ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  kerry conrad

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  sci-fi

LENGTH  -  107 minutes

RELEASED  -  17 september 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  paramount pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  sky captain

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $70,000,000
sky captain - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from sky captain at

buy the dvd from sky captain at

a reporter teams up with a pilot in search of missing scientists as robots start to attack the earth.


poster from sky captain
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the entire movie was shot against a blue screen, with everything except the main characters computer generated.


picture from sky captain and the world of tomorrow

picture from sky captain and the world of tomorrow

picture from sky captain and the world of tomorrow

picture from sky captain and the world of tomorrow


four out of four possible stars

Representing an extreme gamble on the part of the producers of this film (they financed this film without the help of a major distributor), Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is an absolutely beautiful film, dripping with creativity and originality from every pore. Stars Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow are equally adventurous and comedic in their roles as pilot and reporter, respectively, with their achievement appearing all the more impressive because of the way this film was photographed.

Except for certain pieces of furniture, all the sets and visuals of the film were created using "blue screen" technology, which allows the filmmakers to insert any background of their choosing behind a group of actors in a scene. This technique is by no means new, but it's used quite well in this film with the unique, almost "fuzzy" look of the picture. For the complicated feats and stunts that occur regularly throughout this film, the believability factor might have decreased if not for the tightly woven story and the notable performances.

One of the most interesting aspects of this film is the idea of humanity's "future past" that comes about via the science fiction angle of the story. The movie's storyline takes place in the 1930's, but it's created with the idea that someone who had lived before that era had thought the future might be like. Flying robots, advanced technology, ray guns. It's like Star Trek for an earlier era. And the director/screenwriter has crafted the story so well, that it's easy to believe the fantastic events that happen in this movie.

One of the most welcome aspects of the film is the consistent humor that permeates every scene. Rather than play the film drudgingly straight-faced, every character is apt to makes jokes and self-deprecating comments to one another, which gives the film a needed push into the realm of the realistic. Because the look of the film is so unusual, viewing it is almost like watching a film with subtitles; it takes a few minutes to get "used" to it, but a mere ten minutes or so into the feature, and you'll start to appreciate it.

What allows this film to stand a head or two above the bunch is not only it's incredible use of visual technique, but is also the well chosen group of actors that fill the movie. The performances of Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow go far beyond a few minutes on the screen spent looking beautiful. With the interesting visuals that film the movie from start to finish, the producers could have chosen a cast whose main value was in their appearance, but director Kerry Conran got lucky with Law and Paltrow, because they're both capable of so much. Likewise, Angelina Jolie is a strong addition to the cast, though she's actually only in the film for about ten minutes.

And supporting members of the cast give equally impressive appearances. Giovanni Ribisi plays, "Dex," a nerdy inventor type who walks the difficult line between humor and drama and is as sharp as Law and Paltrow in his portrayal of a 1930's scientist. Michael Gambon makes the best of his few scenes as Paltrow's boss at a newspaper and Bai Ling, also an interesting sight in a black cape and pair of goggles, and goes through the entire film without saying a word. She plays a mysterious caped woman with the ability to control an army of attacking robots.

Beyond the fantastic cinematographic views the film affords, other technical aspects of the movie are all constructed very well, with a swelling orchestral score, reminiscent of a film circa pre-1970, something that uses every instrument of the orchestra. The editing, on the other hand, is an understated part of the film, allowing the visuals to take center stage, rather than the cuts and edits. It bears repeating that the cinematography is certainly a feat in this film, though finding a film with this same level of creativity regarding the visuals would be impossible. The look of this film is truly one-of-a-kind in modern filmmaking.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is an example of a perfectly constructed piece of celluloid entertainment suitable for any type of audience. Viewers who enjoy the science fiction films of the first half of the twentieth century should find themselves enraptured by every frame of this film's enthusiastic tribute. Viewers who just enjoy a good yarn will find themselves likewise enjoying this film. This film is so much more than just an average theatrical experience though. It's truly a visual work of art and is a thrilling and beautiful film.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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