Joe Johnston also directed Captain America: First Avenger
Pilot Cliff Secord (played by Bill Campbell) has a bad day when some gangsters shot his plane that he is testing before he uses it in the Nationals. Before he can crash land the plane back on the field, one of the gangsters hides a jetpack in the cockpit of a beat up plane. Needing money, Cliff and his partner Peevy (played by Alan Arkin) decide to use the beat up plane to get the money they have lost from the crashing of the new plane. Finding the jetpack, Cliff gets Peevy to fix it up right so that he can use it in the airshow to get the money they need. As soon as he makes his first appearance with the jetpack, the Rocketeer is famous as well as being hunted by the FBI, movie star Neville Sinclair (played by Timothy Dalton), and the mob. After being confronted by some gangsters, Peevy and Cliff decide to give the jetpack to the FBI but right as they are about to Cliff discovers that his girlfriend Jenny (played Jennifer Connelly) has been taken by the gangsters and Neville Sinclair for ransom. Cliff has no other choice, he has to use the jetpack one last time to become the Rocketeer so he can save the life of the girl he loves even if that means giving over the jetpack to the Nazis.
YEAH..LIKE IN THE COMIC BOOKS:
Is it any wonder why I would like this movie considering that it’s based off of a comic book of the same name, The Rocketeer? It takes place during 1938 with a stunt pilot that finds a jetpack that he uses to become a superhero. Now in the movie he’s not quite a superhero in the normal sense where he has powers and wears tights. Instead he’s just a normal guy that has a great knack for flying, puts on a very cool helmet, a cool leather jacket, some boots, and off he goes to save a friend who is in trouble in a broke down plane. Becoming popular for being the flying man brings attention from the antagonists of the movie, the gangsters and a movie star who is actually a spy for the Nazis. Being such a good guy, the Rocketeer can’t allow these villains to get their hands on the jetpack but he also has to rescue the damsel in distress, his girlfriend. See, all adds up to being a superhero, the super part comes in because he’s flying around with a jetpack and regardless of being in 1938 or now 2011, no one has a jetpack so that right there is cool enough to make you super.
Now, I like the plot for reasons I just stated but the execution of pages to reel is a little different. When the Rocketeer came out in 1991 it wasn’t with rave reviews, though I did like it and I still do and I can’t really figure out why this movie hasn’t done as good as it should have. Compared to some of these other huge budget block busters, the Rocketeer should have been a gold mine. The movie has a strong plot, the story though is basically a damsel in distress story that has the main character being such a good guy he has to go save her regardless of his own health. Along with that it also contains strong characters that are fun to watch, actors that do a good job in taking their characters from make believe to people that could be real, and then at the end has a nice little twist to the reason as to why the jetpack is being sought. Maybe if this had the money put into that some of these huge summer blockbusters have it would have had better special effects but to me this movie did a good job.
There are some minor parts that has to be overlooked some, like the fact that during a shootout between the FBI and a giant gangster, about a billion bullets are shot but only one person is hit, and he was hit at the start of the shootout. How this happens can only be given the answer, only in movies, because it starts cause the gangster shoots through the front door killing the FBI agent, that leads to them shooting the house with so many bullets that it tears the house down. At no time does any of the 3 men inside the house gets hit by a bullet even though they are going through the walls and the glass windows. There is also the poor makeup done on the giant gangster who is given this face that looks horrible and it’s because it don’t move. Even when he talks it don’t move and makes the scene laughable because of how shoddy it looks. But still, even with these small aspects going against it, the movie is a lot of fun to watch, it has a good story, it has good acting in it, and it has what a lot of movies don’t these days, a story that when watching for the first can give the viewer a twist as to what’s really going on with one of the characters.
ROCKETEER HITS BLU RAY FOR 20TH ANNIVERSARY:
20 years ago this movie came out and it has taken a movie that could have looked old and turned it into one that looks good. The picture quality still has some noise in it, which is easily seen on any scene that has black or a darkness in it, and even some during the lighter scenes. It’s not enough to distract from the movie but it’s there. About the only difference I can say that can be seen on the Blu Ray version is the coloring is brighter. The colors in this don’t look at all like it’s 20 years old, maybe about 5 to 10 years at most making this Blu Ray look nice, even compared to movies that have been made in the last 5 years. I think Disney has done a good job transferring over a 20 year old movie to Blu Ray, with good picture quality, better coloring, and audio levels that had me turn down the volume some at the start but kept that even level through the whole movie. The only disappointing point to this Blu Ray is that there are no special features at all on it. Even though it came out in 1991 there should have at least been some commentary given on it by the director or actors. I would have loved to have heard Bill Campbell and Jennifer Connelly talking about this movie now.