Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Action, Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi
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.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is slim on plot and characterization, but the visuals more than make up for it.
  • Paramount Company:
  • PG Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 17 Sep 2004 Released:
  • 25 Jan 2005 DVD Release:
  • $37.7M Box office:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

You Can't Always Go Back5/10
While my peers were racing to the movies to see such films as Pretty in Pink and Say Anything I couldn't wait to visit my grandparents' farm in southeastern Colorado. In my grandmother's antique cabinet in their 'playroom' were literally hundreds of tapes; movies staring the Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, and dozens of cliffhangers such as Mystery Squadron and The Adventures of Red Ryder . My love of serials is one of the few things I remember sharing with my father.

So when I was sitting in the theater and the first preview for Shy Captain and the World of Tomorrow came on I was transported back to the safety of my grandparents' home and the love I felt while watching old cliffhangers with my dad.

I was instantly in love with the movie, the beautiful quality of every frame that made the movie appear to be one beautifully illustrated comic book and, of course, the similarity to the campy sci-fi movies of the 1930's. I went home and immediately looked the movie up on the internet.

I was stunned to find out that this was the first film Kerry Conran had directed or written, and that Sky Captain was originally a six minute reel that producer Jon Avnet saw and wanted to turn into a feature length film. The movie itself was first storyboard with crude animation so that the actors would understand what was happening in their scenes since the entire film was shot in front of blue screen. Because there were no actual locations filming only took 26 days instead of an estimated 6 months.

When the movie opened on the 17th of September I was there for one the first showings. The theater was all but empty, only about twelve other people were there, all men, all in their thirties and all alone. I was truly shocked at the small turn out, what about this film had turned off so many movie goers?

The movie began and I felt like a little kid falling in love with movies for the first time all over again. The shuttle references to classic sci-fi movies of the 1920's, 30's and 40's littered the screen. References to King Kong, Forbidden Planet, and the comic book Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. were everywhere you looked. At one point Polly Perkins the feisty reporter played by Gwyneth Paltrow is talking to her editor on the phone saying, 'They're reached Sixth Ave… Fifth Ave…. they're a hundred yards away', a direct quote from Orson Welle's radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds. Even Star Wars was referenced when Joe 'Sky Captain' Sullivan played by Jude Law is instructed to land on the air carrier's pad 327, the same number the Millennium Falcon lands on in Cloud City. By far the greatest reference to past greatness is the appearance Sir Laurence Olivier, who died in 1989, as the villain Dr. Totenkopf, using CGI and archival footage Conran brings back to life one of our greatest actors.

I was in movie geek heaven, for about the first hour, and then my attention started to wonder. In a society of attention deficit the constant motion and flying from one scene to another and the quick, panicked, pace of this movie should have fit in, however I felt teased, as if I was only watching part of a movie, the part that would never have a conclusion. We receive through the dialogue what little character development the movie has to offer, which isn't much, and in the end no one grows, or changes, or even becomes deeper than a character in a commercial.

Looking back at the old serials I realize that the characters remained the same generic, two dimensional characters they were at the beginning, but the lack of development goes unnoticed in an action film less than twenty minutes long. Today the only programs we watch that are less than twenty minutes are situational comedies that parade a host of cardboard characters through redundant stories lines. A two hour long episode is too much, perhaps Kerry Conran should have stuck more closely to the serial format and released the movie in smaller segments, maybe then I would have remained entertained and in love with his homage to old cinema. We are a country that seems to forever be moving forward with little room to go back and even though we sometimes get nostalgic for a simpler film, or movie hero, it's not always possible to pull off with today's intellectual needs.
A truly unique film experience5/10

You won't find many movies with the look of 'Sky Captain', the film has a style that is all its own.

Apparently set in the 1930s yet featuring technology most of us associate with a time in the 2030s, 'Sky Captain' does a good job of blending the old generation with the new. I really did like the glossy look of the visuals.

The story is not overly deep and I would have loved to see some more backstory development for some of the main players, but for what it is,the plot is easy enough to follow along too.

Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow have great chemistry together here and I'm glad things between them stayed constant through the film. I could write more here, but I won't spoil the ending for those who haven't seen it.

Despite the fact I enjoyed "Sky Captain", I am still thankful these films are the exception rather than the rule. I still prefer films with real (or at least partially real) sets and shooting locations. I've read comments here about the quality of the acting in this film and that's a pitfall for so-called "Blue screen films". Even a great actor has a challenge when standing against a blue screen and pretending to respond meaningfully to something that's not really there. The acting here isn't down right corny, but I believe if the key players had more real surroundings to play off of, the performances would have improved. I also think Angelina Jolie's "Frankie" character deserved more screen time.

'Sky Captain' is an interesting experiment and certainly a movie that will hold your attention for 90 or so minutes (the movie is pretty short in comparison to other blockbusters).

So, if you're curious, check it out, you likely will get something enjoyable out of it.
I'm sorry I love it, I just can't help it...8/10
This movie is somewhat the opposite of "Sin City". Sin City was a movie liked by everyone and made me feel stupid for not liking it. Sky Captain is the opposite I guess, despised by everyone and made me feel immature by liking it. But the movie is just too good not to like, sorry guys.

It gives the great atmosphere of old cinema plus comic books, and it does so perfectly using flying funny looking evil robots, strange laser guns, and comic-book like dialog. And it was the first time I said to myself "wow, Angelina Jolie is actually a good actress". She's nothing like her boob-flashing movies.

And story? For me a story is good as long as it's not boring. And this is a comic-book adaptation, it was MEANT to be silly, and it didn't bother me at all since I was busy enjoying the film. If u're a stiff businessman with no shred of child imagination and if u even hated Star Wars saying "hey, this can't happen in real life", then don't watch this movie. If u're a comic-books fan, watch it and love it. It has a great atmosphere, great visual effects, and it's exciting. And it's fun to watch.
Visually stunning and clever7/10

I'll be the first to admit it. I went into 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow' with a lot of trepidation and even loathing. I didn't like the direction that cinema was taking with this film, featuring a backdrop that was mostly digital, because being a film purist, I used to relish the feel of actual celluloid in my hands, so this 'fake' creation was disturbing. I am still wary of this possible trend, but after seeing 'Sky Captain', I found that art can be realized in this medium.

'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow' not only boasts one of the longest film titles in recent months, but a great cast: Jude Law as Joe 'Sky Captain' Sullivan, our hero, Gwyneth Paltrow as Polly Perkins, our intrepid reporter and Sullivan's former flame and Angelina Jolie as Capt. Franky Cook, a friend and ally of Joe's. There is an evil element threatening the Earth, and it is up to Joe and Polly to find out who is behind the threat, before Earth is destroyed.

One line is all it really takes to sum up the story, which is generally all it took to summarize the films 'Sky Captain' pays homage to. The story is good, and it certainly boasts one of the most entertaining endings that I can remember in recent years, but it is the presentation that is the biggest draw with 'Sky Captain'. The overall style is 1930's Art Deco mixed with bits of Neo-Futurism. The robots in the first half hour of the film look like something out of comic book, the clothes and character styles are most certainly inspired by the 1930's, and the backdrops and locations are very Deco. It's obvious that one of the advantages in producing a film in this manner is that the filmmaker can be as elaborate in design as possible, because the 'set design' was very rich and exciting.

As a lover of classic film, I found the numerous nods to the films of the 30's very refreshing. Several scenes or lines could have been construed as corny, but I found them to be presented with a giant wink at the audience. Because all of these aforementioned elements were done so well, this film was a huge success in my opinion. And despite my concerns (which are still prevalent in my mind) I can sincerely rave about and recommend 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow' to just about anyone who appreciates both art and good entertainment.

--Shel
This film is incredible9/10
I read through some of the other comments on here... I can't imagine who went to this movie expecting it to be full of philosophy or deep thinking, it's just a fun thrill ride type of movie and it is one of the best of those types of films to appear in decades. I knew the film would be cool looking because I caught a few minutes of it at a drive-in, but when I watched the whole movie it really blew me away as a well-conceived well-executed whole. I liked the characters, I didn't think they were "realistic" but they were fun in the old-school movie kind of way. It reminded me somewhat of a Howard Hawks film, actually. I like the love triangle here and wish it had been developed more. The visuals are just amazing. This movie is in every way better than the new Star Wars movies.... it has the great futuristic dogfights that were so great in the first 3 SW movies but are missing in the new films, and its effects are better thought out and better done than "Attack of the Clones".

Everybody who likes science fiction or just who likes good old-fashioned movies should see this film. It is suitable for kids and for adults. Very good photography and direction, I think this one will be appreciated by film fans looking to the new fronteirs of filming also. This film gave me some hope, at long last, that Hollywood will not become a wasteland of effects without good story, so I am indeed surprised that many posters here consider it to be just that. To me, this film is a gem.