banner image

:: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow feels like an old classic, a late night movie that you’ve seen a hundred times before. It has the look and sensibilities of something straight out of Hollywood’s Golden Age but in reality, is a triumph of modern day special effects and technological wizardry.

Using just his laptop, Kerry Conran spent four years making a six-minute clip of his fantastical World of Tomorrow, one that reflects back to the people of the 1930s and 40s and what they dreamed the future might hold. Apart from the actors, almost everything is computer generated, but the simple story and digital effect really grounds them in the virtual world. Woven through this vision, is a story of adventure, with a little romance and lots of action.

All over the world, famous scientists are disappearing without a trace. A Zeppelin docks atop the Empire State Building, its weary travellers alight and an old professor tries to blend into the crowd. When giant robots invade the city, hurling cars and tearing up the New York streets, newspaper reporter Polly Perkins just knows the two mysteries must be connected. With the help of Sky Captain (Jude Law), a roguishly good-looking, daredevil pilot, she travels to the Himalayas in search of the evil Dr Totenkopf and perhaps an exclusive story.

Giovanni Ribisi is Sky Captain’s best mate and genius Dex, who is kidnapped by Totenkopf when he gets too close to the truth. Ribisi just keeps getting better as an actor, bringing substance and credibility to a fairly clichéd type of character. Despite the emphasis on excitement and imagination, this film does manage some serious reflection on our own reality, using Dex to show science as a force that can create or destroy the World of Tomorrow.

As things get tough, Sky Captain heads for a flying mobile airstrip to seek backup from old friend, or maybe old flame, Franky (Angelina Jolie) who captains an all-female amphibious squadron. Sir Laurence Olivier features in the role of Totenkopf, a surprising casting decision given that he died over 15 years ago, but it actually works quite well. The filmmakers have raided the archives, writing scenes that fit around existing footage.

Sky Captain has lots of little treats for film buffs and sci-fi fans, with subtle references to Star Wars, War of the Worlds and a sneaky cameo by King Kong. It is a delight to watch and will certainly spark young imaginations everywhere.