Saturday, September 18, 2004

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

I grew up during the 1940s and 1950s. The world was a different place then. One way it was different, at least in Mexia, Texas, is that on Saturday afternoon all the kids I knew, and plenty of others besides, went to the double feature at the Palace Theater. The Palace, in spite of the name, was a pretty ratty place, but that didn't matter to its clientele. For about a dime, we got to see two cowboy movies (Johnny Mack Brown, Charles Starrett, Rex Allen, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Allan Rocky Lane, Whip Wilson, Lash LaRue, Monte Hale, Tex Ritter, and you know all the rest). We also got a cartoon, previews of coming attractions, and a serial. Probably my favorite part of the whole afternoon was the serial. Why? I don't really know. I do know that my earliest movie memory is going to the Palace with my grandfather. I have no idea what the movie was, but the serial was The Phantom. At the end of the chapter we saw, The Phantom was sinking into a bed of quicksand. I remembered that scene vividly for well over 50 years, and finally, a few years ago when The Phantom was released on DVD, I got to see how he escaped.

So what does all this have to do with anything? Well, yesterday I went to see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. And I loved it. It was the next best thing to being six years old, back at the Palace Theater. I just sat there with a silly grin on my face for the entire running time and enjoyed the heck out of it.

Yesterday I posted a link to Roger Ebert's review of the movie and recommended it highly, especially the second paragraph. After I posted that, I read James Reasoner's blog, where he comments on a book by Milton Lesser. I highly commend James's comments to you because he echoes Ebert's remarks. And like both of them, I have no problem overlooking the ridiculous plotting and the pseudo-science of something like Sky Captain or Secret of the Black Planet. Those things aren't the point. Having a good time is the point, and at Sky Captain I certainly did that.

1 comment:

Lee Goldberg said...

I thought the look was amazing. Wish I could say the same about the script...