Making the Grades
Gotham City is under attack! Huge robots, like super-sized versions of Transformer toys, are marching through the downtown, leaving crushed cars and damaged buildings in their wake.
Beaming out a desperate cry for help, the city waits. But who will come. Superman? Batman? No it's Sky Captain. (Read that last line with a booming, echoing voice.)
Stationed on a little island in the middle of an inlet, Joe "Sky Captain" Sullivan (Jude Law) is an ace pilot. Outfitted in a leather bomber jacket and goggles, this flyer doesn't have any super powers but he possesses enough gumption, ingenuity and gadgets to handily deter the army of metallic monsters.
Unfortunately, he and his inventive junior officer Dex Dearborn (Giovanni Ribisi) are about to discover there's another regiment or two waiting to evade Earth.
Enter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), an intrepid and often clumsy newspaper reporter for The Chronicle. After parting ways with Joe three years ago during a lovers' spat, she's back and she wants in on the action. Determined to get a front-page story, she tucks her trusty camera under her arm and boards the plane with the spunky aviator.
Teaming up with his colleague, Captain Frankie Cook (Angelina Jolie), Joe and Polly hunt down the notorious Dr. Totenkopf and the group of elite scientists he's kidnapped. However, Polly's penchant for keeping secrets threatens to jeopardize the whole mission when she hides the truth about her part in the doomsday plot.
Don't expect an incredibly heavy storyline or deep character development in this film. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a kick back, put your feet up movie---the kind that begs for a big bag of popcorn and offers plenty of escapism.
With only brief, mild language and a couple of sexual innuendos, this film's biggest concern for parents will be the action violence, which consists mostly of large explosions, airborne missiles and gunfire exchanges. One man does disintegrate into a pile of bones after he is electrocuted and another woman is smashed in the face during a fight.
The most interesting thing about this movie may be the computer generated images it uses. Shot entirely in front of blue screen, only the people and some of the props are real. Director Kerry Conran even recorded hundreds of extras individually in front of the screen so he could later manipulate them during the editing process. Using old photos and digital animation, he recreates the backdrop for his characters and includes notable objects such as the sunken ships Venture (complete with King Kong's cage) and the ill-fated Titanic.
The smudgy, dark lighting and the look of hand-painted black and white photographs gives the film a retro feel reminiscent of old Hollywood classics. Regrettably, while the look may be there, the plot will likely be too predictable to really stand out.
Instead, suspend belief, relax and turn the woes of the world over---for an hour or so---to the ever handsome and always daring Sky Captain.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
How does Polly’s unwillingness to tell the truth endanger others? Why is she so reluctant to come forth? How did her lies affect her relationship with Joe?
What makes Sky Captain different from superheroes like Superman or Batman? How did he deal with the stress of the job? Which kind of hero do you think it is easier to relate to?
To learn more about Blue Screen techniques try the following sites:
How a blue screen works:http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/blue-screen2.htm
A modification of the blue screen effect is responsible for making lightsabers look so exciting in Star Wars:http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/question171.htm
Build a blue screen at home:http://www.jushhome.com/Bluescreen/Bluescreen.html