The Movie: 9/10
A movie like The Rocketeer gets high marks for one main thing, it’s friggin’ awesome!! It’s teetering in a time between the 80’s and 90’s just on the tail end of indulgent movie making in the old school manner while being on the beginning of the decade that brought us a new era in spectacular CG special effects . First it’s a story of a young and bumbling pilot in the 1930’s who is falling in love with a somewhat snotty actress who has bigger plans for her life. Second it’s a fantastic adventure that spans everything from real airplanes racing across the sky to swashbuckling to mob and FBI shoot outs. We get a full and rich fun time with this movie, and anyone who says different has ice for a heart.
The cast is literally packed with what I call “anonymous famous” folks. Those are people you have seen hundreds of times in movies and TV shows but you might never know their name and they may never be a “star” in their own right. The thing about an anonymous famous cast is that it’s top quality and every time someone hits the screen it’s compelling, entertaining, and feels even more familiar than the sweet story we are already watching.
I might gush a bit, even though I don’t think it’s a perfect movie, not at all. The thing is, it’s fantastic, and fantastical, and exciting, and pleasurable. Not many movies these days are pleasurable in the way that this little innocent gem strikes me. My husband commented that it predates the modern trend of making characters and things in movies break that wall of mystery and disconnect from real life, Like these days characters are snotty, mouthy, watching YouTube and using their cell phones and referring to things we all know from current modern culture….and that’s kind of boring to be honest. He loves that The Rocketeer is pure fantasy, removed from reality in a way that’s escapism at its best. I agree.
A bad guy on a Zeppelin, FBI men playing the tough guys, mobsters fronting their mobster personas, a charming ensemble crew in the good guys’ corner, the romantic look at the 1930’s, it’s just packed with personality and eye candy. It is the kind of movie that makes my youthful movie lover come alive. That feeling of “wow wouldn’t it be cool to be in that world, in that moment of crazy action, a cafe shaped like a bulldog, flying in an airshow dressed like a clown, a car chase in really old cars, all the physical comedy and stunts, it’s just full of wonderful pleasure:) Need I say more?
Oh, I’ll say one more thing, Alan Arkin as Peevy is one of my favorite movie characters ever. One more, Jennifer Connely must have drank that potion from Death Becomes Her, seriously…she hasn’t aged in 20 years!! Mysterious!
- Original Trailer – A short poor quality trailer, really Disney this is not how to do a 20th anniversary release 🙁
Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
The cover does it for me. I would have it as a poster, mostly because I do love the movie. I like the cheeky vibe and the throw back to a kind of old fashioned image from old movie promotional materials. The menu…not sure, as my husband. He had the movie starting by the time I got in the room:)
Audio & Video: 8/10 (By Ascully)
I have been a big fan of The Rocketeer since it hit theaters in 1991. Unfortunately fans of the movie had to deal with a really poor DVD transfer until this week. So what I am saying here is if you are a fan of the movie and have a Blu-Ray player this is a must own as the superb filmlike HD transfer is incredible. I will go as far to say that this is better than what you saw theatrically in 1991. Sure it’s not perfect with slight ringing and what some might say DNR on some scenes but still this is the best version of the movie out there hands down. Hopefully Disney give us a 30th anniversary edition with some extras though.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack doesn’t hold a candle to the latest Hollywood comic book movies but for it’s age the remastered soundtrack does it’s job well. I would describe the soundtrack as “slightly thin and tinny” similar to a lot of movies from the 80’s and 90’s on Blu-Ray. It really highlights how much sound design and mixing has developed over the years. Still dialog is crisp and clear and the heroic music track comes over perfectly.
The lack of extras dents my enthusiasm for buying this version of the Blu-Ray, however, for just under 20 bucks you can enjoy this super flick many times and totally get your money’s worth!! I don’t say that very often, so it’s from the heart!
Overall Score 8/10