(In theaters, September 2004) Every two or three years, sci-fi geeks get a little present from Hollywood. Dark City, Equilibrium and now, Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow. They have to be quick, though: The films usually crash and burn with nary a trace, proof that what turns on geeks like myself is just not what amuses mundanes. Oh, it’s not like this is a perfect film, even for pre-sold audiences: Shot in a virtual environment, it has all the stiffness of old studio films. Interaction between characters and stage are reduced to a strict minimum, and there’s an aura of artificiality clogging the naturalism of the direction. The self-consciously pulpish story may not be to everyone’s taste, but even the best intentions can’t compensate for lengthy stretches of banal dialogue. This being said, nothing will stop me from loving this film unconditionally; it’s simply a beautiful piece of nostalgic golden-era SF, filled with big images and classic themes, wonderful machines and crazy ideas. I’m not usually a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow, but it just takes long flowing locks of blonde hair and a sassy attitude to show me the error of my ways. Yes, this is a box-office flop and an incomprehensible curiosity to mass audience. But I’ll be buying the DVD as soon as it comes out; thank you Hollywood, and I’ll wait until the next happy accident.