Comica Obscura Marathon: Rebuttal: The Rocketeer (1991)

Herein I take Edgar to task for underselling an American classic!

For the full gist of what I’m responding to make sure to read Edgar’s review of The Rocketeer at Between The Seats.

Edgar, as soon as I read the word fluff in your review, I knew we were going to take very different approaches to the film. I appreciate the surface level lightness that you took from the basic action-adventure elements of the film. You’re not off in saying that the film is aiming for a simple adventure tale. However, I think as my review emphasized, I do believe there is much more to The Rocketeer beneath the surface. You see no grand allusions or allegorical meanings in what The Rocketeer is presenting. I see the exact opposite, and there isn’t much I can say here that my own review didn’t already say about the depth and allegorical meaning I find in The Rocketeer.

I am wondering where you came to the conclusion that Cliff and Peevy were father and son? I do agree that they have a relationship that is very father and son like. I also agree that their relationship, the simplicity of it, and the easy going nature of it is a great strength of the film. But, I felt the film did a good job of making sure that the audience would understand that the relationship between Cliff and Peevy was that of close friends who have a father and son dynamic without actually being father and son. Of course in your review you could have meant said dynamic as opposed to them being actual father and son. Either way, I agree with your sentiment but could use some clarification on your reading of their physical relationship.

As far as Timothy Dalton and Paul Sorvino are concerned I do believe that I covered this in my review. Again, where you saw inadequate characters I saw representations of the bonding nature of World War II and the fight against the evil Nazis. I immediately viewed Mr. Dalton as the heavy and Mr. Sorvino as the man doing his bidding because Mr. Dalton paid the right amount of money. I had no problem with the dynamic between the two villains and felt the ultimate resolution to their interaction was one of the best moments of the film. In this aspect of the film I don’t think there’s much I can say beyond I respectfully disagree.

I am in agreement with the rest of your review. The only quibble I have would be about the physics of the rocket. Maybe it was just me but I viewed the increasing ease witch which Cliff used the rocket pack as a statement about his skills as a pilot. Right off the bat the film establishes that Cliff is a great pilot and Peevy is a genius of a mechanic. The natural extension of that is to have them be the two men to tinker with the rocket pack, the scenes in the field with the statue as well as the first couple of flights, until their expertise and American ingenuity allows them to fully conquer the machine. Either way, I am as I said in agreement with the rest of what you had to say. Most of all I’m happy that you did enjoy The Rocketeer so much and I feel safe in saying that no matter what the Comica Obscura Marathon is poised to be a fun, fun ride.

Go and read Edgar’s rebuttal to my review at Between The Seats.

Cheers,
Bill

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5 responses to “Comica Obscura Marathon: Rebuttal: The Rocketeer (1991)

  1. Wait, I could have sworn I hear Cliff actually say ‘dad’ when speaking to Peevy in the film. When writing my review, I wasn’t even using the terms father and son in any metaphorical way. Wow, I haven’t screwed up that big in a review in a long time. Rookie-style mistake quite frankly.

    A rocket isn’t a plane…I had trouble buying that.

  2. No worries about the mistake, we all make them. :)

    Eh, to each his own I guess, I had no problem buying into that aspect of the film.

  3. The first time I watched The Rocketeer, in it’s theatre run, I was very much in agreement with Edgar. There simply wasn’t that much to interest me, and it seemed unbearably light.

    More recently I saw it again with my daughter and I saw so much more to the film. It was truly funny and despite the “Nazis as unforgiveable bad guys” trope, it was really enjoyable and the plot was solid, the acting quite good.

  4. I was taken with The Rocketeer the first time I watched it and it’s actually grown in my mind every time I’ve watched it since. I think it may be because the story and aesthetics of the film appeal deeply to the lifelong comic book fan that I am.

  5. Pingback: Review: Neotpravlennoye Pismo (Letter Never Sent, 1959) | Bill's Movie Emporium

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