Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Movies Media Sci-Fi

Sky Captain and the Films of Tomorrow 417

Posted by michael
from the talking-heads dept.
professorfalcon writes "Foxnews.com has an interview with the stars of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. They talk about their experience hugging a green screen for the entire film, and how the movie is 'unlike anything most audiences have seen before. It uses no sets, only computer generated imagery.' So most audiences didn't see Star Wars?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sky Captain and the Films of Tomorrow

Comments Filter:
  • Poll Troll Toll (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PollTroll (764214)
    What's better...

    Sky Captain [calcgames.org]
    Star Wars [calcgames.org]
    Sex with a wookie [calcgames.org]
    Sex with a mare [calcgames.org]
  • In fact Gwyneth Paltrow was interviewed on TV and the host asked about the green screen and she corrected him.

    • Most chromakey technology these days uses a truly hideous green that's less likely to conflict with clothing or props. I don't know which was used in this movie, though.
    • by XiChimos (652495) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:01PM (#10291224)
      Wouldn't a blue screen make it harder for the actors to show any emotion beyond sheer anger?

      They are Windows users, aren't they?
    • by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp&gmail,com> on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:10PM (#10291257) Homepage
      Actually, I saw that as well, but it was the other way around. The interviewer said they filmed it on a blue screen and she corrected him saying that they were on a green screen. Although the technology began with blue screens, green screens are far more prevalent today.
      • by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot@@@castlesteelstone...us> on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:19PM (#10291306) Homepage Journal
        What show did you watch?

        The Daily Show had the host asking if it was a green screen, and the actress corrected with blue.
      • No, it was the other way around. I saw that on the daily show and she was also on some other show the next day and said that it was a blue screen.
      • Although the technology began with blue screens, green screens are far more prevalent today.

        I guess Hollywood is finally ditching their Windows 98 installations and replacing them with old school monochrome monitors.
    • by bigbigbison (104532) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:38PM (#10291389) Homepage
      Yes, it was blue. An on "set" picture [yahoo.com] shows them in front of the blue screen.
      • It all depends on the colors on the clothing of the actors whether they do a blue or green screen for a particular scene. It also may depend on the lighting they are trying to use (need to add directional color the actors, but not effect the hue of the screen in the shot)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    as far as sci-fi flics go. The backgrounds seem blurry and a bit off-sync with the characters. It's a good start - maybe in 5 years they'll get this blue-screen technology right - and maybe one day they will not need actors either.
    • Part of the reason for making it slightly blurry is probably to fit in the actors/actresses seamlessly into the background (no sharp edges etc.), but part of it could also be deliberate .. (gives you the feeling that you are watching a comic book in motion ).

      After all you only need to blur the edge of the actors and not the whole scene. Per haps somebody knowledgable i graphics could comment.

      As for being out of sync -> the worst case I saw was when Gyneth was running along side the robots in the str

    • by EtherAlchemist (789180) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @01:00PM (#10291515)

      Excellent 3d graphics, poor 2d acting.
      • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @01:16PM (#10291621)
        that was the point!!!

        It's a spoof as much as anything. It was intended to be a "cheesy" type movie...like they used to make in the 30's. It was intended to have stereotypical, bubble-gum-pop acting and gee-wiz special effects...It wasn't trying to be "realistic".

        It was a really cool movie....I took my two kids[frankly the target audience!], way past their bedtime and they didn't make a peep for the whole show!! Therefore, it's a great movie!!

    • ... - and maybe one day they will not need actors either.

      Actors are the cheapest part of making a movie. It the stars that are super-expensive.

      Now if the studio can 'persuade' unknown actors with great potential to sell their facial expressions and movements, human characters can be inserted into movies like hordes of digitized extras. At some savings to the studio.

      Even then the cost of promotion and advertising of a new film is often approaching and sometimes even surpassing the cost of maki
  • by JoshNorton (528856) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @11:56AM (#10291182) Homepage
    Tron only used sets for about ... what 30 minutes, maybe, of a 90 minute movie? Heavy use of blue-screened backdrops isn't THAT new...
    • Tron only used sets for about ... what 30 minutes, maybe, of a 90 minute movie?

      There are styrofoam sets throughout the flick, with neato lighting added in post production.
      But even if they had sets for only 1/3 of the movie, that is simply very different from NO sets.
    • by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Sunday September 19, 2004 @01:17PM (#10291628) Homepage Journal
      You just have to love the Slashdot crowd. Anything new comes along and all you get is "oh, it's been done before... it wasn't quite as fully developed, and was only part of a larger whole, but it was done."

      When are we going to stop and think about the fact that all innovation in human history involved taking things that already existed, and combining them in ways that no one else had?

      No one had ever fillmed a feature-length movie with live-action actors as the primary stars in which there was only one set and 90% of the film was CG. If hollywood had nixed the idea of doing this, Slashdot junkies would be the first to rant that Hollywood never does anything innovative like this, but when they do, it's all just, "been there, done that."

      Tron was an innovative and well-made film. So was Sky Capt. Why can we not celebrate the innovation of both (while lamenting that Hollywood DOES limit such innovation such that it took us 30 years to get from the one to the other)?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2004 @11:56AM (#10291184)
    It used no actors, only computer generated whiny melodrama
  • suggestion (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2004 @11:56AM (#10291185)
    If the special effects make you woozy, take some Milk of Magnesia.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      If the special effects make you woozy, take some Milk of Magnesia.

      I spat Milk of Magnesia out of my nose when I read this! It's from the film, FYI.
    • If the special effects make you woozy, take some Milk of Magnesia.

      I saw the movie; now I want Milk of Amnesia.

      That's ninety minutes I'd prefer to forget.
  • Hardly a first (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jay Maynard (54798) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @11:57AM (#10291189) Homepage
    All of the scenes in TRON inside the computer were shot on a bare black set with the computer imagery filled in later. This was done in 1982. The actors talk about how hard that was in the making-of video in the collector's edition box set.
  • by echeslack (618016) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @11:57AM (#10291192) Homepage Journal
    So most audiences didn't see Star Wars?

    Star wars is very different. Sure, a lot of the stuff is CG or green-screened, but a lot of the stuff is done on sets with more than just a few props.

    • Star Wars did a much better job of keying in my opinion. Quite often the edges of the actors in Sky Captain looked pretty fake.
    • Sure, a lot of the stuff is CG or green-screened, but a lot of the stuff is done on sets with more than just a few props.

      And my understanding is that most of the movie was done before they started shooting with the actors of Skycaptain, so they could show them ahead of filming what it was that they were supposed to pretend was there.

      Whereas in Star Wars, Lucas is in love with his new found ability to change stuff at the last minute and not let any of this second-opinion peer-review stuff get in the way o
      • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @01:36PM (#10291724)
        There's a huge difference in how the movies were made even though the technology is similar. For starts, Skycaptain had a whole short movie already made...it was no secret what the movie was about and the director encouraged the actors to "go with it" [note that's how SW ended up such a hit as well] The director of skycaptain put his actors in a "black box" and let them work the drama out.

        Lucas on the other hand wants "cartoons" with people. In many ways Skycaptain hit Lucas' goals for SW better than Lucas did! Lucas real problem is that he's trying to cut actor's personalities entirely out of the movie process...that makes for flat, sucky films because there's no "ensamble" energy that happens when the cast "gets" what their supposed to do. Also, sometimes the cast sees things that don't work..or personalities make the end result better...again, lucas cuts all that out with his "secret" scripts and digital "horseplay" in the editing room.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2004 @11:57AM (#10291193)
    Actors hate it because they have no set to act in.

    Audiences hate it because they're made so conscious of the forgery they're watching.

    This sort of thing is a nice little novelty, but in time it'll be no more than a niche product.
    • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:07PM (#10291241) Journal
      Considering that we have been accepting of CG for so long, I think that Consumers will be happy to accept it.

      Also, Movie making is horribly expensive of which Movie sets account for a good chunk of that. I suspect though that we will see a CG actor in about 3 years, where the public will not know it is CG. And I say Thank God. I am tired of the idiots that run around inisiting on huge checks, yet act like total babies.
      • True, but the problem is, precident has already been set regarding huge prices for films - prices that translate to the box office.

        If a film would have cost 10 million with sets and actors, and will only cost 5 million without (assuming kick ass, relatively cheap CG), do you really think the film industry going to pass 5 million to the consumer? The films will be cheaper to make, but this wont have any effect on us, the end consumers.

        A film that costs 500 million to make, and a film that was made on the c
        • The films will be cheaper to make, but this wont have any effect on us, the end consumers.

          oh, I agree 100%. Hollywood is about outlandious profits. Witness RIAA (and what ever the the motion film group is). It obvious that these groups are going to try and squeeze every cent out and remain in control (Even though I am convinced that they will fall hard in about 2 years).

      • by tukkayoot (528280) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:53PM (#10291469) Homepage
        People are only accepting of CG when it's used effectively. Bad CG work, like bad acting, sticks out like a sore thumb and does meet with disapproval from critics and fans.

        Even given the technology, how many people/effects teams out there are going to have the talent and skill necessary to create and animate a convincing CG actor doing a good, convincing CG performance? Plus you'll still need good voice actors.

        The geeks, voices actors, artists and digital puppeteers will be the new "movie stars" with huge paychecks, only without all the glamour. Though maybe this in some ways is better than an average actress with nice T&A getting paid millions, I sincerely doubt it's really going to shake the movie industry to its foundations or anything. I don't really care if celebrities act like babies, I don't have to deal with their day to day attitude... I just have to be able to watch and enjoy their performances.

        Besides, I don't think human audiences will ever totally connect with an actor that isn't real. Many movies' success are greatly influenced by how recognizable the stars are. If you're a fan of a particular actor, you're probably more likely to go out and see their movies, right? Will people have this same sense of attachment and "loyalty" to CG characters, even if the same characters are used throughout different movies? I kind of doubt it.

        Also, I think your 3 year estimate is a little optimistic. The most lauded, advanced CG character in a live action movie ever created, Smeagol, was still quite recognizably a CG character in many scenes, and Smeagol had many aspects of a "creature" to him, something unrecognizable that our minds can't as easily recognize as "fake" because we don't have anything to compare it to. Unobstructed, unmasked, convincing human CG characters are going to be many, many times more difficult to create than gollum was.

        Plus, the Lord of the Rings trilogy were some of the most successful movies ever to heavily use CG, but just as much energy seems to have been put into finding good locations, creating elaborate and convincing physical sets, and finding the right flesh-and-blood actors.

        CG is increasingly going to become a more important element of movie-making, and it may trim down costs here and there, but I think it's going to be a long time (decades, at least, probably) before we see another dramatic shift in the way CG changes movie-making. But then, I'm not in the business and I'm not really a great visionary. It would be cool to be proven wrong, but there's always the possibility that the heavy use of CG and digital effects will just create a whole new host of problems and flaws to deal with.

        • "Even given the technology, how many people/effects teams out there are going to have the talent and skill necessary to create and animate a convincing CG actor doing a good, convincing CG performance? Plus you'll still need good voice actors."

          You're forgetting technological improvement. And it won't take "decades" (well, maybe one or two.) The computer hardware and software available by another ten or twenty years will be so good any director will be able to order up any kind of character he wants, AND
        • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @06:42PM (#10293447)
          Plus, the Lord of the Rings trilogy were some of the most successful movies ever to heavily use CG, but just as much energy seems to have been put into finding good locations, creating elaborate and convincing physical sets, and finding the right flesh-and-blood actors.

          The reason why The Lord of the Rings movies are so well-liked was the fact they used as many natural locations as possible to provide a background to "layer" in the CGI effects. A good example is the from The Fellowship of the Ring when they were travelling down the Anduin River; much of the background is CGI, but that was in addition to scenes filmed at various locations in New Zealand itself.
    • by wisebabo (638845) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:34PM (#10291366) Journal
      actually at a special presentation which I was fortunate enough to attend, Gweneth Paltrow and Jude Law said that the lack of sets "freed" them in their acting. The fact that they had an animatic of the entire film that they used as reference before every take allowed them to "hit their marks" more easily and allowed them to be more creative in their acting. It was like theater acting on a bare set.

      As far as the audience reaction, this film was deliberately made in a stylized form. In fact they processed it in black and white and recolorized it to give an old movie feel! (They also didn't use the state of the art capture technology, just plain old Sony HD-CAM 1440x960, 3:1:1, 8bit). It is clear from many other recent motion pictures that they could have made it appear as realistic as they wanted but chose not to.

      The main reason why it IS the future is because it is thought that it cost about 1/3 what it would have been if they had shot it on "real" sets! Hate to say it but saving more than $80 million dollars (estimated cost of the film $40M-$70M) would drive any producer to making his film this way, regardless of actor preference or (most) audience reactions.
    • You really should figure out what the word, "forgery," actually means.

      On the main point, though, it's difficult to say with certainty whether this is the wave of the future or just a novelty. Anyone who says he KNOWS is just guessing. After all, many movie people were CERTAIN that sound in movies was just a novelty that would pass in time.
    • In 25 years Hollywood will have composite heros and babes that will never age or get paid.
  • Star Wars? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @11:58AM (#10291198)
    You're telling me that Star Wars used only computer-generated sets? That there were no physical sets involved at all?

    Offtopic I know, but I'm really starting to wish that article submitters could save the commentary for comments...
    • In fact, I am watching a special on G.Lucas and Star Wars this very second (well, actually, my wife is watching it), and there were a great deal of sets.
    • Real stuff (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DragonHawk (21256) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:53PM (#10291474) Homepage Journal
      "You're telling me that Star Wars used only computer-generated sets?"

      Yah, I thought that statement was bogus.

      The interesting part is I've always maintained that the signature look of the original three Star Wars films (Episodes 4, 5, and 6) comes about because they didn't have all the special effects tech they have these days. Computer generated imagery didn't really exist; chromakey didn't exist. Everything was done with models (and paintings for large stuff) and then manually compositited. Even today's best computer models still don't manage to get all the details of a "real" scene completely right. If you look closely, you can still almost always spot the CG models. But in the original Star Wars, every time they blew something up, they actually built something and blew it up.

      (Of course, the artifacts resulting from inaccurate hand compositing detracts from the overall quality, but hey, you can't have everything.)

      I imagine CG models will eventually catch up, but right now, you still can't beat the "real thing".
  • Star Wars had sets (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Larthallor (623891) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @11:59AM (#10291206)
    Star Wars had sets with some green screen work.

    Sky Captain has green screen work with ... even more green screen work.

    This is the future of special effects movies, because of the creative freedom and reduced costs. The hardest part will be for actors to have something to act against. I think this gets solved by creating preliminary computer models as part of the concept art and using it to show the actors, in realtime, what they're interacting with.
    • Get good actors.

      Needing silly things like props or other actors to be able to act is the sure mark of a bad actor. The really good ones can do it on bare stage in solo and sweep the audience along.

  • by ottergoose (770022)
    The TV weather guy is always standing in front a of green screen. It must be really distracting, because the forecasts rarely verify.
  • Star Wars (Score:2, Funny)

    by 9Numbernine9 (633974)
    So most audiences didn't see Star Wars?
    I did - but I can always dream that I didn't!
  • by DumbWhiteGuy777 (654327) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:00PM (#10291214)
    "how the movie is 'unlike anything most audiences have seen before"


    I heard that same thing about Battlefield Earth [imdb.com] before I saw it.
    • well.. you hadn't probably seen crap of the same magnitude before! and this says it's taking the genre to new heights!!!!
    • That was bizzare that film, I managed to sit through the first 30 minutes and the story isn't that bad. However the way its all executed is unfathomable, travolta is playing his role very campy while the human characters are trying to be so earnest they seem almost inhuman.

      Haven't read the book but i reckon they could of done something really good with it. Shame really.
  • by scotay (195240) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:00PM (#10291216)
    Hibbert: No.
    Lisa: No.
    Marge: No.
    Wiggum: No.
    Bart: No.
    Patty: No.
    Wiggum: No.
    Ned: No.
    Selma: No.
    Frink: No.
    Lovejoy: No.
    Guy hyping Sky Captain: Yes. I mean... um, I mean, no. No, heh.
    • Actually most of Tron was brute forced effects using tons of layers of traditional layering. The key difference between Tron and Skycaptain, is that when Tron did it, it was as a form of "artsy" Extreme special effects...and extremely costly and time consuming. In the case of Skycaptain it's now to the point that one could do this "business as usual" Where it's cheaper and easier to do it their way.

      Star Wars 1& 2 as well as LOTR were nearly Skycaptain in their use of special effects. Skycaptain fin

  • by rjelks (635588) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:01PM (#10291218) Homepage
    I saw this last night. I was interested in the visuals, after reading about the filming method. After ten minutes, the novelty of the effects wore off. I could get past the 30'-style campiness, but the actors didn't seem to be interacting with each other. As the movie progressed, you could tell that the actors were acting by themselves in many of the scenes. It was a neat idea, but it got really distracting for me after a bit. I think for a short film, it would have been pretty cool, but a full-length feature? I was bored out of my mind by the end of the movie...just my $0.02.
    • I also ended up getting bored. I just couldn't stop thinking "This looks like one of those 'interactive movies' computer games from the nineties.

      The CG wasn't even that good, in some scenes the Doom 3 engine could have rendered more convincing backgrounds.

      Plus the actors didn't seem like they wanted to be there.

      The biggest hole in the movie though: Where is everyone? It seems like the main actors are the only people that populate this world. Polly would run around the streets but no one else is to
    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @05:42PM (#10293042) Homepage Journal
      I could get past the 30'-style campiness

      Get "past" it?
      Do you have to "get past" the zombies in Dawn of the Dead? Or the spaceships in Star Wars?
      Did you have to "get past" all that fantasy nonsense in LOTR?
      You had to get past the film itself...sad.

      I was interested in the visuals, after reading about the filming method.

      Oh, that's why you went to see it. Not to see a movie, but to see the result of a technological process. Well, then...

      you could tell that the actors were acting by themselves in many of the scenes.

      Really? [yahoo.com] Are you sure? [yahoo.com]
      You're not just, you know, looking for flaws, even if you have to make them up are you?

      It was a neat idea, but it got really distracting for me after a bit. I think for a short film, it would have been pretty cool, but a full-length feature? I was bored out of my mind by the end of the movie.

      You went to see a special effects demonstration, and you got annoyed that they were showing you a movie. I just saw it. Its not perfect, but I wasn't looking for a demonstration of technological achievements, I was looking for a movie, so I got what I wanted.

      I guess its a question of expectations and of the frame of mind you're in when you go see it.
  • Star Wars? (Score:2, Informative)

    by antikarma (804155)
    Many of the scenes in Star Wars were filmed in Tunisia. None of the films are completely computer generated.
  • .. but I downloaded the trailers for sky captain and chrome and REALLY disliked both of them, I was strongly reminded of the original buck rogers black and white telly series, and I guess they were trying to recreate that sort of feel, but I for one didn't like it in the least.... at least the original buck rogers producers didn't have a choice ... this stuff strikes me as using a p4 3.2 extreme edition to emulate and old breakout game and say "but hey, it's UXGA now and the bricks are rendered in opengl
  • by Snart Barfunz (526615) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:02PM (#10291230)
    ... the CGI future-retro backgrounds are completely replaced, re-locating the entire plotline to the fictional town of Springfield.
  • by chiph (523845) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:04PM (#10291231)
    I saw it last night -- highly recommended. It will probably will come to be regarded as the "Star Wars" of this decade -- something that changed the entire nature of filmmaking.

    There may not have been any sets, per-se, but there were a fair amount of props used in close-ups (like where the characters were leaning against a railing), so not absolutely everything was painted green. :-)

    Chip H.
    • It will probably will come to be regarded as the "Star Wars" of this decade

      I doubt that. I saw it too, and also thoroughly enjoyed it. But, in my opinion, it lacks the feel of mythology that was an important part of what made Star Wars so special.

    • I saw it last night as well, and was bored out of my mind. The problem is that you can tell at the beginning of every scene exactly what is going to happen for the next 10 minutes -- it's all cut and pasted from previous sci-fi/action movies.


      The aircraft carriers and the rocket ship were pretty cool to look at, but two cool 3D models aren't enough to entertain for 90 minutes.

  • by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp&gmail,com> on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:04PM (#10291232) Homepage
    Slashvertisement
    'slash-v&r-'tIz-m 'slash-'v&r-t&z-m&nt, -t&-sm&nt
    Function: noun
    1 : the act or process of advertising on Slashdot via news articles
    2 : an advertisement with a really big knife
  • by Polo (30659) * on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:07PM (#10291240) Homepage

    There's an article about this on Apple's website:
    Apple - Pro/Video - Kerry Conran [apple.com]
  • You know... (Score:5, Funny)

    by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp&gmail,com> on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:14PM (#10291275) Homepage
    I would bet that a lot of the digital effects used in this film were rendered and perhaps even designed with Linux. If they were done with Windows they would have used a blue screen.
  • only voice talent, since the CGI characters will be so realistic looking. And how long before that can be totally replaced by generated actors you can't tell from the real thing who have generated voices which inflect and, indeed, sound like the real thing?

    It sounds like a great challenge, but ultimately it takes the fun out of filmmaking, don't you agree?

    GJC
  • I think the big deal behind the green/blue screen is that this movie didnt suck.
    Yes we all saw Star Wars EP I and II, but movies that suck dont count, we try to erase them from memory.

    Much like Matrix it was all that people talked about, then after 2nd and 3rd one. That movie dissapeared from people's minds within months.

    So officially this is the first movie that was done entirely on a green screen.
  • by snStarter (212765) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:32PM (#10291360)
    ...like mentioning World War One in 1939. And strobe flash photography.

    I enjoyed the look and feel of the film, and Paltrow (a lot), and the luscious close-ups, but the story was just LAME. The film treated pre-WWI Germany as if it were Nazi Germany -- totally different kettles of fish.

    On the other hand the last two words of the movie were hilarious.
    • Man are you confused. World War One was 1914-1918. It was talked about quite a bit in 1939, actually. Why should that surprise you? World War Two was 1939 (1941 for the US) to 1945. Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP = "Nazi") came to power in 1933/34. And you are surprised about people talking about this in 1939 ... why?

      History. Without it, you end up with crap like the current Iraq war "strategy" (HA!) promulgated by nitwits like those currently in charge.

      All that said,
      • Sequence (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DragonHawk (21256) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:59PM (#10291510) Homepage Journal
        "Man are you confused. World War One was 1914-1918."

        Right. And until they had another one, it was called "The Great War" or "The World War". They didn't know to call it "World War One" until there was a second one.

        This reminds me of the gag with the guy who finds a coin dated "50 BC".
      • Man are you confused. World War One was 1914-1918. It was talked about quite a bit in 1939, actually.

        I haven't seen the film but if they did refer to first world war as "World War One" before or during the second world war then that probably wouldn't make much sense. The second world was limited to eurasia and northern africa up until pearl harbour when it became a real world war.
  • by mbourgon (186257) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:33PM (#10291365) Homepage
    Think Indiana Jones, but on an even bigger scale. Globetrotting around the world, giant robots, flying aircraft carriers, underwater planes, etc. Yes, you need to turn off your sense of disbelief, but it was an absolute blast. Ebert said it best, it went from Conrad's mind to film without reality intervening. A glorious film about an alternate reality we should've had.
  • by MalachiConstant (553800) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @12:39PM (#10291393)
    You know, I'm rather surprised that so many people seem to think the retro feel is some kind of handicap to this movie. It's the whole point of the movie.

    You might as well say "Yeah, I like 2001 but why'd they have to put it in space?".

    I've always liked the 30's vision of the future: dirigibles, flying fortresses, giant steel robots. And the old serials had a certain charm, you know that crawl at the beginning of star wars? Lucas got that idea from serials, which would use it to catch everyone up on the last episodes. Longtime fans of MST3K will remember "The Phantom Creeps" serials and especially "Radar Men From The Moon".

    Sky Captain is a direct homage to these serials. I imagine that this movie would be the dream of any kid who watched those.

    I guess it's a very different genre of movie from anything that's been produced in the last 70 years. Sky Captain isn't the best movie ever, but it's a lot of fun to watch the "we-make-it-up-as-we-go-along" style of storytelling. He crashes his plane into the ocean? No problem, Dax fitted it with submersible gear. Who cares if that's ridiculous. It's supposed to be, but it's still exciting.

    I mean, how can you hate a beautiful movie like this, a british commander on a hovering air field saying things like "Alert the amphibious squadron!".

  • by pudge (3605) *
    The melding of the actors to their backgrounds in this movie looked less realistic than the CBS memo forgeries. It was just bad. Now, I only saw the trailers, so it is possible that I am overreacting. But from other comments I've heard and read, and considering you normally don't put your worst shots in trailers, I doubt it.

    Also, I've only seen trailers, but what struck me is the complete lack of different camera angles. Every shot of a person was basically level (from the feet up or waist up), or clos
  • Here is an article on the production process for this movie.
    http://www.apple.com/pro/video/conran/

    The washed colors with a sepia tone and slight blur is deliberate. Ms. Paltrow was right. It was a blue screen that they used.

  • by koganuts (526569) on Sunday September 19, 2004 @01:01PM (#10291520)
    The upcoming Sin City [imdb.com] (based on Frank Miller's graphic novel series, and it's directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller) uses a similar filmmaking technique as "Sky Captain," although not to the same degree. An FAQ is here [imdb.com].

    Compare the behind-the-scenes footage [themoviebox.net] to the trailer [movie-list.com] that was shown at this summer's San Diego Comic-Con [comic-con.org] (they had originally posted a 640x480 version [movie-list.net] but it's been replaced by a 480x272 version [movie-list.net]).

    Check it out (there's a brief topless scene, so it's not SFW), if only for the shots of Jessica Alba dancing around seductively in leather chaps. :)
  • Saw it & loved it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Sunday September 19, 2004 @01:52PM (#10291797)
    Okay, I saw it, and loved just about everything about it, except the opening title sequence was so jarringly out of place - it's like a standard opening title sequence for a regular movie, not for a 30s/40s sci-fi homage. Weird.

    I thought the storyline was great, the characters were very well realized, and the special effects were fantastic, most especially the designs. The more 30s & 40s sci-fi/action serials you've read/seen, the more you'll realize how effin' brilliant this homage is. If you've never read or seen anything from that era, you're really gonna hate this movie, though you may have enough artistic appreciation in your soul to see the beauty in the designs (though I doubt it, from most of the comments in here thus far).

    The effects aren't _intended_ to be realistic. Another movie that did this to great effect was last year's fantastic version of "Peter Pan," which I very highly recommend. Kerry Conran (writer & director) came up with the idea to make, essentially, a comic book come to life, IN THE STYLE OF THE COMICS. _That_ is something noone has done before. The 'set' design evokes a time that never really existed (well, much like most movies do). I love the revisionist history, Hindenburg III, indeed, and docking with the Empire State Building like the original - nice touch! I found out that some New Yorkers don't even know about that.

    I think a travelling museum piece about all of the things that influenced the making of "Sky Captain" would be a pretty marvellous thing.

    re: the acting

    Okay, it wasn't bad, first off. They did what they intended to do, so guess what? You missed the whole point. This is a comic book. Use your brain and think about the things that implies, okay?

    The character I was most impressed with was Dex - a character that could have easily have been a helpless little geek character. Instead, he's the one responsible for most of the technical innovation the good guys use. His inspiration? Comic books! Brilliant. And I want that ray gun of his in the worst kind of way! Every time Cap said, "Good boy," I wanted to beat the shit out of him. And I cheered when Cap socked Polly. :)

    I'd say anyone bitching about this would bitch about the original Star Wars (A New Hope) if they were seeing it for the first time now. You've got no soul.

    And people are _bored_ by this movie? Geez. I feel really sad for you.
  • Star Wars References (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dfiant (13407) on Monday September 20, 2004 @12:06AM (#10294990)
    I caught at least three Star Wars/George Lucas references when I watched it:
    • The door of the laboratory (where Polly breaks the window with a rock) is numbered 1138. 1138 is a number commonly seen in Lucas' films ("Prisoner transfer from cell block 1138.") and is a reference to THX-1138, Lucas' first movie.

    • (Pretty sure about this one) When Joe and Polly are on approach to Franky's mobile airstrip, the radio hisses with "Permission granted to land on platform 327." This was a line spoken by the air traffic controllers of the tibanna gas mining station on Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back.

    • When Joe's plane surfaces in Dr. Totenkopf's secret base, they emerge in a kind of swampish area, with some remarkable similarities to Dagobah. In fact, if you watch as they walk away, you can see a swamp monster arch its back out of the water just as it did in The Empire Strikes Back.

    I'm sure there are more, these are just little bits I picked up on.

Chemist who falls in acid is absorbed in work.

Working...