We here at Lytherus are always trying to come up with new and better ways of bringing you interesting news and reviews. Recently we decided to divide up the reviews we do into different categories. There will be definitions of these coming in the future, but for today I wanted to introduce you to the Throwback Review.
There is a lot of amazing older stuff out there. We want to cover these things though, to introduce them to a new audience who may not have heard of them, nor had the chance to experience them. So today we’re going to bring you two throwback reviews, one a book and one a movie.
We’re bringing you two reviews on this movie, one from someone who saw it when it premiered, and another from someone who just watched it for the first time.
How had I never seen Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow? You would think sometime since 2004 when it was released I would have come across it and sat down to watch. But no, I had to be convinced by my roommate to watch it, and although it wasn’t reluctantly, I don’t know if it would have been my first choice. What a mistake. This striking and adventurous movie had me gasping out loud and screaming at the television throughout the entire thing. And that’s good; I was engaged and outraged and awed, and was so glad I finally committed to seeing it.
This movie starts out with news reporter Polly Perkins (played beautifully by the lovely Gwyneth Paltrow) getting a tip about a recent disappearance of scientists she’d been reporting on. She follows up on the tip, and when calling in what she found out, in the middle of downtown Manhattan, the sky suddenly fills with a flock of enormous, stories-high robots that land and start stealing giant generators from parts of the city. Sky Captain to the rescue (played by the delish Jude Law)!
Not long after this there is an attack by gigantic metal ships that look like bats, complete with flapping wings. Sky Captain’s base gets trashed, and his friend Dex gets kidnapped by crazy tentacle-armed robots and taken away. Of course they follow after him, using clues Dex discovered that has to do with the scientists, why they are being kidnapped, and how all of this madness is connected.
I’m chuckling as I write this, because it sounds insane. From the outside this story sounds completely schizophrenic. But it wasn’t. Somehow, it worked. The viewer is thrust into the middle of a story, and that was a bit jarring at first, as if something had been missed, but as the story continued there was enough back-story that it balanced out.
But the main focus of the movie was the filming. The actors filmed the entire movie in front of blue screens, a first for Hollywood. And using CGI, they created a misty, vintage world from the early 1940’s complete with the look and feel of an old Hollywood film. It was wonderfully done, and the entire time I was on this trippy ride combining future and past, modern technology and era look and feel. This ties back to the fact that this movie is often referenced as having a Steampunk feel. It is a little late in the timeline to officially be Steampunk I’d say, but the crazy modern robots attacking old New York was completely unnerving and worked really well to give the movie the surreal feel it was going for.
With it having been released so many years ago, I couldn’t really remember anything about it except the blue screen tidbit, and I loved as my memories came crashing back to me. Wasn’t Angelina in this, wearing an eye-patch or something? Of course she was, and as a bad-ass leader of a fleet of airborne flying aircraft carriers, she added a wonderful secondary character to the story that directly affected the main plot.
I really enjoyed this movie. I don’t watch a lot of movies, they aren’t really my thing, but this one was totally worth the time. I know if I come across it in the future, I’ll eagerly watch it again.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow came out about seven years ago. This artistic movie has a steampunk feel to it before steampunk became a household word. I remember seeing it years ago and thinking, wow, this is downright beautiful (and I meant the movie’s presentation and videography, though the actors aren’t bad either: Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie).
I like this movie because it isn’t typical hollywood. Sure, it has typical themes: headstrong reporter and handsome adventurer save the world. But the story is presented in a way that breaks the mold. To me it feels like a mixture of Dick Tracy, old-school Superman, and 1940s Warner Bothers cartoons. I love how they capture the time period’s antiquity through the clothing, machines, and throw-back colloquialisms.
I don’t normally like to rely on big-name reviewers for their advice on movies. But I stumbled upon Roger Ebert saying this about Sky Captain, and I couldn’t agree with him more, “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is even more fun than it sounds like. In its heedless energy and joy, it reminded me of how I felt the first time I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. Its like a film that escaped from the imagination directly onto the screen, without having to pass through reality along the way.” That’s exactly what it’s like. This movie comes across like the most vivid, crazy dream you’ve ever had the pleasure of remembering.
Along with the vivid beauty, this movie brings with it a level of charm in the innocence of the time period. Any bombs dropped in this war movie will not have a hyphenated “F” in front of them. No sex. Violence is kept reasonable and the thrill of the quest is what brings the audience to the edge of their seats. Sometimes this is a nice change of pace from the edgy movies that mimic modern culture.
Adding to the personality of the movie, the actors nail their roles. Even though the roles themselves are stereotypical, they are portrayed with charisma and humor. These characters are enthralled by the technology of the day and rely upon the machines of war to ensure victory. Even the machines themselves seem to have their parts to play. Sky Captain’s bomber plane is painted fittingly with the face and sharp teeth of a shark. The evil robots look like something from an old science-fiction book cover. They are lanky and creepy and full of a subservient mechanical aptitude for violence.
For those of you with Netflix, you can find Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow in the Watch Instantly section. For the rest of you, find the nearest video store (which are becoming harder and harder to come by) because this is an older movie that is worth a re-visit.