next to notice.

I'm not sure performances could EVER be put off to the sidelines so fully, for me. Especially when one of the things I love about cartoons (which are a special effect unto themselves, in a way) is the "performances" of the main characters (I'm thinking primarily of the way the penguin sweats and the dog looks mournfully over his shoulder in The Wrong Trousers). If putting live actors in a cartoon means getting worse performances than if EVERYTHING were a cartoon, I say ditch the actors.

I also find it interesting how some people, like Jeff (and Crosswalk's Annabelle Robertson) praise Jude and Gwyneth to the skies but have no praise for Angelina beyond "she didn't ruin it", while others, like mike_h (and myself, and Catholic News Service's Harry Forbes), found Jude and Gwyneth surprisingly dull and were grateful to see Angelina kick things up a notch or two.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I think the main problem with the acting in Sky Captain wasn't the acting, it was the sound.

You know, Death Ray, you may actually be on to something here. At least in part. Last night while I was watching I kept thinking Polly Perkins especially sounded weak (hence my comments above) and I considered briefly the possibility that the mix was bad. But I concluded, "Nahh. This is a big-budget film. The sound mix is something they have maximum control over. They're not gonna work so hard on such pretty visuals and blow it on the dialogue levels.... etc" Which may, after all, be true. For I do think any dialogue problems are more related to the Blue Screen issues and an occasionally weak script than sound. But who knows? In any case, those were some pretty, pretty pictures and any quibbles I had with anything else did not significantly distract me from enjoying them.

Now get back to your political ranting, DR. I'm rootin' for ya. wink.gif

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One comment about "blue-screen acting."

I read an interview with Giovanni Ribisi about his time in that movie. He was asked if he found the blue screen acting difficult, and he said no, because it was a lot like playing pretend when he was a kid. And you know, I think he had the strongest performance in the movie.

Than again, I've always been impressed with his performances, even in lousy movies.


It had a face like Robert Tilton's -- without the horns.

- Steve Taylor, "Cash Cow"

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I also find it interesting how some people, like Jeff (and Crosswalk's Annabelle Robertson) praise Jude and Gwyneth to the skies but have no praise for Angelina beyond "she didn't ruin it", while others, like mike_h (and myself, and Catholic News Service's Harry Forbes), found Jude and Gwyneth surprisingly dull and were grateful to see Angelina kick things up a notch or two.

Not to mention this clown.

On paper, the casting of Law and Paltrow seems ideal, but either Conran was unable to elicit the needed performances or something else went wrong. Law was spot-on as another jaunty character named Joe in Spielberg

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I liked the movie, but I can understand where Alan is coming from. The actors ALWAYS seemed like they were in a small room - their gestures, movements, glances, and steps were always small, even when they were supposedly in cavernous spaces. I felt constrained the whole film. When the characters were supposed to be inside, it was less of a problem, but a lot of the time, they are in large hangars, or launching chambers, or on mountains, and even though the CGI was compelling, the actors still seemed to be inside.


In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."

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It doesn't bug me that they WERE inside - it bugs me that it FELT LIKE they were inside.


In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."

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I just gave this film a rewatch this weekend--I don't know I've seen it since its original release--and really had a blast. It's no masterpiece, but it presents such a wonderfully rendered universe. Give me a lovingly made film like SKY CAPTAIN over something like IRON MAN any day.

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