Film Friday – Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Sky Captain

May 29, 2020 – Day of my quarantine

Before I begin this post I just want to say- I woke up this morning feeling so damn good.  I felt so grateful and full of joy. I gave some thought to this and felt it was important to share this thought – Never be too afraid to make the difficult decisions in your life because those are the ones that will have the most impact later down the road. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve had to make a few major life-altering decisions and this morning I became really conscious of the fact that I made the correct ones.

(from Wikipedia)

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a 2004 American science fiction actionadventure film written and directed by Kerry Conran in his directorial debut, and produced by Jon AvnetSadie FrostJude Law and Marsha Oglesby. The film stars Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie. It is an example of “Ottensian” (pre-WWII) dieselpunk.[2]

Conran spent four years making a black and white teaser with a bluescreen set up in his living room and using a Macintosh IIci. He was able to show it to Avnet, who was so impressed that Avnet spent two years working with him on his screenplay. No major studio was interested, but Avnet convinced Aurelio De Laurentiis to finance Sky Captain without a distribution deal (a worldwide distribution deal would later happen with Paramount Pictures).

Almost 100 digital artists, modelers, animators, and compositors created the multi-layered 2D and 3D backgrounds for the live-action footage, while the entire film was sketched out via hand-drawn storyboards and then re-created as CG animatics. Ten months prior to shooting the live action scenes, Conran first shot them with stand-ins in Los Angeles, then converted that footage to animatics so the actors could accurately envision the film.

Despite being a box office bomb, generating only $58 million at the box office on a $70 million budget, Sky Captain received largely positive reviews, particularly for the style of filming that was used; some criticism was directed at the plot and characterization. The film has since gained a following and is regarded as a cult classic. It was one of the first major films, along with Casshern (2004) and Immortal and Sin City (2005), to be shot entirely on a “digital backlot“, blending actors with CG surroundings.

One role that I think never gets enough credit is Giovanni Ribisi’s portrayal of Dex – the way he chews gum is amazing acting –

Sky Captain

Despite its lack of critical success, this is simply one of my very favorite films. I love everything about it – most especially the (at the time) pioneering special effects and production values. AND I have waited 20 LONG YEARS for the Art Book to be available and THIS MORNING I FINAL GOT TO ORDER IT ON AMAZON! 

Keven Conran

Here’s a short video of Kevin Conran discussing his art designs for the film –

It’s also no coincidence that my preliminary sketches for the upcoming newly redesigned Mysterious Mechanic logo will have elements from this film’s design aesthetic. But more on that later –

Sending you all my Love and Light. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Stay Sane. Stay Strong out there.

Until next time …