I liked Sky Captain and the World of To-morrow. I walked out of the theatre feeling like a kid.
Its main virtue is its full body slam effect. If that doesn't hit you, I can see plenty of reasons why you wouldn't like it. One of Franklin's main gripes was that the movie stole actual robot and ship designs from other things. This didn't bother me too much because, for one thing, I'm easy-going to a fault, and also because I knew these designs'd never been like this before. Max Fleischer's robots never felt so actually huge and the nostalgic look not only served in its own right, but also as an edifice of alienness. It ain't just designs that are reviewed in the film, there's also Lawrence Olivier. And I think if you can appreciate the reasons for which Olivier is resurrected, you can also appreciate why the designs were. It has to do with ghosts whose meaning has become pure atmosphere.
That's the key to this movie halfway between colour and sepia. It's not about how great movies were back then. It's about hitting the right chords for the audience by any means possible. Alfred Hitchcock said, "I enjoy playing the audience like a piano." And I think that's the foremost rule of storytelling. And, as it turns out, employing these designs simultaneously creates freshness while creating a wonderful atmosphere of ghosts. That they're sometimes employed enormously out of context is even more appropriate, emphasising the feelings of these antiquated goggles, if you will, rather than the statement.
I did have some problems with the film. Although I liked all the actors, I didn't think they were appropriately cast. Part of me thinks Gwyneth Paltrow would've been better as Sky Captain and Jude Law better as Perkins. Law's gorgeous, but I really wanted to see Clark Gable in his place. There's something too vulnerable about Law for the role. Paltrow looked great, too, but I wished she'd been more forceful. But I think that may be an issue of personal taste.
There were a number of problems of plot, such as characters referring to World War I in 1939, when they ought to've been referring to it as the Great War. It kind of bothered me, though at the same time I wondered if it had to do with the innocent mindset of the story's vision--that it infected the writer.
Anyway, though. Good movie.