05 September 2013

Movie Review: "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow"

Rated: PG for sequences of stylized sci-fi violence and brief mild language (US) / PG: "Frightening Scenes, Violence" (Canada)
Starring: Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie
Released: September 17, 2004 (theaters) / January 25, 2005 (DVD)
Synopsis: Roving reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow, Iron Man) gets contacted by a scientist (Julian Curry) who says he has valuable information.  Upon meeting him, she hears of a group of scientists called Unit Eleven, who were working with a mysterious figure known as Totenkopf (Sir Laurence Olivier).  Just after the meeting, mega-sized robots attack cities worldwide, and only the infamous Sky Captain (Jude Law) is able to stop them.  However, what is Totenkopf trying to do? Why is he attempting to kill off all the scientists who know of his project? Will Polly and the Sky Captain be able to stop him? A rollicking adventure in the style of an old-school Saturday serial, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a sight to behold!

Warning! The review below may contain spoilers!

Artistic Merit

Plot: 4/5
It's a little slow-going at the start, but the plot of this movie actually works well.  It definitely kept me interested enough to see it through, even though this was my third attempt at watching it.  The last part is particularly intense.

Special Effects: 4.5/5
The whole feel of this movie is different than usual Hollywood fare; its whole point is to evoke a setting of days gone by, and it does that well.  Though almost all of the special effects are done amazingly well, some of computer animation would look better in a Pixar film than alongside real actors.  Still, this is definitely one of those movies that is made for the big screen.

Acting: 5/5
I generally don't watch movies with modern-day screen legends such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, or Angelina Jolie, only because the content keeps me away.  To actually see these people onscreen is a big treat, and their acting ability shines, even alongside tons of special effects.  Ms. Paltrow gets special kudos, as she did some hilariously amazing facial expressions.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 4/5
Themes of self-sacrifice for the greater good abound.  Playing God is vilified.  All of the heroes constantly look out for each other.

Sexual Content: 4/5
It is mentioned that the Sky Captain was "running around" on Polly.  The two appear in bed together with another guy, but it is revealed that they were rescued, and didn't do anything inappropriate.

Nudity: 4.5/5
The bed scene mentioned above shows Polly's bare shoulders and part of the two guys' bare chests.  Polly does pull up her blanket to see if she is clothed, and she mentions that she is not, though nothing explicit is shown.

Violence: 3.5/5
Though not bloody or gory at all, the violence and intensity might be a bit much for little kids.  Weapons are fired; robots are killed; people punch and kick each other.  Probably the most serious bit of violence is when a guy gets electrocuted and reduced to a skeleton.

Language: 3.75/5
The d-word and the h-word are heard about two or three times each, and God's name is misused about as many times.  "Shut up" is heard.  Private anatomy gets mentioned once, albeit in a subtitle.

Drugs: 5/5

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 2/5
The whole movie has a dark tone.  Also, a dead body is seen, and we are shown a guy who was turned into a monster because of failed experiments.

Other: 4/5
Polly admits to lying at times.

Conclusion: Every so often, one of the major studios will release a movie that is aimed at adults, but doesn't contain the kind of explicit content that is usually seen in such films.  The Lake House, which starred Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, is such a flick; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is another.  Unfortunately, given the poor performance this movie had in theaters, it's not likely that we will see a flick of this nature for quite a while.  It's a shame; if "mature" viewers hadn't let the "PG" rating keep them away, they might have found an enjoyable, original flick.

Score: 3.75/5

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