Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Movie Reviews and One Horse for Sale--Cheap!

Movie review time!
Sunday, the J-man and I rented Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Here's my take:

The overall look and tone of the movie will work providing you "get" what director Kerry Conran was trying to do. The movie harkens back to the vision of the future that moviegoers of the 1930s might have seen in Metropolis or Saturday morning serials. (Interestingly, Kerry Conran's next project is Edgar Rice Burrough's Princess of Mars.) Art Deco motifs are freely intermingled with uber fantastic imagery that is certainly a nod to the pulp SF of the time. Ray guns that emit rings of wha-wha-whaing energy; giant robots (think the Iron Giant's evil cousins), fabulous bird-like flying machines and visions of a Lost World-like Shangri-La.

The initial premise is simple. Scientists are disappearing or being killed all over the world and intrepid reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) is dead set on finding out why. Her path soon intersects with the mercenary hero, Sky Captain, a.k.a., Joe (Jude Law), her former lover. Naturally, the two spend much of the movie going through the usual verbal sparring.

They soon learn that a mysterious Dr. Totenkopf is behind both the disappearances and the multitude of mechanized minions who have attacked cities all over the world. And naturally, they also discover that Totenkopf is rumored to have created a terrible doomsday machine.

And the race is on to stop Totenkopf. Visually, the movie is visually stunning and it has its suspenseful moments. The plot, though simplistic, drives the movie at a steady pace.

Unfortunately, its two protagonists, Polly and Joe, are one-dimensional and dull. Jude Law, though admittedly easy on the eyes, plays the part of Sky Captain as though he were distracted. Perhaps he was running through his lines for Closer and wondering if his current costar could be any more wooden?

The usually talented Paltrow is wasted in the role of Polly. Perhaps trying to emulate the cool-as-a-cucumber style of Katherine Hepburn, Paltrow proves that "a little" is...too little. I didn't thing it was possible to move so few facial muscles. At times, it seems that Paltrow is suffering from an overdose of Botox. Her sole raison d'etre is to--parrot-like, making the name Polly rather prophetic--issue bleedingly obvious commentary such as, "We're going to crash" (as Joe's plane hurtles straight down toward the ocean), and "We need to get out of here" (this said when they are trapped in a room full of dynamite with a lit fuse). Although she insisted on following Joe from adventure to adventure, she scowls and complains throughout the entire movie.

If you are expecting witty rejoinders and great sexual tension, go elsewhere. By the end of the movie, I wondered why Sky Captain/Joe hadn't pitched Polly out of his P-40 and focused his attention on the much more interesting Franky (Angelina Jolie playing the commander of a flying British aircraft carrier).

Ultimately, the lack of good lead characters makes Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow a rent-it-once-and-move-on sort of movie. Not a keeper.

Is it worth the cost of the rental? Sure, if only to see the fantastic cinematography.

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Nikolaij thinks banging on his feeder at obscene hours of the night is great fun. He was at it again last night--2 A.M. I staggered out of bed and out of the house. Then I chucked a couple of rocks at him and his porch. That seemed to spook him into stopping. At least for the night.

I have no doubt he'll be at it again tonight. Sigh. I need sleep.

Writing...
Put together my submission package for the agent who requested three chapters and a synopsis. Not much else. Need to get on the ball.

Cheers,

P.K.

 

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