Tue, 19 Oct 2004

Andrew and I were supposed to go into Darcy’s recording studio last night, to continue work on our first ever quasi-professional album (coming soon!). But that was postponed till next Monday. So we went to see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow at the cheap theatre instead.

All you folks in Saskatoon who want to see it better get off your duffs – the show ends Thursday, concluding a record-setting one-month turnaround from triumphant arrival in the fancy theatre to ignominious departure from the cheap theatre. There were about six people in the audience. Before it started, Andrew and I passed the time discussing how a movie with so many appealing elements – flying robots! dinosaurs! Gwyneth Paltrow! – could have been such a resounding flop at the box office. I can only guess that the things I find attractive in a Hollywood blockbuster are the very things that alienate the rest of the moviegoing public: things like ray guns that go “wooble-ooble-ooble-ooble”, and zeppelins galore, and production design borrowed from the cover of Astounding Tales magazine circa 1943. There’s a reason why they don’t publish Astounding Tales any more: kids stopped buying it. It was probably foolish to believe that the same kids would pay ten bucks to see the big-screen version.

As if to underline the film’s hopeless obscurantism, it turns out that Laurence Olivier (who has been dead for at least a decade) plays the role of the film’s villain. I’m not sure how the filmmakers achieved this – whether they pieced together clips from previous Olivier performances, or whether they hired an impersonator to dub in the dialogue for an entirely computer-generated pseudo-Olivier. The point is, somebody went to a lot of trouble to resurrect a dead actor to play a substantial role in this movie, and it’s an actor whom few people under the age of retirement are likely to recognise.

So get out to the theatre and see Sky Captain, the action movie for old people and mouldy figs. Enjoy it while you can, because this is probably the last art-deco giant-robot adventure Hollywood will be making in our lifetimes.

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