The Rocketeer, 20th Anniversary Edition, Blu-ray (1991/2011)
Starring: Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton
Director: Joe Johnston
Music: James Horner
Studio: Walt Disney Studios 108373 [12/13/11]
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French
Length: 109 minutes
Let me first admit that I’ll go instantly for any movie that has a dirigible in it, and also for any that has a building constructed to look like something else, usually corny. And Rocketeer has both! This comic-bookish flick—an earlier effort of the same director who just directed the excellent Captain America—was originally a flop at the box office, but has the same gee-whiz 1940s American stance and is really fun.
It was based on a 1980s graphic novel by Dave Stevens and features a hero with a similar strap-on rocket to his body as Captain Cody used to have in the serials of the ‘40s. (Nobody has the least concern how these guys can fly around without burning their behinds or legs.) Young test-pilot Cliff and his genius engineer played by Alan Arkin discover a mysterious jet-pack which had been stolen by someone from Howard Hughes, who had given up on its further development. Cliff wants to use it to get the two of them out of hock before returning it to the authorities, but they soon encounter the Feds as well as an assortment of really terrible villains. The worst one is a current top Hollywood swashbuckling star played by Timothy Dalton, who turns out to be a secret Nazi (the story is set in 1938). And the evil gangsters have a giant hood who seems to be a cross between Odd Job and Frankenstein’s monster.
Cliff’s girlfriend is a would-be Hollywood bit-part actress, and though at first she won’t believe him, eventually helps him to battle huge odds to defeat the various foes who want the jet-pack — the worst of them to be part of an evil plan to rule the world. The young pilot ends up becoming an amazing hero to all. Love that Bull Dog Cafe built in the shape of a bull dog! But no extras?
This limited edition Record Store Day vinyl release transcends movie scores.