Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"The Rocketeer": blasting back 20 years ago

OMG, yet ANOTHER milestone anniversary this month!! "The Rocketeer" premiered in theaters exactly 20 years ago today! I'd only read a smattering of the original graphic novels that Dave Stevens created and drew at the time. Sadly, he passed in 2008 and would not see that a movie based on his original concept would continue to be a cult hit amongst movie fans.

I saw the movie on the big screen when it first came out and was immediately captivated by the adventures of stunt pilot Cliff Secord as he battled Nazi spies, all the while accompanied by James Horner's thrilling original score. It's a shame the film never lived up to studio expectations causing the production of any further adventures to be dropped. Today the movie stands as an incredibly fun period adventure, visually lifted, lovingly and quite literally from the graphic novel images.

It's amazing that a special edition of "The Rocketeer" has never been released. I own the only version of the DVD produced by Disney which contains just the movie and a trailer. Where's the big honkin' anniversary standard and Blu-ray editions? I mean, C'MON!! Tonight, Disney is presenting a special 20th Anniversary screening of the movie plus a Q&A with some of the cast at the El Capitan in Hollywood. As previously mentioned, I REALLY wanted to attend this! However the incredibly overpriced $50 tickets seemed VERY excessive on Disney's part.

Ultimately the line-up for the Q&A moderated by Kevin Smith includes director Joe Johnston, actor Bill Campbell, make-up artist Rick Baker, screenwriters Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, and fellow cartoonist to Dave Stevens, William Stout.


But for 50 bucks a pop the fans should also be getting Jennifer Connolly, Terry O'Quinn, Alan Arkin, Paul Sorvino and maybe even Timothy Dalton. You wanted my money, Disney? Maybe you should've ponied up the actor-goods! That list would have definitely been worth $50. Instead, there'll be props and costumes (which I've seen a number of at Comic-Con last year) and some posters and T-shirts given out.

After a day or two of frustration once tickets went on sale at the beginning of May, I finally became quite content with the idea of not attending. Disney D23 members got top priority on seating and even THEN, THEY had to spend $50! Three weeks later the rest of the theater was released to the general public for admission. I'm sure at that point only the 'beyond nose bleed' seating was the only thing left.

So guess what? Tonight I'll be having my own 20th Anniversary screening of "The Rocketeer" in the 10th Box....FOR FREE!!! O.K. so the bells and whistles present at the El Capitan won't be at my home theater. I'll still be relishing a movie I haven't actually watched in quite a number of years!

One of my favorite moments: When Paul Sorvino's gangster Eddie Valentine realizes that the guys he's been working for are Nazi's...

Secord: What's it like working for a Nazi, Eddie? Does he pay you in dollars or reichsmarks?
Valentine: What's he talking about, Sinclair?
Secord: Oh, yeah Eddie! I got it straight from the Feds. Nazi spy ring, Flying Commandos, the works!
Neville: He's been flying where the air's too thin.
Jenny: Tell him about the secret room. Tell him about the Germans on the radio!
Goose: [pointing a gun at Lothar] Easy, Frankenstein. You ain't bulletproof!
Valentine: Start talking, Sinclair!
Neville: C'mon, Eddie. I'm paying you well. Does it really matter where the money comes from?
Valentine: It matters to me. I may not make an honest buck, but I'm 100% American. I don't work for no two-bit Nazi. Let the girl go!

LOVE that scene!


At June 21, 2011 at 4:50 PM, Anonymous Allen said...


A great movie that deserved better treatment by Disney. If Captain America is as big a hit as I think it will be, there will definitely be a DVD/Special Edition upgrade to be released when Cap comes out on DVD.

At June 21, 2011 at 5:07 PM, Blogger LA Filmcutter said...

I completely and totally agree! As I just posed on FB, the connection is undeniable for Disney. If there is great love for Cap's movie then hopefully it can spill over onto "The Rocketeer", and that may even be what Disney intends in the end. We'll see...


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