Thursday, March 11, 2010

Alien Boy Meets Native Girl

It has huge, sweeping, beautiful CGI created landscapes and action sequences. It has a scrappy hero plucked from the natives to defend his adopted home against the tyranny of a high-tech enemy that's only out for more power. It has an attractive heroine willing to risk her life to help her people survive this new and frightening menace as love blooms between her and our hero. Yes! I'm referring to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow! What did you think I was talking about?

SCATWOT opens with a woman reporter who (for a 1940's-esque movie) doesn't talk nearly fast enough. I was hoping for more of the "fast talking career-girl" from the Hudsucker Proxy which was a great Tim Robbins movie from before he became all preachy and moved in with his Mom. Who I believe was "Janet" from the Rocky Horror Picture Show which is a plucky little flick that's only been in the theaters continuously for thirty-five years now. That Richard O'Brian was apparently on to something there. By the way, he (Richard O'Brian a.k.a. Riff Raff) has a pretty good gig now as the Dad in the cartoon Phineas and Ferb on the Disney Channel. Yes really.

Back to the movie at hand. Gwyneth Paltrow is "Polly Perkins", the reporter (who really should talk faster) who is in New York when it gets invaded by giant robots. Now I have to stop here because the robots reminded me of something. Upon further review, I recognised them from a Superman cartoon from the 1940's, the episode was called The Mechanical Monsters. The reason for the robots was almost alike but the robots (at least some of them) were exact copies. It didn't bother me because I believe that instead of ripping off the Superman cartoon, they were giving a nod to it's pre-war (WWII) ingenuity and was simply holding true to the science fiction themes of the time. Enter "Sky Captain" (Jude Law) in what looks like a P-40 Warhawk, but please correct me if I've misidentified the plane. But this is no ordinary P-40! It's all tricked out like a James Bond car, thanks to Sky Captain's buddy "Dex" Played by Giovanni Ribisi. I didn't know who he was either, but apparently he's the stereotype "evil corporate guy" in a recent movie about blue aliens.

Sky Captain and Polly get together after some plot development on their history with each other that introduces a side story that is interesting but as tired as a '80s sitcom. Will they get together or won't they? Do they love each other or hate each other? Blah, blah, blah. You get the idea. Their adventure to discover the mystery of the invading robots leads them to enough trouble to require the assistance of "Capt. Frankie Cook", and her squadron of flying aces on her airborne aircraft carrier. Frankie is played by Angelina Jolie and her lips. Actually I can't remember if they met Frankie before or after they found their way to Shangri La. Which, by the way looks a lot like Rivendell from the Lord of the Rings movie series. I mean A LOT! it's like they used the same software to make the two settings.

Personally I think this movie might have had some of it's trouble reaching an audience because the hero is a nimble little British guy instead of a swashbuckling American, or a Brit. The problem is that he's too much "Wesley" from the Princess Bride and not enough "Ash" from Army of Darkness. Who, by the way was played by Bruce Campbell which had a bit part in The Hudsucker Proxy. See how this works?

The goal for Sky Captain and Polly is to find out the deal with the giant robots and why the world's scientists are either disappearing or being killed off. Lots of action and great '40s film noir look. I really like that kind of stuff. Sadly I was also one of the few that really liked this movie. Clearly it didn't do to well in the theaters, which is a bummer. Oh well.

This one gets a well deserved "A" rating from me.

Good for Netflix, or a store rental. I'd probably buy it if I saw it in Half Price Books.

trailer for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Superman and The Mechanical Monsters

trailer for The Hudsucker Proxy

trailer for Rocky Horror Picture Show

Phineas and Ferb (0:19)

trailer for The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring

trailer for The Princess Bride

trailer for Army of Darkness