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Movie: Sky Captain

09-22-04.skycaptain.jpg(SPOILER NOTE: I don't discuss any plot specifics, though any critique of a movie will tend to affect the way you view a movie, so if you wish to see the movie with virgin eyes, read no more). There's something I find amusing about Sky Captain in that they spent $70 million to on CGI to make a movie that looks a lot like Citizen Kane. That's not entirely true of course -- Citizen Kane didn't have gigantic robots for one -- but in many ways, from the characters, to the lighting, to the framing, I felt like I was watching an Orson Welles movie. There's also a bit of comic book style to the flick, and some Indiana Jones.

It was fun seeing a movie based in 1930s/40s mechanical sci-fi fantasy. With modern sci-fi busy exploring the takeover of mankind by computers, a nostalgic look at where we thought science and technology were taking us is refreshing. The dashing aviator and heroine reporter were also fun to see back on the big screen.

With all that said, I don't know if I would recommend Sky Captain or not. As adventure plots go, I thought it was poor. There are times where suspension of disbelief was not enough for me to cover-up contrived plot elements -- there was a certain element of, "Oh, we're under attack? Lets wait until they start blowing stuff up before we react," sort of logic to the whole movie that was off-putting. The movie also failed to build up dramatic tension for me -- the save-the-world story flow was so formulaic that it took itself for granted and didn't seem to bother trying to invest the viewer in itself. The characters act so non-chalantly in the face of danger that the viewer has trouble feeling any suspense on their part.

On the other hand, the visuals/style were beautiful. The CGI style reminded me of something Dave McKean said with regard to Mirrormask. He said that many people view realism as the goal for CGI, which seems silly, because with CGI you have entire realm of possibility outside of realistic (illustrative/dream-like). Sky Captain exemplifies some of these possibilities in ways that may echo through future movie productions.

Verdict: I dunno. See it as a matinee and split the difference :). You'll probably have fun, but you'll probably have more fun watching the new Star Wars Trilogy DVDs.

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on September 22, 2004 9:26 AM.

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