Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    In its heedless energy and joy, it reminded me of how I felt the first time I saw "Raiders of the Lost Ark." It's like a film that escaped from the imagination directly onto the screen, without having to pass through reality along the way.
  2. Sky Captain is a gorgeous, funny, and welcome novelty.
  3. 90
    As an imaginative visual experience, there's nothing like it. Today, at least.
  4. 90
    A triumph not only for its technical mastery but for its good taste.
  5. 89
    Everything here from costuming and production design to the note-perfect score from Edward Shearmur works in tandem to create not so much a film as a singular and joyous tribute to a vanished age when wonder only cost a nickel and played three time daily at the Bijou.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Conran's Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a pastiche of everything from "King Kong" to "The Wizard of Oz," a movie that escalates to a breathless cliff-hanger every 20 minutes or so and reinvents itself with every reel.
  7. The film's save-the-world scenario may be the stuff of crusty cliff-hangers, its imagery may be borrowed, and its jaunty dialogue anything but deep, but there's something exhilarating going on here. It's darn sublime.
  8. Conran has got himself a looker, with Paltrow in soft focus, the whole world larger than life and a title that, said in the proper low-pitched voice, conveys the tone of the film: exuberant, idiosyncratic and timeless.
  9. Gloriously retro, unashamedly celebratory of the joy of moviemaking and the love of old-fashioned heroism.
  10. The result owes a little to the 1927 "Metropolis," a little to film noir, a little to early depictions of H.G. Wells' science fiction -- notably the 1936 "Things to Come" -- and a little to lovably far-fetched sci-fi serials.
  11. Other than the actors, their costumes, and a few props, everything in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is digital illusion, and the effects are often exhilarating.
  12. An extraordinary technical achievement.
  13. 75
    A collection of such dazzling digital illusions you can't wait for it to hit DVD so you can freeze individual images.
  14. Despite its flaws, Sky Captain indulges that inner kid who always wanted a single movie crammed with robots, airships and dinosaurs, with World's Fair hopefulness and panache.
  15. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    No one has really been asking for a fusion of "Independence Day," Fritz Lang's "Metropolis," and an old Buck Rogers serial, but here it is anyway, and the only thing keeping it from greatness is a good story.
  16. 75
    70% style and 30% substance. It has a plot and characters, but those are almost beside the point.
  17. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Arresting at first but gradually trails off under the weight of its hyper-derivativeness and anxiety to please.
  18. The filmmakers' investment in their weird visions is wildly unorthodox, but the payoff is oddly satisfying.
  19. Too fixated on 1939 for its own good. Its passionate immersion in a past that only dimly resonates with younger audiences may be a badge of its integrity, but that immersion trumps its vision of the future and leaves us in a land of nostalgia.
  20. 70
    It’s an exhilarating experience, and raises the bar for the use of digital technology in film.
  21. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    Conran takes the ghosts in his machine seriously, and the results appear at once meltingly lovely and intriguingly inhuman.
  22. 70
    For Conran, after they finished shooting pesky actors, the real fun began at the computer screen with his delirious imagination in free-fall.
  23. Missing beneath its fabulous surface, however, is anything like a beating heart.
  24. 50
    For all its Buck Rogers-style derring-do, gorgeous vistas of an Art Deco New York and sepia-toned cinematography, Sky Captain is a static, uninvolving experience.
  25. 50
    It's a gimmick, it's not a movie.
  26. This is a sophisticated movie, but one whose sophistication is surprisingly simple-minded.
  27. A lovingly rendered visual treat struggles with indifferent direction and torpid plot.
  28. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    The best way to see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow -- if you see it at all -- is as an interesting experiment that failed.
  29. The movie is like one of those newfangled Vegas casinos, where what appears to be open sky is really painted ceiling. What's initially dazzling becomes stifling.
  30. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Worse, the story is so thin and clichéd, it seems as if a computer wrote the screenplay and a robot directed it.
  31. 50
    So captivating to look at that you can almost forget there's virtually nothing to it.
  32. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Conran hasn't attached his technical virtuosity to a ripping yarn or infused it with behavioral brio. The first of its kind often doesn't work; Sky Captain may be the Moses that leads other directors to a blue-sky, blue-screen promised land.
  33. Reviewed by: William Thomas
    For its writer-director, Sky Captain was a labour of love. For almost everyone else - including the wooden cast - it’s just a labour.
  34. Like so many technological marvels, at the human level it's not only merely dead, it's really most sincerely dead.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 221 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 93
  2. Negative: 38 out of 93
  1. Jun 27, 2013
    I had not read about the movie before watching it and was fascinated within the first several minutes and continued to enjoy it through to theI had not read about the movie before watching it and was fascinated within the first several minutes and continued to enjoy it through to the end. This movie's unique look and feel is its primary vehicle.

    If you are looking for a sophisticated plot, this movie was not made for you. The plot and acting were adequate enough to avoid ruining the visual picture. The makers applied a comic book feel to the movie that allowed for softer edges and sepia tones, both with the animated sets and the human characters. If a set does not look completely realistic, the viewer is not troubled because the set is consistent with everything you see in the movie.
    Full Review »
  2. Alistair
    Jan 22, 2006
    I love this movie. I have to admit it's main appeal is visual with the wonderful sci-fi deco retro design. The opening sequences with I love this movie. I have to admit it's main appeal is visual with the wonderful sci-fi deco retro design. The opening sequences with the berthing of the Hindenberg in the snow are beautiful. The scatter-gun plot captures the feel of classic 30s/40s movie serials (the same ground that Star Wars mined so successfully) well. Sure its a bit silly but it's a great achievement. This is the way of the futrure: marries the capabilities of CGI with human actors. Full Review »
  3. Oct 26, 2014
    Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: 8/10: It was King Kong that made me fall in love with the movie. He doesn't appear himself (unlike ringSky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: 8/10: It was King Kong that made me fall in love with the movie. He doesn't appear himself (unlike ring mate Godzilla who cameos in silhouette in a Japanese newspaper.) but his ship and friends are there and his tree is there. You know the moss covered tree that covers the impossibly deep chasm. To one he uses to fling helpless sailors to there death like some kind of lumberjack games blood sport. There the tree is in glorious color just as I left it in the imagination of my seven-year old self.

    I was enjoying myself up to that point mind you I had for one thing decided that this was an Anime rather than a regular film. (The giant robots make this illusion much more palatable as did an annoying performance by Miss Paltrow. In anime the female characters are almost always whining up a storm.) This allowed all the plot holes creative use of color and scientific flubs to fall by the wayside. I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.

    Of note much has been made of the use of CGI but lets face it. It is simply easier to put CGI effects on an artificial background rather than place them in photo-realistic settings like the snakes of Anaconda: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid or the wolves in Day after Tomorrow have proved most recently.

    Sure Sky Captain is far from perfect (an actual villain would have helped and been more in line with the serials it was emulating), but try telling that to the seven year old in me that kept saying "cool what's next".
    Full Review »