Monday, September 27, 2004

Sky Captain (no spoiler)

Look, but don't touch. It's a beautiful, stunning film, that gradually eases back on the sheer style and grudgingly replaces it with charm.

If, like me, you watched Lord of the Rings on DVD mostly on fast forward, you'll recognise the storytelling feeling of Sky Captain - it's like the best bits of a trilogy. By 20 minutes in, you're already on Epic Story Four, and still have No Idea Who These People Are.

The visuals are, as everyone will tell you, coherent and staggering. The virtual sets are jaw-dropping. But there's one scene (and it's a small one) that, tellingly, uses a real set (a bedroom) - and it's the most charming scene in the film. Suddenly, the picture is in focus, the perfomances come alive, the actors are touching, and the characters are suddenly much more interesting. The next scene's on top of a spectacular mountain, and we're back to normal - fuzzy vision, and the performances are stone dead again.

It's like a film made with zombies. They look like Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, and even sound like them. But they've got the dead eyes and disinterested air of one of my dates.

Halfway through, Angelina Jolie pops in. She was probably just over to water Jude's plants and shoot up in the bath, but couldn't resist picking the lock on the studio and stealing the entire film. Bless her.

(Most charming moment: Lenscap.)

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