and Angelina Jolie
With loads of action and a kick-ass cast, it'll be tough not to get a rise out of this flick but you should be warned in advance, it's definitely... different. SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW was shot entirely using blue screen technology and except for the actual human beings you'll see on your screen, it's aaaaall make-believe kids. Then again, I doubt we'd expect a fleet of robots to trample down Fifth Avenue without some form of special effect kicking in but if you're idea of entertainment does not involve 109 minutes of computer-generated graphics, then stay away from this when you pass it on the video store shelf. If you're in the mood for something original however, with lots of action and a lot of very well-timed humor, I promise you that you'll get much more fun out of this movie than the bad press it received would have led you to believe.
Most of the screen time in this period/futuristic epic is eaten up by the due of Law and Paltrow, making their way around the world to Totenkopf's secret hideout. That is a definite plus since their chemistry was simply perfect. I've never been a huge Paltrow guy myself but her facial expressions as Law mercilessly jabs at her simply cracked me up and she dished out a couple of great lines to boot. Law was his usual charming self in one of the 326 movies he was featured in during 2004 which in China has officially been renamed The Year of the British Hunk. There are few traits I appreciate more in talented actors than the capacity not to take themselves or their characters too seriously and you could tell simply by watching these two that they were having a very good time. The cherry on my sundae however was the entrancing Angelina Jolie. Love her or hate her, you have to admit that when Angelina Jolie is on a screen, there might as well be nothing else. She's simply that captivating a personality that when the movie's over, she'll be the lasting impression you have of it despite her mere ten minutes or so of screen time.
Another very pleasant thing about this movie was the mixture of styles that made up it's final look. From what I could tell, the film took place in an alternate history but around the late thirties so everything, even the most unimaginable items of the time such as flying robots and death rays somewhat preserved the look of the era. As mentioned above, it was all generated by computer which allowed for tons of flexibility when it came time to determine the style of the film. The extensive use of filters and image effects added to the whole camp/pulp idea but never got to the point where it got overly corny. SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW is surely not for everyone but one thing is for sure, I'll be hanging on to my copy and slapping it on my shelf for keeps.
Two Full Length Audio Commentaries: The first one features Producer John Avnet, who runs down the basics of how this film ended up making it to the big screen and what happened after the green light went on. He's pretty interesting and has a decent pace in his comments but after all, it's still a producer track and I have a natural aversion to them. The second track features Writer/Director Kerry Conran, Production Designer Kevin Conran, Animation Supervisor Steve Yamamoto and Visual Effects Supervisor Darin Hollings. This track gets its hands a bit more dirty in explaining how the things actually got made and the techniques and challenges of bringing this type of film to life.
Brave New World - Chapter 1 (30 mins) and Brave New World - Chapter 2 (25 mins): I'm not sure why this was split up into two chapters but nevertheless, it's a very complete making of segment featuring the actors, producers, filmmakers, etc. There's a heckuva lot of blue screen stuff going on at all times and eventually it segues into the CGI portion of the process.
The Art of The World of Tomorrow (9 mins): Production/Costume Designer Kevin Conran takes us through the creative process and the ideas behind the look of the movie, including the robot and vehicle designs, environments and costumes. There's plenty of sketch art to look at and a lot of the "look 'n' feel" questions are answered.
The Original Six-Minute Short (6 mins): The whole movie was inspired by a six-minute short made by Kerry Conran on his home computer which covers the opening sequence of the feature. It's a blast to watch and many of the shots can be found in pretty much the exact same form in the movie.
Deleted Scenes (5 mins): Two deleted scenes can be found which are alternates of other scenes fount in the movie.
Gag Reel (3 mins): Your standard set of flubbed lines with a couple of gags thrown in by the computer animators. The funniest gag was the one in which they actually tried to make me believe that a hottie like Jolie was actually married to man-skank Billy Bob Thornton! How ridiculous!