Movie Review
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Sky Captain poster
By Greg Ward     Published September 19, 2004
US Release: September 17, 2004

Directed by: Kerry Conran
Starring: Jude Law , Gwyneth Paltrow , Giovanni Ribisi , Ling Bai

Running Time: 107 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $37,760,000
Despite the fact that {Conran's} debut film is not great, it is still an enjoyable film, and I think we can expect good things from {him} in the future.
?Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow? is the kind of film for people who love old-fashioned science fiction films such as ?Forbidden Planet? and ?The Day the Earth Stood Still.? With stylish visuals, first-time director Kerry Conran creates a comic-book world that is hard to forget. The movie is a pure feast for the eyes, even if the story is weak at times.

Gwyneth Paltrow plays Polly Perkins, a persistent reporter who does whatever it takes to get the best story. She begins to make connections between the disappearances of famous scientists and a recent attack on New York City by giant robots. She then teams up with Joseph ?Sky Captain? Sullivan (Jude Law), an experienced fighter pilot who she once had a relationship with. Together, they must stop the evil Dr. Totenkopf and his plans for world domination.

The performances are not exactly the best on each actor?s resume. Jude Law usually adds a certain charm to each role he plays, but not here. Sky Captain is not that interesting of a character, as there is no real development throughout the course of the film except to say that he is an expert pilot fighter and may or may not have slept around on Polly while they were together. There is nothing that Jude Law does to make this character any more interesting than what meets the eye (at times, Law even seems bored).

And what about poor Angelina Jolie? Her name was used as a marketing ploy for the film, and she?s in it for all of five minutes. Furthermore, each time we see her, she has the same exact expression on her face; this character is lifeless, and Jolie does nothing to make us care about her whatsoever.

I am probably in the minority on this, but I did not think Gwyneth Paltrow was that bad. This is no Academy Award-winning performance, but she fits her character very nicely. The lighting around her face is also always very bright, with a certain innocence in her facial features that really brings out her character?s emotions. Most actresses could have played this part a lot better, but Paltrow does a decent enough job.

What this film really has going for it is its unique look. The entire movie was filmed in front of a blue screen, which is quite an impressive feat. This has never been done before, and perhaps the technological geniuses behind this film may inspire filmmakers to make similar movies, perhaps to take it to the next step (I never got tired of the way this film was presented).

?Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow? is a pure popcorn film. The action sequences are mesmerizing, adding to the aforementioned visuals that are flashy and reminiscent of classic science fiction films. The drawback is that the story is not as strongly developed as it could be, as there were times when I found myself becoming impatient with what was going on, wanting more.

Every film has flaws, and ?Sky Captain? has its share. For Conran, it must have been a real challenge to make a whole film in front of a blue screen and then piece your actors in, and this is one thing that Conran has no trouble with. Despite the fact that his debut film is not great, it is still an enjoyable film, and I think we can expect good things from Conran in the future.
Greg's Grade: B-
Greg's Overall Grading: 25 graded movies
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'Sky Captain' Articles
  • Craig's review C-
    September 18, 2004    The plotting never develops past the point of trying to find this mysterious Totenkopf and so it just feels bland and overly familiar. -- Craig Younkin
  • Gareth's review C
    September 18, 2004    The performances by Paltrow and Law are remarkably understated and the talented cast often comes across as bland. -- Gareth Von Kallenbach
  • Crowd Report: "Sky Captain"
    September 18, 2004    The attendance was right around Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Hellboy on their opening nights: a $8.5 - 9.5 million Friday gross would not surprise me. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Friday Box Office Analysis (9/17)
    September 18, 2004    {Sky Captain} opened in line with Thomas Jane?s comic book flick, The Punisher, which grossed $5.2 million on opening day for a $1,955 average in 2,649 theaters. -- Lee Tistaert