Went to the Cinerama Dome with Matt tonight. Wow. That’s the word that basically sums up Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, a stylized adventure flick that is filled with so much stunning visual imagery that you’ll be thinking about it long after you’ve seen it. Basic plot: It’s 1939; giant robotic machines are attacking cities all over the world, and taking various things – including some scientists who used to be part of a top-secret project before WWI. Chronicle reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) is on the story, but needs the help of ex-lover and all-round-hero Sky Captain Joe (Jude Law) to help her out. What they discover is an evil plan to destroy the world, and takes us all on a pretty fun and exciting adventure around the globe as they try to put the pieces together and stop this dastardly plan.
The film was shot entirely on blue/green-screens, and almost all of the sets were virtual sets. The result was a level of freedom completely unparalleled before. This is what Final Fantasy could have been, with real actors. It’s what Star Wars wants to be, on some levels. There are plenty of nods to classic cinema, such as King Kong, throughout the film, and that just adds to the fun of it all. The visual style is so immersed in art deco and 1930s imagery that it makes the mind boggle. While I still have mixed feelings about them using Lawrence Olivier as the villain (welcome to the world of tomorrow, indeed), his “casting” allowed for a rather clever dialogue joke that only 1/3 of the audience got.
This is easily a contender for Best Visual Effects, and while I would personally doubt it happen, I could easily nominate it for Best Original Score as well. Ed Shearmur did a stand-up job with the film, providing a swashbuckling adventure score that is unlike anything else being written today. It’s such a throwback to the scores of yesteryear that it’s no surprise to know that he wrote a good portion of the score with a pad-and-pencil. No electronic synths in this score, nosiree! If you haven’t gotten it yet, go get it. Now!
There’s not too much out in theaters I can recommend right now. Hero, of course, and Garden State are the two that come to mind. With Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, there’s finally something this fall to look forward to.