Sunday, October 24, 2004

I managed to drag myself out of the house last night to scrounge for food in the mall and got to watch Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow in the process. I loved it even if there were confirmed news that the movie failed to make a profit in the U.S. of A because of one reason or another. This movie harks back to the days when SFX in cinemas was just starting out. The plot is reminiscent of the 1930s B-movies involving giant robots, secret headquarters, brilliant weapons guy behind a dashing hero, a beautiful brave news reporter who is also damsel in distress, kidnapped scientists, blueprints and/or secret formulas left as clues, a nefarious secret plot hatched by a shadowy villain that has something to do with the destruction of the world. Production design stayed faithful to the time replete with Art Deco that in turn influenced the imaginative sci-fi designs of comic book and movies:

Robot designs

Costume designs

Weapon designs

Storyboard samples

The noise generated by naysayers talk about the crummy story and script have to keep in mind that keeping faithful to the 1930s movie-making is what the whole project was all about. To update the dialogue and plot to suit a jaded 21st century audience defeats the entire experience. Old sci-fi movies fed off the expectations of comic book geeks weaned on Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, Fritz Lang's Metropolis, Jerry Siegel's & Joe Shuster's Superman, and Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon, to name a few. I'm not sure where Tim Burton failed with his movie, Mars Attacks, but one thing's for sure is that he came up with a film that basks in its cheesiness unlike this movie that guns for the classics feel without going overboard in any of its design and intent. Whether other people feel the same or not at least CNN and SoundtrackNet were kind enough not to shoot it down with preconceived notions and judgments in mind.

* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

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