This reviewer has to admit hating the over-reliance on blue(or green)screen effects for films. There are only a few where it seems to actually be utilized to enhance an otherwise great film, rather than to cover-up budget, creativity and script problems. “SIN CITY” utilized it for good reason, and “perhaps” the upcoming “300” will benefit by it. “SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW” deserves a cautious thumb up. Kerry Conran utilizes it in every single frame, supposedly as the only possible way to convey the kind of world he waxes nostalgic for from days of Flash Gordon serials. The argument against that though, is that none of those serials had that technology and none of them suffered for a lack of it. This reviewer was really worried before seeing the film, that one couldn’t forget these actors were constantly on a blank set, every second of the film, making the acceptance of the imaginary world intended, harder to believe.
That being said, it was pretty easy to forget about the blue screen effects. Sure, the story isn’t anything unexpected, and there are no big surprises, but the film’s throwback to the futuristic world, by way of old-time serial atmosphere, worked incredibly well. Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie are perfectly cast in their roles, and they carry the film well. The look of the film’s giant robots and floating air-guard base, are just a few examples of something that sounds silly, but looks great!
The only real valid criticism towards the film is its uneven pacing. It feels about 20 minutes too long!
PARAMOUNT has preserved the film’s correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio, “for the most part”, that is! When comparing it to the standard dvd, it feels slightly cropped. The difference is almost indistinguishable, but “still”, it’s there.
The intended look of the film produces an extremely soft look in its theatrical presentation. This was how it appeared on dvd as well, and it’s the same here. Every frame on dvd or HD-DVD as well as in theaters, had an overly processed look and while that’s the intended look, it is certain to annoy at least as many as are pleased by it. It also prevents the possibility, by design, of any sharpness. The HD-DVD as with standard dvd, doesn’t provide any sharp image. However, the HD-DVD does provide slightly better detail and depth.
The washed out color design appears the same as it did on standard dvd.
PARAMOUNT has offered a DTS-HD mix as well as Dolby Digital Plus 5.1. However, since the current players don’t accommodate DTS-HD, we could only detect DTS 5.1. Still, this is an advantage the standard dvd didn’t offer. Both mixes are extremely aggressive, with non-stop directional effects and some great low bass moments. Both also suffer from balance inconsistency, as dialogue fights for clarity amongst the layers and layers of effects. The DTS mix has a slight edge in overall fidelity.
The standard dvd had an abundance of impressive extras on the standard dvd release, and “all” of them have been carried over for the HD-DVD!