‘Sky Captain’ Crashes Into Theaters, Burns

El Vaquero Staff Writer

“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” soars into theaters only to crash with a poor story.

The film starts off following journalist Polly Perkins, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, investigating a group of German scientists who have gone missing.

In the middle of her investigation, giant robots attack New York City for no apparent reason, and only through the adventurous Joe Stuphin (Jude Law), a mercenary fighter pilot who goes by the alias of Sky Captain, can the mystery of the missing scientists be solved and the world be saved from the menacing robots.

With Law and Paltrow’s only clue being the uncertain whereabouts of a diabolical scientist, Dr. Totenkopf, notorious for his biological experiments, it is only a matter of time before the antagonists get the upper hand.

Of course the task of setting the world at ease cannot be accomplished without the Sky Captain’s friends, Franky Cook (Angelina Jolie), a British fleet commander, and innovative genius Dirk (Giovanni Ribisi).

First-time director Kerry Konran has created a visually stunning film.

The graphics make the audience feel as if they are watching a classic film from half a century ago by making the picture hazy with different tints of color.

The sci-fi theme of curved, bolted metal seen on the villainous robots with metallic tentacles sent the viewer back to the simple yet imaginative comic book era of the 1940s.

This movie is charmingly retro; unfortunately even the greatest concept for a movie can be thrown to waste if the storyline is no good. That is exactly what happens with this movie.

“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” is what anyone expected it to be at first: a wonderful world of imagery with a simple story of a solo hero facing off the bad guys. As the story unravels, in the first 20 minutes it becomes clear that the storyline is headed downhill.

The film has too many set changes that lead to incoherent situations and surprises that do nothing for the story.

In one instance, giant robots are no longer the emphasis as the story begins to focus on prehistoric creatures in an island in the middle of nowhere.

But the prehistoric creatures even play a small role as they are only put in the movie for show and then quickly forgotten.
“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” zooms through scenarios as if to show as much of the movie’s comic book theme before the film ends.

It seems as if the film is trying to show off a new movie concept rather than tell a story. The film starts in New York with Law fighting menacing, giant robots then turns into a search for Shangri-La, and then to a search for a tropical island.

The title of the movie alone is enough to delude the audience. For some reason there were more underwater scenes than there were air battles.

Keep in mind the hero of this story, Law, is known for his aviation talents.

Disappointingly, there are two over-all climactic air scenes, both brief, in which only one of them gave the audience a raw combat experience.

With more of the movie’s climactic scenes taking place underwater than in the air, it would have been more appropriate to have changed the alias to Law’s character to one that would describe an underwater explorer.

The film is even less enjoyable with Paltrow’s character. Don’t get me wrong, the wardrobes and makeup artists for “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” did a great job in making Paltrow look like a risk-taking journalist from the 1940s, but the character’s persona doesn’t compliment the part.

The element that caught my attention the most was the one- dimensional character of Perkins. Her lack of emotion and facial expression throughout the movie made her seem as if she were forced to read a script in front of a recording camera rather than actually act.
Throughout the movie Paltrow and Law go through a love/hate relationship. In one scene Paltrow and Law will be arguing and yelling at each other and in the next scene they will be looking to each other for comfort.

Paltrow’s character only nags like an agitated mother. Perkins responds to Law’s charming dialogue with blunt remarks in the same lifeless manner even during their most intimate moments of the film.

The film brings an imaginative theme to viewers. Though the story is poorly done its concept is very unique.

The use of giant robots from the 1940s combined with the picture quality makes “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” a film to admire for its graphic affects and retro theme.

Ultimately there is no balance between this film’s thematic features and the storyline.

The end result is an interesting concept combined with a poor storyline. “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” is rated PG and is out in theaters.

Rating: ** (out of four)