SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW (2004). There was never any reason to believe this movie would be a theatrical success, and Paramount's ill-advised decision to move it from a high-profile summer slot into the off-month of September all but guaranteed its fate. But it still counts as a nice try by all concerned, and one gets the sneaky suspicion that this could turn into a home video sleeper somewhere down the line. A large-scale achievement that manages to seem retro and futuristic, Sky Captain features cutting-edge technology in the service of a storyline that harkens back to the days of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. While the actors are flesh-and-blood - or, in the case of Angelina Jolie, fleshy-and-bloody-hot - practically everything around them was created on computers by debuting writer-director Kerry Conran and his team. The result is a visual marvel, the obvious work of someone deeply immersed in both cinematic and sci-fi lore. I wish that Conran's script and direction exhibited a bit more pizzazz, but they're serviceable enough, with heroic aviator Sky Captain (Jude Law) and spunky reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) trying to unravel a mystery whose ingredients include the disappearance of prominent scientists, the destruction of New York City by gigantic robots, and the emergence of a mysterious figure known as Dr. Totenkopf. From German Expressionism to screwball comedy, from The Wizard of Oz to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Conran's influences often make Sky Captain seem like the fever dream of a hopeless film buff - it may be derivative, but it's never dull. Jolie's character, feisty fighter Franky Cook, holds promise, but unfortunately she's only in the movie for 10 minutes, tops. DVD extras include audio commentary by Conran and his FX crew, a pair of deleted scenes, and the original 6-minute short that Conran used to sell the studio on the idea of a full-length feature.