I was nine years old when The Rocketeer flew into theaters, and I loved it. Flying men, lots of action and Nazis… what more could a little boy ask for? Thankfully, 20 years later, The Rocketeer stands the test of time surprisingly well. The Disney movie is just as enjoyable now as it was then, especially since I appreciate watching a young Jennifer Connelly strut around in a sexy white dress.
For the poor bastards who didn’t grow up on The Rocketeer, have never seen it or don’t remember, the movie is about Cliff, a stunt pilot in the late 1930′s who stumbles across a state-of-the-art jet pack coveted by both the federal government and the Nazis. Cliff becomes the Rocketeer, at first to make money but soon thereafter to save his girlfriend (Connelly), friends and country from a German invasion.
You know, the typical excuses to become a hero.
The Rocketeer is intentionally campy, not unlike director Joe Johnston’s 2011 movie Captain America: The First Avenger. Unlike Captain America, though, The Rocketeer doesn’t feel rushed or silly. Made for a budget of $40 million (versus Captain America‘s $140 million), The Rocketeer appears larger than life – and its budget – a fun, timeless adventure that never takes itself too seriously but presents some thrilling action sequences nonetheless. It’s funny, too.
Billy Campbell plays his part well, and is supported by a great cast including Jennifer Connelly and Alan Arkin. Timothy Dalton is excellent as the villain, commandeering each scene he’s in with scene-chewing bliss.
The Rocketeer is now on Blu-ray, and while the film looks and sounds great, fans looking for bonus features will be sorely disappointed. The Blu-ray has no special features whatsoever, not even the original trailer.
While the 20th Anniversary Blu-ray offers nothing new, it presents a great opportunity to revisit this fun, family-friendly movie once again.