Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow

I interrupt my usual quasi-politic posting to say that I have just seen Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow, and it is an absolutely brilliant tour de force. Stylistically pure with a uncompromising and utterly stunning esthetic, this is best movie released in a great while. The engine of this movie is a sly and wicked intelligence that does not obtrude but adds a delicious layer for those who are sensitive to it. At once innocent and wicked, satiric and exuberant, this movie is High Art masked as kid’s movie; an homage that tenderly skewers it inspiration; a well-orchestrated action flick that revels in the uncomplicated joy of cinematic whiz-bang while laughing quietly behind its hand at the pretentious.

None of this means you will enjoy it however. The movie makes no concessions to fashion, but pursues its vision with a relentless perfection that seems to have annoyed some critics. People who are used to being pandered to by the likes of Spielberg will find none of that here; no kowtowing to myopic modem canons on plot, character development, and PC Quotient. The creator appears blissfully ignorant of these, or rather innocent of them, but he is an innocent with a needle. The small-minded, the hidebound, and stuffy, and the clueless have all been pricked and their discomfort echoes in the imprecise criticisms that all too often dissolve into discordant rants; the mere noise of uninformed disapprobation. And for some, no doubt, it is merely not their cup of tea.

This is not a movie for everyone, but if you love the art of move making, you should see it. If you enjoy lush visuals and stirring action with a uncramped mind you will probably adore this movie, and if you appreciate that rare artist who can honor his inspiration while making gentle fun of it, you will love it. But view this movie through the busy filter of your preconceptions about what a movie should be and the needle will find you.

Update: Yes, if you were wondering, the 15 or so minutes of Angelina Jolie are absolutely worth the price of admission.


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