The Rocketeer

Come on look at how sweet this poster is.
"Three years before the United States declares war, Cliff Secord leads America's first battle against the Nazis."

Hello all and welcome back to a new week at the Tagline, with Thanksgiving right around the corner! Starting this week I am implementing the first wave of changes to the way I conduct this blog, though this part at least probably won't result in a noticeable front-end change. Just thought I would share! Anyway, let's start off the week right, with a story about Nazis and airships and rocket packs. Also as promised, this will be an excursion into another Disney movie! Today I will be talking about the 1991 movie The Rocketeer, This movie was based on the comic of the same name, featuring a airplane stunt pilot named Cliff Secord who after a series of chance occurrences comes into possession of a experimental rocket pack that was being developed by Howard Hughes. During the misadventure that led to him acquiring the rocket pack Cliff's airplane was shot to pieces and then blown up, leaving him with a sore need for a new source of income. This causes him and his partner Peevy to keep the thing, but this has consequences they maybe didn't anticipate, such as the rocket pack being missed by certain individuals. For starters a bunch of mob types with machine guns trying to get it back, and intending to give it to the guy who paid to have it stolen in the first place. Howard Hughes meanwhile believes the pack was destroyed, and is glad because the government wanted to use it as a weapon. The movie is set in 1938, so we're talking about a country just coming out of the depression and nearing war against the Nazis. Don't worry though, just because the U.S. hadn't entered the war yet doesn't mean there won't be plenty of fascists.

Yikes look at this monster.
How many could there be? Well you might be surprised actually. Cliff is pursued by both the mobsters and the monstrous looking Lothar, a man on the payroll of the incredibly popular movie star Neville Sinclair (played by the almost worst James Bond, Timothy Dalton). What's Sinclair's interest? Well I'll get to that in a moment. Anyway rather than go to the police or FBI Cliff has Peevy make him a crazy helmet, I think out of a radiator or something, and then uses the rocket to fight back. In particular Cliff is on the hook because his girlfriend, the aspiring actress Jenny Blake (played by my girl Friday Jennifer Connelly) is also caught up in the whole mess, because of her association with Cliff. See Neville isn't just a crappy actor and a smarmy lady-stealer, he is also the worst thing a person can be: a secret Nazi. In this capacity, he wants the rocket pack so that Hitler can have an army of jet-pack soldiers to invade the world with, dropping out of zeppelins and heiling around in midair. You know Nazi stuff. Sinclair of course is a bad guy fascist in a Disney movie though, so he may have another thing coming (despite the fact that Walt Disney may have been a fan of Hitler's).

I hate it when Nazis kidnap my girlfriend.
As a adaptation of a comic book released in the very early 90s, and released by Disney long before they got into the superhero business proper, this movie is something of an anomaly and that made it stand out in my memory. Also my long running crush on Jennifer Connelly, obviously, but that wasn't the only thing. I mean really who wouldn't love to have a super cool jet-pack that you use to fight Nazis with? I think everyone can get behind that. Also there's just something really funny about Timothy Dalton going from his regular accent to doing his hammiest "Nazi German Accent". I say that because for some reason Nazis in movies like this always have the same ridiculous arch-villain accent (you know like the guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark). This movie also creates virtually the only scenario where mobsters and FBI agents would all pull out their guns and fight together rather than against each other, and that's against Nazis obviously.

I mean come on folks, can you really blame me?
The Rocketeer is not the greatest movie ever put to film, but it's a pretty fun movie to watch and like I said there's nothing not to like about having a jet pack and fighting zeppelins full of Nazis. It had always been Disney's intention to make a trilogy of movies based around the Rocketeer, but the movie gross weakly, only pulling in about 62 million over a 42 million dollar budget. So no sequels, although the director Joe Johnston was later tapped to direct a similar period film, 2011's Captain America. There's also been some talk of a remake, so maybe we'll get those Rocketeer sequels yet.

That's it for today, join me on Thanksgiving for a very special post.

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