Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Rocketeer

In our first review of Classics Week here at God Can't Fix Dumb, I decided to review one of my favorite movies, The Rocketeer. This is one of those movie from my childhood that got better with time because I literally grew up with the movie. The first time I saw this movie was when I was 5 years old and I have seen it probably 10-15 times over the course of the last 20 years. It still retains the charm of the late 80s-early 90s action movies and it is just an awesome movie.

The Rocketeer tells the story of struggling pilot, Cliff Secord, who obtains a jet pack that was stolen from Howard Hughes by a group of mobsters. The mobsters were trying to obtain the jet pack for a Hollywood actor, who is also a Nazi secret agent. Cliff and his girlfriend, Jenny, get mixed up in the middle of the battle between the US government and the Nazis for control of the jet pack. Each side wants to use it for their own purposes in World War II and an adventure soon follows for Cliff and his friends.

Everything is great about this movie in my opinion. The story is a surprisingly good one for a family movie and it really has an Indiana Jones- vibe to the whole movie. This is an action adventure movie and there is an abundance of both in the film. There is nothing overly complicated in the movie and it is pretty straightforward which is great in a day and age of overly convoluted plots and bloated movies. Also keeping the story firmly centered in the 1940s was a great choice and having it set in 1940s Los Angeles was another inspired choice. The acting is exceptionally solid with Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Timothy Dalton, and Alan Arkin comprising the main cast of the film. Campbell does a great job in the movie shifting between the more action oriented scenes and the dramatic ones. His chemistry with Connelly is solid and you really believe that their characters are truly in love. Dalton plays a great villain in a lot of movies and this one was no exception. He turns in a great over the top performance as a Hollywood star working for the Nazis.

Most people will overlook the fact that Joe Johnston directed this movie. While he hasn't had the most storied of Hollywood careers, he has however been involved in the production of some of the best action movies ever made. He was the art director for the original Star Wars trilogy and the first two Indiana Jones movies. Those are some big time movies to be involved with. He was also the director of the recently released Captain America movie, making it his second comic adaptation behind The Rocketeer.

This is one of those movies that is just great and it is kind of hard to explain to people why. It brings me back to the feeling I had watching the Indiana Jones movies for the first time. This is a great action adventure movie and ranks up in my top 20 movies of all time. Give this movie a watch if you love the Indiana Jones franchise and I promise you that you will not be disappointed.