Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow marks the debut of a groundbreaking system developed by writer/director Kerry Conran, in which the actors perform almost entirely against blue screen-projected special effects. The new technique is certainly impressive but unfortunately, it's just about all the film has going for it.
More than a decade in the planning, Sky Captain certainly makes an impression on the eye and it's admirable that Conran was able to mount such an intricate production for his first film. It is not hard to imagine the same system being used sometime in the future to create a masterpiece.
This, however, is a totally conventional, by-the-numbers action thriller with nary an original thought in its head. A movie this "revolutionary" shouldn't be boring, but it is.
Even the effects fail at times. While there are striking visuals, the wonder wears off after about five minutes, and once the film settles into a noir-like chiarascuro style, it becomes simultaneously hard to follow and deadly dull.
The plot is an inconsequential Raiders Of The Lost Ark rehash, in which a pilot (Jude Law) first rescues and then travels with a Lois Lane-like newspaper reporter (Gwyneth Paltrow), in facing off against a mysterious scientist; Angelina Jolie shows up as another pilot. Law and Paltrow's dialogue is laughably bad and their chemistry is practically nil.
Advances in movie technology have led to Groundbreaking Effects Blockbuster becoming practically a mini-genre of its own. The best (The Matrix, early Pixars) are able to transcend the effects and succeed as great stand-alone movies. Sky Captain, however, resembles the "effects breakthroughs" of the second Star Wars trilogy.