Kerry Conran, USA (2004)
Complete and utter eye candy. Did it look cool? Yeah, of course it did, but only for about the first hour. After that, the slim storyline and extremely weak dialog wasn’t enough to sustain the film. I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t really enjoy it, and later I lamented a lost opportunity at what could have been a really amazing film experience. Creator Kerry Conran, who wrote and directed Sky Captain (“I’ve got some sweeeet computers in my basement, let’s make a film!”) suffers from James Cameron-itis on this one: very cool visuals, but he should have left the script writing to…a script writer.
Gweneth Paltrow’s character Polly Perkins, the proto-typical hard-nosed girl reporter, was flat and snarky where she should have had snap. She lost my sympathy right from the start when she did some downright dumb things involving a stampede of giant robots that I thought flew directly in the face of how sharp her character was supposed to be. But, of course it served the plot.
There was zero chemistry between her and Jude Law as Jack “Sky Captain” Sullivan. Most of their clever banter, so important to a 1930s-era film of this type, consisted of her backseat driving from the rear of the plane. And where some are saying Conran has tipped his hat to other films, I say homage my butt. He just took the easy way out and ripped off a bunch of other films. Something you don’t necessarily want to do when those films did it so much better. Those elements that did strike with some impact (like the amphibious planes) he obviously thought were so cool he used them repeatedly, as opposed to coming up with another new idea.
To put it another way, I pretty much loath Angelina Jolie in just about everything she’s done, but in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow I thought she stole the show.And she’s only on screen for about five minutes. (** 1/2)