‘Sky Captain’ flying too low

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It can be cool when someone puts a new twist on something old.

In “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” director Kerry Conran does just that, using 21st-century computer-animated special effects to breathe new life into the ’40s science fiction genre. You get giant robots, flying machines, jet packs and ray guns, all without the B-grade props and visible wire work. This concept has enough potential to be an epic science fiction story, but Conran doubles as screenwriter, which is where the film falters.

The three main actors who either have won or been nominated for Academy Awards were painfully underutilized in this film. Jude Law plays the ace fighter pilot Joe “Sky Captain” Sullivan; Gwyneth Paltrow plays the sassy news reporter Polly Perkins; and Angelina Jolie is Franky Cook, the leader of a top secret British air force. Another notable supporting actor in the film is Giovanni Ribisi, who has played Phoebe’s brother on the television show “Friends.” Giovanni plays Dex Dearborn, an ultra-genius on the side of the good guys. All the actors play their roles well but could easily be replaced by any other competent actors at a fraction of the price.

The plot itself plays like a Saturday morning cartoon with convenient plot resolutions and lots of explanatory dialog. The action is entertaining enough, though hardly exciting. You never get the edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting excitement that you might expect an action movie to deliver.

Then again, this movie is not really an action movie; it is more a science fiction whodunit.

The whole film has a golden brown tint to it which is quaint and an obvious nod to the television shows and movies to which this film pays tribute. And perhaps it would be more enjoyable for the viewer to go into this movie with that in mind.

If you go to see “Sky Captain” and you are looking for a heart-pounding action film filled with awe-inspiring special effects, then you have gone to the wrong place. If you are looking for an intelligent science fiction story of epic proportions, where the fate of the world hangs in the balance, then you won’t find it in this film. Maybe you’re looking for a film that showcases the best acting Hollywood has to offer; if so, you probably do not have to worry about to missing this one.

But, if you are looking for a fun film that won’t make you think too much, or if you are a sci-fi fan looking for a film that pays tribute to the science fiction picture shows of days gone by, then this is the film for you.

I’d recommend “Sky Captain” to anyone looking for something to do while under the influence, or for anyone looking to kill time and wondering if there is anything worth watching as a half-price matinee. This film could have been so much more, but fair is fair, so I’ll leave you with this: this film is not necessarily bad; it just does not shine or cut like the laser beam of a ’40s ray gun.