Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Time Out says
‘Sky Captain’s’ fascinating production history is a story in itself, involving Conran’s six years of solo flights as a one-man/one-computer outfit, before the Hollywood machine lumbered in. The idiosyncratic plethora of period imagery – inspired or captured from, notably, the William Cameron Menzies ’30s sci-fi designs for ‘The War of the Worlds’ and the gargantuan architectural compositions of ‘Metropolis’ period Fritz Lang, but also adopting the work of Humphrey Jennings, wartime adventure books, Hitchcockian close-ups, Saturday serials and the like – are a testament to the magpie nature of Conran’s graphic imagination.
The finished product, however, is simply bewildering. The anachronistic, simplistic plot – involving the duo’s efforts to save New York City from giant robots orchestrated by a Germanic Dr Evil (re-used ’40s footage of Laurence Olivier, no less) – neither plays as witty hommage nor nostalgic Boys’ Own adventure. Worse is the cramped, presumably knowingly clichéd, dialogue which doesn’t even aspire to camp. The clincher is how the actors are reduced to puppets and ciphers; Paltrow straight-jacketed in her Hildy Johnson-style two-piece and the evidently bored Law reduced throughout half the movie to giving the gimlet eye through flying goggles. Save us, indeed.