In an attempt to catch up with my tbr and tbv piles, I pushed Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow into the dvd player last week. I didn't finish watching it, and this is why:
Miss Perkins, that camera has a bloody neck strap. Put it around your bloody neck! I couldn't believe her as a photographer, and the omg i dropped my camera and must rush back into deadly peril to retrieve it thing stopped being suspenseful and became evidence of mental impairment at the second instance.
She dropped her camera howevermany times, she forgot her film! and the filmmakers expect me to believe that she got the maguffins all the way to Nepal in her flappy coat-pocket? No.
The running gag about saving her last shot was poorly paced, and the weight of the looming, inescapable payoff--she's going to waste the last shot & probably ruin the roll--was hanging over my head like the rubber prop sword of Damocles.
Usually the point of the 'accidental destruction of evidence' trope is to prevent the unbelievable truth (Loch Ness Monster, aliens, sasquatch, ghosts) from being revealed and to leave the protagonists and audience united in being the only ones who know the unbelievable truth. But I couldn't see such a point working in the established World of Tomorrow, where giant robots swoop down onto cities and zeppelins moor on skyscrapers.
The other running gag, about whether she'd sabotaged Joe's plane, lost its humour for me early on, when he said that as a result he'd been imprisoned in a slave labour camp where they threatened to cut off his fingers. The film skimmed over that with a sort of yeah, yeah, you big baby air, but surely I'm not the only viewer for whom physical mutilation or threats thereof is one great big unholy squick?
It's a quandary. If I'm meant to take that mutilation as a serious possibility in the film, then Polly loses all my sympathy. If I'm not meant to take it so, then this is a film where nothing permanent can happen to any of the main characters, and the events lose all suspense.
Probably I would have been better off watching on the big screen, where the set design would have overwhelmed the characters and just squashed me back in my seat aesthetically. The opening, by the way, I did love, with the Expressionist light and shadows, the zeppelin, the first robot attack with the massive robots crunching through the streets. Maybe the whole show should have been about the robots, and maybe Frankie, a match for them in implacable self-possession.