Writer: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, William Dear (Screenplay) Dave Stevens (Graphic Novel)
Starring: Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, Terry O’Quinn, Ed Lauter, James Handy
Plot: A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero.
Tagline – Three years before the United States declares war, Cliff Secord leads America’s first battle against the Nazis.
Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Fun Adventure Film
Story: The Rocketeer starts in 1938 as young pilot Cliff (Campbell) and his engineer Peevy (Arkin) find a mysterious jetpack in one of their planes after a group of mobsters crash in their airstrip. Neville Sinclair (Dalton) wants the rocket and has Eddie Valentine (Sorvino) and his men try to retrieve it.
With Neville turning out to be one of the biggest stars in an emerging Hollywood, Cliff’s girlfriend Jenny (Connelly) has a part in his latest movie, which brings him to the attention of Neville and his goons, once he uses the jetpack to save a friend.
Thoughts on The Rocketeer
Characters – Cliff is a quiet, shy and clumsy pilot, well clumsy on land, he has a blossoming romance with aspiring actress, he is always trying to prove he is the best in the sky and when he gets his hands on a jetpack he becomes the Rocketeer. Jenny is the aspiring actress that has only been getting small roles and only wishes Cliff would support her dreams more. Peevy is the engineer that can fix anything for Cliff, he watches him risk his life and knows he can handle himself. Neville Sinclair is a big-name actor in Hollywood, he wants to get his hands on the jetpack and will use his goons to get his hands on it.
Performances – Billy Campbell is good in this leading role, you can see the innocent reactions in his eyes. Jennifer Connelly is good even if she is just mainly the damsel to Cliff’s character. Alan Arkin does get to have fun in his role, while Timothy Dalton works well as the primary villain in the film.
Story – The story here follows a young man that suddenly gets the equipment to make him superhuman with the addition of the jetpack, though the mob are also after the jetpack and he must protect his friends from his secret. This is adapted from a graphic novel and you can see this as it is mostly an origin story about how Cliff became the Rocketeer. When it comes to the villains we get cliched mob figures throughout which is fine, but soon becomes tiresome with their reactions to everything going on. This is however a fun story that can be enjoyed throughout.
Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi – The action in the film is a lot of fun because it is wildly over the top and fits the comic book ideas we are now used too. The adventure takes Cliff from a small time role of a pilot to one of the most wanted men in Hollywood and not for the good reasons. The sci-fi elements from the film come from the inclusion of the jetpack and how it comes from the mind of Howard Hughes.
Settings – The film is set in Hollywood where we have the rise of mobsters in the corrupt on the early stages of Hollywood are shown through the use of the settings.
Special Effects – The effects in the film are good for the most part, the flying sequences are a step forward from the old school Superman films and have dated when it comes to modern film stylings.
Final Thoughts – This is a nice fun film that can be enjoyed, it has dated in places but for a time when comic book movies didn’t come along that often this shows you can make them fun without them being connected.
Overall: Fun from start to finish.