Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow


Sky Cap­tain and The World of Tomor­row is just like most reviews you’ve read of it. 100% pulp. Grant­ed, it has that fan­boy­ish nos­tal­gia for the gold­en age of sci­ence fic­tion, and it works in the retroart­de­co hip­ness that has been pop­ping up late­ly, so pulp should be expect­ed. Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Bur­roughs don’t hold up so well in the 21st cen­tu­ry. Or more to the point, you can’t make a sci­ence fic­tion movie that hap­pens 70 years in the past.

At least pulp sci-fi mags were enter­tain­ing and had orig­i­nal ideas. Seri­ous­ly, the only thing this movie does is ref­er­ence oth­er movies and sci­ence fic­tion sto­ries and play on exas­per­at­ing “wit­ty” repar­tee. Even its CGI high-con­trast, over­ex­posed pret­ti­fied­ness bores the liv­ing shit out of you after 10 min­utes or so. In a genre known for robust cre­ativ­i­ty and imag­i­na­tion, Sky Cap­tain lays a big egg-smelling cor­po­rate post-mod­ern fart.

3 Replies

  • Just make sure you watch ‘Seren­i­ty’ this fall. It comes to the­aters Sep­tem­ber 30th. Then you’ll see some real sci­ence-fic­tion with orig­i­nal ideas and an actu­al plot.

  • I won’t dis­agree that Sky Cap­tain was dreck. I will, how­ev­er, quib­ble over ERB and Verne not hold­ing up over time. The char­ac­ters and the nar­ra­tive still cap­ture and engage. The John Carter of Mars pulps are still pure joys to read.

  • I just reread Jour­ney to the Cen­ter of the Earth a few weeks ago, and it was quite enjoy­able, but your aver­age sci­ence fic­tion read­er is expect­ing Michael Crich­ton [I think he is a mod­ern day JV], a bit more sci­ence with their fic­tion.

    But then again, steam­punk has nev­er real­ly done any­thing for me. I’d much rather pre­fer to read the actu­al stuff. Of course, ERB and Verne were writ­ing “adven­ture” nov­els. They only got pigeon­hold­ed as sci-fi ret­ro­spec­tive­ly.

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