Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) Review

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Put your drink trays in the upright position

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004): 8 out of 10: It was King Kong that made me fall in love with the movie. He doesn’t appear himself (unlike his ring mate Godzilla who cameos in silhouette in a Japanese newspaper.) but his ship and friends are there and his tree is there. You know the moss covered tree that covers the impossibly deep chasm. To one he uses to fling helpless sailors to their death like some kind of lumberjack games blood sport. There the tree is in glorious color, just as I left it in the imagination of my seven-year-old self.

I was enjoying myself up to that point. Mind you I, had for one thing decided that Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was an anime rather than a regular film. (The giant robots make this illusion much more palatable as did an annoying performance by Miss Paltrow. In anime the female characters are almost always whining up a storm.) This allowed all the plot holes, creative use of color, and scientific flubs to fall by the wayside. I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.

Of note, much has been made of the use of CGI, but let’s face it. It is simply easier to put CGI effects on an artificial background rather than place them in photo-realistic settings like the snakes of Anaconda: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid or the wolves in Day after Tomorrow have proved most recently.

Sure Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is far from perfect (an actual villain would have helped and been more in line with the serials it was emulating), but try telling that to the seven-year-old in me that kept saying “cool what’s next”.

Is that a giant foot behind them? Why yes it is.
What am I looking at? Did the Kerry Conran’s pet soft-shelled turtle wandered onto the set?
Laurence Olivier’s post mortem performance foreshadows a lot of bad Star Wars CGI. (cough Rogue One Cough)
I wonder if Yoda is going to show up.
Spider Bots. Why does it always have to be spider bots?
I would love to see a museum with nothing but fake exhibits.

Well, I have now been educated. In Germany, there is the Museum of Art Fakes. (Not to be confused with the surprisingly large amount of art fakes that still hang in other museums.) And of course, at least here in the states we have museums featuring Jesus riding dinosaurs, so I guess be careful what you wish for. Apparently, we are flush with museums filled with fake exhibits.
Bai Ling knows how to make an entrance and really needed her own movie.
Angelina Jolie as the new Darth Vader in the inevitable Star Wars reboot.
Flying air craft carriers have been a mainstay of futuristic Sci-Fi from the British serial Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons to Marvel’s Helicarrier featured in The Avengers movie and memorably crashing into the Potomac in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Fun Fact: the first successful real flying aircraft carrier is from 1917 when the HM Airship No. 23 carried a couple of Sopwith Camel fighters, which it successfully launched. But fighter jets got a lot heavier and rigid airships filled with hydrogen fell out of favor for some unknown reason. So the fascination for a flying aircraft carrier is more based on fact than one would initially suppose.
Despite being heavily featured in the marketing, Angelina Jolie isn’t in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow for all that long.
Apparently, Jude Law promised the one true ring to someone else.
Shangri-La from Lost Horizon has made an appearance, I see.
We have all had mornings like this if we are to be honest with ourselves.
We have all had mornings like this if we are to be honest with ourselves.
You know for all the flack I give Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance, as my screenshots show she is ridiculously photogenic in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow really missed an opportunity to do a three wise monkeys see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
The framing and detail in this screenshot are an excellent example of what Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow does so well throughout the film.
No, it doesn’t make more sense in context. Our comic relief ladies and gentleman.
I love me some in universe journals.
I get kind of a War of the Worlds vibe from these fellas.
I know Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is from 2004. For the time, the CGI was excellent. Still, this looks like a cutscene from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
No. 5 is alive.
There is a 2019 documentary called The Booksellers I have been meaning to catch. I wonder if they cover the giant robot attack.
London? Really? Are you sure?
The newspapers in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow are excellent. The stories are actually written. No silly boilerplate. Nice attention to detail.
Robots designed by Hugo Boss. Hey you in front… aufmerksamkeit.
You want to get me to love a movie? Scenes like this one will get me to love a movie. (See also the traveling map from Raiders of the Lost Ark.)
It is a common criticism not to show a better movie during your movie. It is a well-worn trope in horror and particularly monster movies to show a character watching Halloween, Beginning of the End, or Night of the Living Dead on television. (Night of the living Dead is popular because it is public domain.)

But some movies get away with it. An American Werewolf in London had The Muppet Show playing in the background in an effective scene that lulled the viewer to a sense of safety. (Nothing bad can happen when The Muppets are on.) The Matrix had Night of the Lepus on when Neo visited the Oracle. The key seems to be to pick a movie in a different genre than the one you are.

The Wizard of Oz is not so on the nose to be eye-rolling and nicely sets the year at 1939. So Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow gets a pass and has an excuse to have Over the Rainbow on the soundtrack.
This scene is right out of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and I couldn’t be happier.
I worked at the Rockefeller Center. I miss the art déco touches everywhere.
Oh, I love a movie that gives me a book recommendation. And it involves the laws of attraction. Bet it is a steamy romance. Hope it has vampires.
I wish more media would get creative like this. I remember when Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction used giant words in the environment to direct the player., Instead of taking me out of the game, I found it both fascinating and immersive.
I am getting some serious Dr. Pretorius Bride of Frankenstein vibes here.
Any movie with a scene like this one is okay in my book. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a beautiful film.
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