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Netflix Pick: High Flying Adventure in ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’ (2004)

Today's pick is an exciting and imaginative adventure starring Jude Law.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a 2004 action/adventure about a series of attacks from giant flying robots in New York City, where a reporter teams up with a pilot in search of their origin, as well as the reason for the disappearances of famous scientists around the world.

Today’s Netflix Pick is a real stunner, a hugely experimental film that is jaw-dropping for its visual effects along a pretty great story after that. Starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law, the film – for some reason – was a box office dud, failing to recoup its budget, but critics gave it a lot of praise, and for good reason, because it’s a grand adventure unlike most anything you’ll ever see. It’s Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

THE STORY: Directed by Kerry Conran, the film takes place in an alternate universe where, in 1938, a technology-advanced society sees the Hindenberg III arrive in New York City with Dr. Jorge Vargas (Julian Curry) on board, a scientist who arranges for a package containing two vials to be delivered to Dr. Walter Jennings (Trevor Baxter). Suddenly, Vargas disappears, and he’s not the only one. On the case is Polly Perkins (Paltrow), a reporter for The Chronicle, who begins looking into his disappearance and five others like him. She meets Jennings but then, an army of massive robots attack the city and officials call in Sky Captain Joe Sullivan (Law) and his air force to save the day. Believing their is a link between the robots and the missing scientists, Perkins and Sullivan set out to get answers and discover a mysterious mastermind is up to no good.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, 2004 © Paramount Pictures

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: A creative tour de force, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a lush and inviting computer animated-enhanced film that delivers big for those looking for something new. It’s pure escapism that recalls many of the classic serial adventures of the Golden Age of cinema while retaining a sort of sci-fi future action-esque quality. Angelina Jolie shows up briefly as the commander of an aircraft carrier and has some great presence in the second half. But no matter the great performances, including that of Olivier who had been dead for 13 years before the film was made – his role is a digital manipulation of previous roles – the movie is all about the impressive and imaginative visuals that seal the deal. It’s a gorgeous movie with plenty of fun and excitement. Don’t heistate. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.