I wasn't feeling like any of my Netflix rentals the other evening, so I looked through the five HD-DVDs I got for free from Toshiba after registering the HD player. I also didn't feel like anything challenging, so I went for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - a frothy sci-fi movie with the cachet that the actors were filmed almost entirely in front of blue screens and everything added later using some serious number crunching. Featuring a boffo cast with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Giovanni Ribisi, first time director Kerry Conran scores a visual home run, even if the plot and movie itself is only a solid double.
Begin the movie mix by adding a touch of mystery (disappearing scientists), spice it with a feisty relationship (Paltrow as Polly Perkins(sic) and Law as Sky Captain), stir mightily with giant robots (reminsicent of The Day The Earth Stood Still's Gort) destroying New York City (yay!), and the two heroes heading off to save the world and you pretty much have the entire movie. There are thrills, chills, zippy plane rides, and pretty cool quasi-steampunk atmosphere, along with plenty of corny dialog and goofy sets.
In the end, it didn't really make a whole bunch of sense, but it was fun getting there. I mean, why exactly did Sky Captain and Polly Perkins need to go into the villains lair all by themselves? The ending was fun and the ride pretty exciting, so I can't denigrate it too much. Just don't go into it looking for a sci-fi classic, that's all.
But the picture was superb, as you might well expect given the technology involved. The integration was seamless and the colors vibrant and sharp. I loved the robots. The sound too was great. I got through about half of the producer's commentary and, while it definitely sounded like a producer, it was still revealing in just how much computer horsepower they needed to harness. Nice addition to my HD-DVD library.