Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Rocketeer

Starring Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino and Terry O'Quinn as Howard Hughes

Directed by Joe Johnston

Animated Segment directed by Mark Dindal

Release Date: June 21st, 1991

Created by Howard Hughes and coveted by the Third Reich: the ability to fly without an airplane! Soon, this amazing device is in the hands of Cliff Secord and Peevy Peabody, a stunt pilot and mechanic who see the device as an opportunity! The duo create a new mystery man: THE ROCKETEER! They think that no one will come after their strange new device. That is, until mobster Eddie Valentine and Hollywoodland movie star Neville Sinclair are hot on their trail! Can the Rocketeer save the day? Will Cliff save his best gal, background actress Jenny?

If you read a lot of my reviews, you'll see I have a fondness for comic-book based movies, such as The Dark Knight trilogy, DC Animated movies, and The Avengers. So, it should come as no surprise I'd be interested in The Rocketeer, which is based on Dave Stevens' comic of the same name.  In regards to the comic, I've read occasional issues of the IDW 2011 volume, but have not yet read any of Stevens' original work; when I do, I'll type up a review later. In the meantime, let's discuss the film.

If the name Joe Johnston sounds familiar, he's the director of Captain America: The First Avenger, Honey, I shrunk the Kids, and Jumanji. Johnston is a great director (in my opinion) due to his great sense of style, great use of action sequences, and making great family friendly films. So, I think he was a great choice to direct this film. He makes the film such a joy to watch. Sure, the special effects haven't aged that gracefully, but Johnston gives the magic of seeing the Rocketeer such a joyful feeling, it's hard not to smile while viewing.

In terms of performances, they're good but cheesy. You'd think that would be a bad thing, but this is a movie about a man with a jetpack fighting mobsters; it's okay to be a little over the top here. Billy Campbell does a good job as Cliff; he makes the character confident, cocky and a likable protagonist. Jennifer Connelly is a good leading lady, making Jenny more than just a damsel in distress, and actually has a fun character arc involving her acting skills. My favorite character, however, has to be Timothy Dalton's Neville Sinclair. If you were to mix an arrogant actor with a spy, you'd get Sinclair.

Final Thoughts: I LOVE this movie. It's cheesy, but so much fun. The Rocketeer gets my full recommendation. However, I'm disappointed the 20th Anniversary Blu-ray has nothing to offer in terms of documentaries or retrospectives. Let's hope that gets corrected one day.

Rating: 5 out of 5 

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