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JulyDiaz

Episode 189 - Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: LIVE!

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Comedians Joe Mande (The Good Place) and Tawny Newsome (Yo, Is This Racist, Bajillion Dollar Propertie$) joins Paul and Jason to discuss the 2004 science fiction action adventure film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Recored live from Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles, they talk about the awful blue screen effects, Gwyneth Paltrow getting punched, bird planes, and much more.

 

 

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Where to Find Jason, June & Paul:

You can see Jason, June, and Paul in The Disaster Artist.

Paul’s new comedy Drive Share is available on Go90. Paul can be seen on A Futile and Stupid Gesture, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, Opening Night, and Veep. You can see June and Paul on NTSF:SD:SUV:: on HULU. June stars in Blockers, Grace and Frankie on Netflix, as well as Lady Dynamite alongside with Jason.

Jason can be seen in The Good Place, The House, The Lego Batman Movie, How to Be Single, Sleeping with Other People, and is still indeed in The Dictator.

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The lens cap is off

 

Did old camera have lens caps? I can't remember seeing any.

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Based on some behind-the-scenes stuff on the DVD, the movie was intended to be a relatively small film done by a small group working in the middle of the porn industry (Van Nuys), but as it was being shot it was decided that the animation should be 3D rather than the planned flat look, which required rebuilding the group's entire hardware system and an expansion of the crew working on the film. It feels like a lot of the blame for what happened could fall on producer Jon Avnet, who probably should have had tighter reigns on his first-time filmmakers. It also sounds like a classic case of a niche film getting blown up by ambition and the involvement of big names. If Sky Captain had been produced like the indie effort it was intended to be, it wouldn't have cost so much and wouldn't be viewed so negatively (even if the story is pretty weak because it was essentially a tech demo by people more interested in visuals than plot.) I still feel bad for director/writer Kerry Conran. To be one and done like this must suck.

 

Also, Marsha Oglesby, the producer who brought this film to the attention of Avnet, was a co-producer on the HDTGM movie 88 Minutes, and the likely-one-day HDTGM movie Righteous Kill.

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Just an observation...

 

Gwyneth Paltrow stars in Sky Captain, which is essentially a superhero movie, as a character named Polly Perkins. A few years later she goes on to star in Iron Man, another superhero movie, as a character named Pepper Potts. Can we please crowdfund an Underdog movie and have her star as Polly Purebred so Gwyneth can complete her "superhero movie character whose names have P.P. alliteration" trifecta.

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YEAH Indiana Jones! I kept thinking that Kate Capshaw could of nailed Polly, and i feel like that could of maybe made this watchable.

 

All in all i didn't dislike it as much as the gang seems to, but it was real dark, there where some real big problems with the script ( plot, timelines... ), Polly Perkins is a horrible reporter, Gwyneth Paltrow is an horrible actress, Michael Gambon payed some bills and Lawrence Olivier is probably still rolling in his grave. It wasn't good.

 

 

Gwyneth Paltrow stars in Sky Captain, which is essentially a superhero movie, as a character named Polly Perkins. A few years later she goes on to star in Iron Man, another superhero movie, as a character named Pepper Potts. Can we please crowdfund an Underdog movie and have her star as Polly Purebred so Gwyneth can complete her "superhero movie character whose names have P.P. alliteration" trifecta.

 

May i suggest a remake of the Garbage Pail Kids, with the kids now being the... heroes? and with Goop playing Patty Puker?

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I think I read on imdb that this movie was originally supposed to be presented as actual serials stitched together as a full length movie. Fifteen minute segments with cliff hangers, then a quick ending before resuming.

 

While I think this would have been a spectacular failure, I think this movie would work better as serials. Something where I watch 15 minutes then don't see it for a week. I think the film's biggest flaw is it never offers anything new after the opening. But in 15 minute chunks with tiny arcs, I probably would have liked it.

 

Also, I think this look really worked on Gwyneth Paltrow. Someone should make a good movie set in the 1940s with her.

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Did old camera have lens caps? I can't remember seeing any.

Some yes. It depends on the maker. I have a Yashica that looks a lot like that and it came with a lens cap.

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Also, I think this look really worked on Gwyneth Paltrow. Someone should make a good movie set in the 1940s with her.

 

I do think she plays the "brassy broad" well. She didn't have much of a character, but she's fun to watch.

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I think one of the biggest examples of the shortcomings of the shooting style on this film is Paltrow's running around the robots. That's the most half-hearted running ever captured on film. and it's likely because she had limited running room, as the blue-screen area was set up in a relatively narrow space (per the DVD.)

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Paul, based on my name I hope you are ready to be schooled in the camera talk.

 

An automatic camera doesn't really mean anything. Most, if not all, cameras have an automatic feature, which just means that you wouldn't have to worry about resetting the shutter speed or f-stop. But automatic lenses only mean that you also wouldn't have to worry about focusing by your own eye and so you would only need to hold down the shutter button and it would automatically focus for you. What you are referring to is a fixed lens, which means that yes it has no zoom function, but that does not determine the quality of the photo itself. In fact I would say that fixed lenses have a higher quality than zoom lenses because they work faster and tend to have a lower f-stop number. (Basically the f-stop is what makes the background go all blurry, or as we say in the business, have a bokeh effect.)

 

In terms of this certain scenario you pointed out it makes just as much sense for her to have a fixed lens over a zoom lens. Sure she could zoom in to grab a closer shot of the robot, but chances are she's using a 35mm or a 50mm lens so that would actually grab the robot pretty accurately for where she is sitting.

 

Also tbh, Leica only represented around 5% of cameras used by photojournalists at the time, despite that being what everyone pictures when you talk about cameras back then. They were considered not as professional as the Contax and were even referred to as the "Beggar's Contax."

 

Now I didn't watch this movie, but based on the photos of her holding that camera it definitely looks like they gave her an Argus, which as I look up that camera it literally looks spot on, and I'm happy to say that if they did indeed give her a C-3 like I think they did then they got the timing spot on because there were models made from 1939-45 and then another post war model made from 1945-1957.

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Based on this photo I found it looks like you could absolutely put on a telephoto lens (which is a fixed lens that is already zoomed for you), but I imagine that if she were already in the thick of the action she wasn't carrying around a bag of photo equipment with her.

 

30a6a3227167090cde477febaa474e99--dieselpunk-super-heros.jpg

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Paul, based on my name I hope you are ready to be schooled in the camera talk.

 

An automatic camera doesn't really mean anything. Most, if not all, cameras have an automatic feature, which just means that you wouldn't have to worry about resetting the shutter speed or f-stop. But automatic lenses only means that you also wouldn't have to worry about focusing by your own eye and so you would only need to hold down the shutter button and it would automatically focus for you. What you are referring to is a fixed lens, which means that yes it has no zoom function, but that does not determine the quality of the photo itself. In fact I would say that fixed lenses have a higher quality than zoom lenses because they work faster and tend to have a lower f-stop number. (Basically the f-stop is what makes the background go all blurry, or as we say in the business, have a bokeh effect.)

 

In terms of this certain scenario you pointed out it makes just as much sense for her to have a fixed lens over a zoom lens. Sure she could zoom in to grab a closer shot of the robot, but chances are she's using a 35mm or a 50mm lens so that would actually grab the robot pretty accurately for where she is sitting.

 

Also tbh, Leica only represented around 5% of cameras used by photojournalists at the time, despite that being what everyone pictures when you talk about cameras back then. They were considered not as professional as the Contax and were even referred to as the "Beggar's Contax."

 

Now I didn't watch this movie, but based on the photos of her holding that camera it definitely looks like they gave her an Argus, which as I look up that camera it literally looks spot on, and I'm happy to say that if they did indeed give her a C-3 like I think they did then they got the timing spot on because there were models made from 1939-45 and then another post war model made from 1945-1957.

I... I'm just quoting this because I love it so much. Experts in cool fields: This message board HAS THEM!

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Also, the gang frequently mocked this movie for its obsession over maps and charts, but maybe one of the reasons why I didn't dislike it is (I would never say I liked it) is that I have read this book and ENJOYED IT!

 

51OWS8mfCFL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

Granted, it's not as engrossing as the other Simon Winchester book I've read, The Professor and the Madman (aka The Surgeon of Crawthorne), which deals with the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary and the involvement of Dr. W.C. Minor, an American Civil War Veteran who committed murder in England and was then committed to an insane asylum. It's both a crazy story and exceptionally English. Good times.

 

I like minutia, you guys.

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Of the various problems with this movie, I think the lack of charisma of its stars is one of the main culprits to it being as horrible as it is.

 

In particular, Judd Law is woefully mis-cast in a roll that should have gone to someone who could pull off that certain Indian Jones/Han Solo-like smart ass swagger. I'm thinking of an actor along the lines of the Ryan Reynolds, Sam Rockwell or James Roday. Someone who can provide levity, charm and is instantly relatable to the audience. Judd Law is a great actor, but in this roll he came off as stuffy, poncy and smug. You know: traits the hero's nemesis should have.

 

Or better yet, re-cast this role as a strong, intelligent female daredevil with the confidence and joie de vivre of a character like Roxy Rocket. Ta-da!

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Based on this photo I found it looks like you could absolutely put on a telephoto lens (which is a fixed lens that is already zoomed for you), but I imagine that if she were already in the thick of the action she wasn't carrying around a bag of photo equipment with her.

 

She kind of was, but it got exploded :(

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I watched about 15 minutes of this movie, and ended that 15 minutes with the lone note I made being "I want to kick Paul's ass for trying to make me watch this".

 

So, in the spirit of participation, I'm just going to randomly throw in comments about things I like in general.

 

So, here's the first.

 

I'm playing God of War, I LOVE The Witch, she's just so great, to the point of wanting Santa Monica Studios to do DLC which has more of her. Lovely character.

 

maxresdefault.jpg

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She kind of was, but it got exploded :(

Oh that's sad cause that was probably a lot of money for her that she just lost. I certainly hope whoever sent her out there to cover this whole thing reimburses her.

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Haven't listened to the pod yet, but whenever I see the title of this movie I have this scene in my head, so I must post:

 

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mWBKkuk.jpg

 

Oh June I didn't realize today was your birthday!

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One rather ironic omission: for all the kvetching about the movie's alternately-washed-out-and-muddy color scheme and its excessive referencing of The Wizard of Oz, I don't think it was ever brought up that the former is a case of the latter! The opening "black and white" scenes in Kansas are actually sepia-toned (they used to be shown B&W on TV and VHS, but were always originally intended to be in shades of brown rather than gray)!

ezgif-4-01b6680fc3.gif

The scene where Dorothy opens the door to full color Oz even had her dress and the door frame painted sepia so that it could be shot in-frame (ironic that Sky Captain did not use such practical tricks):

https://youtube.com/watch?v=F4eQmTizTSo

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Paul said that even putting aside the terrible looking cgi, this movie is stupid and while I didn't hate this movie as much as some people on the forum, I did notice a couple of stupid inconsistencies.

 

When the Iron Giants invade Manhattan to steal generators, why did they stop flying and start marching down the streets to the destination? Just...fly all the way to the generators.

 

At the lab with the tiny adorable elephant, Polly and Sky Captain find the dying doctor. Sky Captain finds a briefcase and Polly says "Dr. Jennings had this with him this morning at the theater." I just assumed Polly went to Radio City Music Hall to a 6 PM showing. I don't think they would've played the Wizard of Oz at 6 AM? Speaking of, Wizard of Oz came out in 1939. Was this a revival showing?

 

Right before Polly and Sky Captain leave for Shangri-La, Polly sends a telegram to her newspaper editor to tell him of her plans. She tells Dumbledore that she hopes to be back soon with Dex and the story. Does Dumbledore even know who Dex is? Does Dumbledore know that Dex was kidnapped, or even know who he is? Why would he care about Dex?!

 

Towards the end of the movie, Dex finally reveals Totenkopf's plan. Dex says that "when the rocket reaches 100 km, at the edge of space, Earth will be incinerated." For perspective, at 100 km, you'd only be 0.026% on your way to the moon. 100 km is hardly on the "edge of space."

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Sorry for the multiple posts, but I also wanted to ask if anyone else got Citizen Kane vibes from this movie? Citizen Kane was fresh on my mind, thanks to Unspooled (the new podcast series covering the AFI 100), so I noticed a few similarities from Sky Captain. For example, in many dialogue scenes, the screen is divided so that the speaker is facing the camera and on the left, while we only see the back of the head of the receiver/audience on the right of the screen, very similar to shots in Citizen Kane.

 

Then there is the name of the newspaper that Polly works for, The Chronicle. Kane ran the Inquirer, but during the breakfast table montage with Kane's first wife, as their relationship deteriorates we see that Emily starts reading the rival paper, The Chronicle.

 

Lastly, when they showed Totenkopf's castle, did anyone else think this looked like Kane's castle, Xanadu?

 

vDWWt74.png

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