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27 July, 2004

Quite a comeback

A forthcoming film, 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow', is to feature Sir Lawrence Olivier (1907-1989) as the villain.  Yes, he died fifteen years ago, but archive footage of Olivier will be accompanied by new dialogue spoken by another actor.  A strange idea, and one has to wonder whether it's a gimmick (which worked: both the BBC and the Guardian have covered the story and hence publicised the film, months ahead of the UK cinema release), though naturally Jude Law, the film's star, cites artistic reasons, saying 'no living actor possesses the same gravitas and authority'.

In other respects, the film looks quite promising (and I do mean the 'look', the visual styling - the characterisations and plot synopsis mightn't be great): retro sci-fi in an art-deco version of Manhattan. That's retro-sci-fi in the style and spirit of the 1930s 'Flash Gordon' cliffhanger serials, and intentionally about as naturalistic.
It's also interesting that the director, Kerry Conran, has never visited New York, even for the film, and the production digitally recreates the city from old photographs. This is bound to have affected the whole feel of the fictional city, potentially distilling and skewing the essence of the place more than mundane reality could.

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