SKY CAPTAIN

and the WORLD OF TOMORROW
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Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
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SKY CAPTAIN and the WORLD of TOMORROW
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SKY CAPTAIN and the WORLD OF TOMORROW: NEWS - 2004

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UPDATE: JULY 16, 2015

How Kerry Conran saw Hollywood's future - then got left behind
Over a decade ago, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow laid the foundations for today's effects-driven blockbusters. Why haven't its creators made a film since?

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Continued at Telegraph.

 

FEB. 24, 2004

NEWS:
SKYCAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW: Learning from Retro History

Sneaking up with minimal advance word is a retro future alternate history movie with an outstanding website (skycaptain.com); lush though vaguely familiar heroic music, and some good looking monster robots. It could be really cool, or it could crash and burn like Disney's 1991 megaflop, THE ROCKETEER.

The Rocketeer

Artist and writer Dave Steven's THE ROCKETEER had all the goods: a sporadically published yet wildly popular comic book that re-launched interest 50's pinup queen, Betty Page. But when it came time to make it into a movie, the lunkheads at Disney chose the insipid tag team of writers Danny Bilson and Paul Mateo (TRANCERS, ZONE TROOPERS, ELIMINATORS, ugh, etc.), giving director Joe Johnston, nothing worthwhile to work with.

The screenplay first stripped out everything fun and amazing about the comic book, then gutted the charm as well, leaving nothing but a Hollywood Trivia pursuit as numerous scenes became a wasted game of "Guess what famous dead actor this character is supposed to be?"*

It's not fair to push a past failure from one movie company onto the unknown efforts of another film studio. Especially when SKY CAPTAIN has such a cool cast: Gwyneth Paltrow (SE7EN, THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY), Angelina Jolie (THE BONE COLLECTOR, TOMB RAIDER), Jude Law (eXistenZ, THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY), Lin Bai (THE CROW, THE BREED), and Giovanni Ribisi (THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, THE GIFT). Plus first time writer/Director Kerry Conran has a pretty interesting bio at imdb.com.

Sky Captain image
EVERYTHING IS A BLUR AND IT LOOKS LIKE, IF IT WERE CLEAR, EVERYTHING WOULD LOOK COMIC BOOK FAKE.
But judging from the trailer on the website, the film also has the grave error of having every single frame in soft "Vaseline" focus (warning: No Vaseline may have been used in the making of this film). Everything is too soft, but that doesn't cover up the cartoon-y look of some CGI effects looking too CGI: and this is just the impression I got from watching the preview on a Quick Time screen about the size of a business card. You gotta wonder what it will look like on the big screen.

I say all of this because I'm exactly the kind of person such a movie would be directed towards. Monster robots! Alternate History! Retro Future stuff! Thriller! This movie has the potential to kick ass in the kind of fun way that the original Stars Wars did way back in the 1970s. That movie had such momentum behind it that its still moving forward nearly 30 years later even after two dismal prequels.

Director Kerry Conran is going for Fleischer animation appeal set in a gothic Fritz Lang world of Manhattan cityscape: complete with chiaroscuro light and shadows. Yet the "blur" that runs throughout, and the muted colors present even in the blue sky daylight scenes, is enough to give me pause about this film.

I hope I'm wrong.


BECAUSE THIS COULD BE A REALLY COOL MOVIE

The problems I'm seeing - fake looking robots stomping through fake looking cities - just might kill this. Godzilla movies could get away with their "model" looking cities only because they were made so long ago. A select (read small) number of people are willing to pay the overpriced theater ticket to see a toy city stomped to bits on the big screen. Yet even today, you could make 10 Godzilla movies for what a single Hollywood big budget film commands. Godzilla movies never had actors who expected $10 million a picture, let alone 3 of them. And for all of their fans and lip service, most Godzilla movies have gone direct to video in the U.S.

Now Paramount may be showing the CGI "rushes", so the unrealistic nature of the buildings and other effects might be cleaned up (use longer render times) in the digital houses. But if that's not the case, I hope that in saying this, someone will notice and take a second thought or two. Because for all of it's potential, visually this movie is looking like FINAL FANTASY with live action actors.


THE CONRAN'S ORIGINAL SHORT

* To be fair, the critics loved THE ROCKETEER. Gene Shalit, Siskel & Ebert, and Peter Travers all gave it rave reviews. Critics loved it, fans of the comic book and movie audiences hated it - or just weren't impressed enough to bother with it. What little Rocketeer fan sites there are today pay homage to the creator and the comic, not the movie.

JULY 16, 2015

How Kerry Conran saw Hollywood's future - then got left behind
Over a decade ago, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow laid the foundations for today's effects-driven blockbusters. Why haven't its creators made a film since?

Continued at Telegraph.

September 13, 2004

Interview: Kerry Conran, Jon Avnet for "Sky Captain"
Some films take years to develop, but rarely do they get as personal as "Sky Captain" for Kerry Conran. The shy genius behind the concept was given a deal any filmmaker would envy - many millions and his own major computer effects facility to work on the project. Now, after many years of blood, sweat and tears the dream has finally come true.

Continued at Dark Horizons.

End Skull
END

Copyright 2004 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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