By Michael Sobota
The Rocketeer (1991) is silly, superficial, shallow, sensational and thrilling. Wait, it isn’t silly. It’s SILLY! But with thrilling interludes.
Set in Los Angeles in 1938, it’s the story of a wanna-be pilot (Billy Campbell), an aeronautics designer (Alan Arkin, he makes planes), a wanna-be actress (Jennifer Connelly, remember this is Los Angeles), and a whole slew of nefarious and dastardly villains, some just your neighbourhood con artists and some as bad as an imperialist Nazi spy (Timothy Dalton, disguising himself as er, a Hollywood actor).
Forget the corny dialogue and a plot that has more twists than the Los Angeles freeway. This is a Disney film based on a comic book character and it looks “like a million dollars.” Actually, $38 million dollars was spent on the film and it looks it. Utilizing both natural and easily recognizable landmarks (the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory and the Goodyear blimp disguised as a Nazi blimp).
Wait, what are all these Nazi’s doing in the plot? Oh yes. It’s 1938 and that war was going on. The young hero (Campbell) accidently discovers this rocket-pack suit stolen from Hughes Aircraft (yes, it was designed by Howard Hughes) and accidently discovers how to use it. Everyone else in the move is hunting the rocket pack and Campbell spends as much time trying to keep away from them as he does with his sweetheart, Jennifer Connelly.
But I wasn’t worried: this is an American film and a Disney film, and there is no other ending but truth and justice winning out, the Nazi’s vanquished and the girl kissing her boy, to a soaring orchestral score.
The Great Digital Film Festival 2015 continues all week, through February 5, at SilverCity. For full details and screening schedules go to Cineplex.Com/Digitalfilmfest or pick up a information brochure on site at the theatre.