That?s one definition of the word hero.
The other is reserved for the A-list talents (Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie) who signed on to make this picture for much less than they would ordinarily command on the open market. Without them, and an extremely talented bunch of extremely professional cinematic futurists, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow would be a real steaming heap of a movie. Even with them all, the film has moments when it oozes a bit, but overall it?s a pretty wild ride.
?Nuff said about that.
For those of you who didn?t see this film in the theater -- and judging from the overall box office figures, there were a lot of you -- the film is about a mad scientist who uses an army of flying robots to steal natural and physical resources from around the world to complete a diabolical plan. What it is, I?m not at liberty to say ? spoilers will be prosecuted. Heh heh.
The DVD of Sky Captain is a wondrous thing to behold. It has bonus features that rival much bigger budget releases, mostly because director Kerry Conran was passionate about making the film in the first place and was even more passionate to make sure the DVD got its just due.
Check out the DVD?s selection of featurettes first. There is a fantastic story behind the making of the film, and it?s a must see for anyone who has delusions about trying to interest Hollywood in film projects of their own. ?Brave New World? featurette is broken into two parts (would that make each a ?mini-featurette,? and what would happen if one of those was, itself, broken into a set of parts ??). The first details how the film began as a six minute short film that Conran took to a friend of his, who just happened to be influential enough to get it the attention it needed from an authentic producer. Part one also deals with casting, sets, and such. The second part then deals with how special effects were created to actually fill in around the characters, who were filmed entirely against green screen.
Another featurette, ?The Art of the World of Tomorrow? focuses on the visual style that was created for the film, and really, Angelina Jolie aside, this is the reason to see the film in the first place. It simply oozes with cool stylistic touches and wonderful gadgetry. Even stuff that doesn?t really ever pay off in the film (Cap arranges for one of the robots to be trucked from the city location where it was incapacitated to the huge hanger where he builds airships (and probably plays a lot of bridge between missions, too). He tells his genius friend Dex, ?Find out where it came from and I?ll buy you one of your own.? Well, Dex accomplishes the feat, but not because he?s got a giant robot to analyze ? he?s so brilliant he doesn?t have to. Anyway, Sky?s island lair is the most wonderful locale imaginable. Any fan of Doc Savage or Superman?s Fortress of Solitude will recognize Conran?s homage to these earlier heroes, and it?s very, very satisfying.
The DVD also provides the original 6-minute short film. Well worth the twelve minutes it takes to see it twice. Conran really did have a good idea in the first place.
There are also some out takes and two deleted scenes, both worth watching.
If I had a hat, I?d tip it to Kerry Conran for developing a plan of attack for making a movie that was as unique as the human spirit (even if it was as shallow as a wading pool). The DVD release of the movie can allow you to tip your hat as well, and if you?re a fan of genre action movies, don?t rent Doc Savage, The Movie (yeeeeeech!!), The Phantom (slightly better), The Shadow (was that really Alec Baldwin??), go buy a copy of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
Now beat it ? I?m off to get a hat.