Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > WWII > Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow (HD-DVD)

Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow (HD-DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B+*     Extras: C-     Feature: D



Kerry Conrad made his feature debut with Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow (2004), thanks to a six-minutes-long short he managed to show to Gwyneth Paltrow.  She decided to take a risk and support the project of a feature version to fruition.  It did not work, but kin the long run, it did not hurt her or co-stars Jude Law (so overexposed at the time) and Angelina Jolie (who has succeeded him in media frenzy popularity).  The film is very screwy and not in a good way, beginning with a German “Hindenburg II” docking in an American-like city.


Nothing is ever explained clearly in this mess of a production and the opening implies something like the German’s winning WWII, or vat least making more progress in winning that they did in real life.  It is the epitome of how dangerously loose the film plays with history, though the brainwashed and apologists who don’t want to think (or want you to think) that it is “only a movie” (harder to argue when all HD) and “only” entertainment.  Both are a myth and all films have an ideology, even when they are this loose.  Confused will not apply, because this is too shallow to have enough substance to be incoherent.  It also leaves this in dangerously proto-fascist waters.


It turns out giant robots are on a killing spree and the trio has to figure out who is responsible.  However, that storyline is actually out of another short film, the classic animated Fleischer Superman short The Mechanical Monsters, reviewed elsewhere on this site.  It has a much better script, better action, good performances and is more memorable than this mess.  However, competing with whatever ideology this is coming from is the worst thing it could ever be as a feature, and that is boring.  It is eye candy at best that falls flat very quickly.  If this is the world of tomorrow and you watch it, you will see the future and know it does not work.


The 1.78 X 1 image was totally shot in digital High Definition and the 1080p version here reveals something the 35mm film and lesser video versions failed to do, and that is part of the image problem has to do with a purposely softened look that is stylized to be “dreamlike” perhaps and eventually plays itself out.  It does not help the digital visual effects look better, it never achieves a safer version of the surrealism of Sin City and cinematographer Eric Adkins really does not do anything too memorable or original.


*The sound is the first time DTS HD has been offered on any format and sounds good for as good as we could play it back, but no DTS HD receiver/chip is available yet.  There is also the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix and it ironically is piggybacking on DTS chips in many systems.  We will revisit it for sound later, but both sound decent, though we give the edge to DTS HD even without the DTS HD chip.  Edward Shearmur’s music is nothing memorable, but the use of sound with machines can be.  This is the highlight by default that keeps the disc from being a drink coaster.


Extras include the six-minute short that got the film made, two audio commentary tracks, three HD trailers, a gag reel, deleted scenes and three featurettes, one of which is in two parts.  I did not much more interesting that the subject they were covering, but they were slightly.  In the end, it made me want to see Universal put Russell Mulcahy’s The Shadow (1994) on HD-DVD instead.  At least it was more ambitious, a bigger hit, a larger commercial success, felt more like its time period and had a better script.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com