Saturday, September 12, 2015

Netflix Instant Queue Movie Review: "The Rocketeer" (1991)

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Movie"The Rocketeer"
Director: Joe Johnston
Year: 1991
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

A prototype rocket pack designed by Howard Hughes (Terry O'Quinn) is stolen and winds up in the hands of a young pilot named Cliff (Billy Campbell). But, the man who had it stolen in the first place, an actor named Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton), still wants it and will do anything to get it back. 

We first saw this movie as kids and remembered liking it a lot, though to be honest, it's probably been decades since we had seen it. Now, revisiting the film 20ish year later, we can see why we never had the desire to watch it again through the years. For a film called "The Rocketeer," we expected there to be a lot more use of the top secret rocket pack to fight crime and the criminals. Instead, it really just contains a bunch of people who are mostly fighting on the ground trying to get a hold of the flying machine. Billy Campbell, who plays the title character, is more than underwhelming. We really don't know if it's the actor himself, or just the way the character is written that causes this problem. The Rocketeer as a character isn't that interesting, and by far, the most intriguing thing about him is his outfit. Other than this small feature, he bumbles his way through things to becoming a circumstantial hero. Talk about disappointing. He has to use the rocket pack to stop the guys who are only after him because he kept the rocket pack to make some money instead of returning it to the government when he first found it. Gee, thrilling. Sure, it's his mechanic Peevy, played by Alan Arkin, who ultimately gets the pack to stabilize and sure, Cliff is the first pilot not to die while testing the thing, but it's only by a very thin miracle he doesn't because he crashes just about every single solitary time he uses the damn thing! The ultimate villain is an actor named Neville Sinclair, played by Timothy Dalton, who is a secret Nazi spy. He has hired the mob, who are unaware of Neville's secret Nazi connection, to obtain the device for him. He also tries to seduce Cliff's girlfriend Jenny, played by Jennifer Connelly, who happened to be working as an extra on Neville's new movie as he overhears Cliff and her talking about the top secret rocket pack. This movie boils down to more style over substance, and as a whole, just leaves us wanting more. In an effort to throw an homage to the old 1930's serial, it winds up sacrificing excitement and fails to elevate the genre. People and critics alike have said this is one of Disney's most underrated films and we have to wholeheartedly disagree. Where some people see a complex, charming and throwback of a story, we just see all it's lacking. Never once did we feel anything but utter boredom.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 61%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "Nell"

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