SKY CAPTAIN

sky captainI caught an advance screening of SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW last night and enjoyed it immensely.
As a fan of cliffhanger serials & classic movies, It was fun to see someone try to recapture the magic of movies like King Kong, Lost Horizon, The Wizard Of Oz, pulps like Doc Savage and G-8, as well as chapterplays like Captain Midnight, Spy Smasher, The Lost Jungle, etc. And I think writer/director Kerry Conran succeeds. I was worried that his approach – to emulate that style of filmmaking, not be inspired by it (as Lucas & Spielberg were) – might not work with a general audience. For example, I’m a fan of Guy Maddin’s films – they are shot in the the style of late 20s/early 30s early talkies – which seem limited to cult audiences and midnight shows. I think there is enough action and visual wonder in SKY CAPTAIN for a modern audience to enjoy.Despite a lot of explosions and destruction, one element of classic serials was sorely missing – the fist fight. Yes, there are one or two punches here and there, and an abbreviated battle against a mysterious woman in the climax, but not enough Dave Sharpe, if you ask me. In fact, I noticed a reliance on close ups and spectacular establishing master-shots. The story itself was on the level of a B-film (but that’s the point, right?). The bottom line: I loved it – but I don’t expect many converts from the Spider-Man/Indiana Jones crowd.A major dose of the plot is suggested by the Max Fleischer Superman cartoon Mechanical Monsters – and, except for the live actors, the film was entirely computer generated. It is quite an achievement – and a lock for some art direction and special effects Oscars. It opens September 17th – I plan to see it again that day.