|Directed by:||Kerry Conran|
|Written by:||Kerry Conran|
|Cast:||Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Giovanni Ribisi, Bai Ling, Omid Djalili, Angelina Jolie|
I distinctly remember the first time I tried to watch this movie. Keyword "tried". I connotation of that probably implies that I found the movie incredible boring and turned it off. However, that wasn't the case. 5 years ago I tried watching the film and didn't finish because I had fallen asleep; I made the mistake of putting the movie on late at night after having a long day of work. Years later, I saw the movie sitting in a bargain bin at a store that shall not be named, and popped it into my DVD player. I am glad I finally took the time.
At the heart of the film is an action-adventure story, following the legendary Sky Captain, H. Joseph Sullivan (Jude Law), a mercenary for hire who comes to the aid of New York City after an attack by an army of metallic giants from unknown origin. News correspondant Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), who comes along after contact with a group of shady scientists on the run from an unseen assassin, hunting them down. Finally, you have Francesca "Frankie" Cooke (Angelina Jolie), commander of a mobile airstrip currently on reconnaisance for the Royal Air Force, who locates a mysterious island where the villian may have set up basecamp.
Robots from unknown origins, shady scientists, secret organizations and hidden islands - take all these things and throw them against the backdrop of the 1930's and a noir tale, and you have the foundations for something truly unique. Though the film may falter under the weight of its own grand scale and visual flourishes, it provides the viewer with a simple narrative that at its core is a battle between good and evil (or maybe good and not so good, depending on your hippy inclinations). The simple premise, which may be a tale we've all seen and heard a thousand times, is populated with futuristic backdrops and plot devices that has you succumbing to its charms in no time.
Though the story and the dialogue (and given the situation, it may be surprising that the dialogue isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination) may not impress, the visuals certainly deliver. There is no doubt that most of the filming took place in front of a green screen, however, these artificial landscapes and surroundings are rendered beautifully, with a polished and almost air-brushed feeling to them, it works incredibly well, often times better than filming on actual locations.
The pace of the film is quite brisk while the film clocks in at just over 105 minutes. The film has stops along the way in a variety of locations - bustling New York streets, cold and sterile mountain tops, lush and dense tropic forests, and serene high altitudes. The story never dwells at any one locale, and that works in favour to keep the narrative fresh and on a more epic scale.
Dialogue between Sullivan and Perkins is light and playful, initially giving way to the impression that there is history between the two characters (spurned lovers that aren't quite exactly over one another). Then Cooke comes along forming the proverbial love triangle and creating a little tension for all involved. The dialogue never takes itself unnecessarily serious and works in spite of the simple premise that has been laid out before the audience.
Overall, a satisfying little actioner with some solid casting and even better visuals. Though not the most original of tales, the movie is definitely something that can be thrown into your DVD player from time to time and watched if you need to busy yourself with other things to do. Coming in rated PG, the film is good for most audiences and likely has a little something for everyone that views it.