Imagination is the name of the game in Kerry Conran's lushly realized Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
Nearly every sci-fi convention is used from giant robots that shoot lasers from their eyes to evil scientists to dashing heroes and damsels in distress. The film is part King Kong, part biblical allegory, but most of all, it's a big part pure adrenaline-pumping, nail-biting, old-fashioned matinee fun!
The film opens with Conran's now infamous six minutes of footage involving the docking of a zeppelin at the top of the Empire State building. This is the footage he created in his garage and used to secure big name actors Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow as the aforementioned hero and damsel. It's also what got him the financing to produce this epic, blue-screen fantasy.
The film's live action sequences took under a month in total to complete shooting, but it's the digital effects that really make the adventure come to life.
Law, Producer John Avnet and Angelina Jolie against the Bluescreen
Conran created the film in black and white and colorized it, a-la The Wizard of Oz, which has several cameos and allusions throughout the journey; only, the effect of modern technology give the picture a lush, yet dream-like quality of shadows and light (mostly shadows), where the brightness of Paltrow's cornsilk, Veronica Lake locks are offset only by the deep crimson of her lips, and every character exudes an almost cartoonish halo to bring them to the foreground of this bluescreen odessey.
The advantage of using mostly digital effects is that the mountains of Nepal can be three dimensionally mapped as fearless Joe Sullivan and plucky Polly Perkins fly in search of mysterious islands, dinosaurs that can lope through jungles and ray-guns that can melt holes in tentacled metal monsters.
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