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Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Ride, Captain, ride, upon your mystery ship
Don't get me wrong, the movie is good. The breathtaking shots of zeppelins docking on the Empire State Building are breathtaking and the cool aerial aircraft carriers are cool. But is Sky Captain on par with Raiders of the Lost Ark, as Roger Ebert claims?
The biggest problem with the film is not the wooden acting, a questionable cameo by Laurence Olivier's CGI ghost or the cheesy dialog. Sky Captain is a movie that's in a tremendous hurry, like a professor that rushes through a lecture because his Herb-Lax just kicked in. Spectacular images of a ghostly Radio City Hall, robot fisticuffs and ocean graveyards loaded with King Kong references blaze past so quickly it's impossible to enjoy any of them. The movie has too much to cover in too little time, it's bursting at the seams and...well, I'll avoid the obvious fecal metaphor.
Unlike Universal's new Mummy movies, which are all eye-candy, the mastermind behind this thing stops to give his characters a decent plotline to travel down and a few human quirks. Jude Law chugs Milk of Magnesia between flights as Paltrow frets over the dwindling amount of film in her camera. Is any of this on the level with "it's not the years, it's the mileage"? No, it's better than anything you'll find in a Michael Bay movie.
So is Sky Captain a Raiders for the 21st century? Sadly, no, at least not for anyone over the age of 10. Who knows? In another few years it could become a beloved classic for people born after the OJ Simpson trail. But if it's box office reciepts are any indication...