Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow
Film and photo began as fraternal twins in the first part of the last century, splitting slowly into separate visual vocabularies as their technologies became more specialized. How poetic that it took the digital age to reinfect film with still photo’s lexicon, injecting photographs with the magic of motion. Inhabiting a soft, smoky, sci-fi cyanotype of New York, dashing flyboy Joe “Sky Captain” Sullivan (Jude Law) and plucky girl reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) are on the trail of a mystery mad scientist behind a radio-controlled robot army that’s part Popular Mechanics and part Charles Burns illustration. A space opera with auteur intentions, Sky Captain cozies down in the median between hybrid neo-noirs like Blade Runner and Deco dystopias like Metropolis, infecting a B-movie nail-biter narrative with wit and beauty. And all of it shot on green screen, with digital backgrounds? George Lucas and his sightline-groping actors should take note. What’s the opposite of mindless fun? Mindful fun? The only downside of this film is the flat and expressionless lighting you’ll encounter in the real world once it’s over, and for the rest of your life. How very disappointing.