The character was set in the late 1930s and was an homage to the serial films of the time. When a stunt pilot, Cliff Secord, finds an experimental (and top-secret) jetpack, he's thrown into a world of high-flying adventure. Both the government and evil villains want the jetpack and Secord is thrown right in the middle.
The movie stars Billy Campbell as Cliff Secord/the Rocketeer, Jennifer Connelly as Jenny Blake (or Bettie Page as in the comic), Alan Arkin as Peevy, Timothy Dalton as Neville Sinclair, Terry O'Quinn (from LOST) as Howard Hughes and was directed by Joe Johnston (who recently directed a little movie called Captain America: The First Avenger).
The Rocketeer is one of those movies you occasionally come across when flipping through channels on cable. As much as I wanted to see the movie once again, I refused to watch it and vowed I wouldn't until it was released on Blu-ray. Now that the day has finally come, it's a mixed bag.
The movie does look good but it doesn't look great. It looks better than past releases but I'm still wowed by high definition releases and part of the test is checking out the quality up close. Considering the movie was made 20 years ago and had it's share of technical problems and goofs back then, Disney did a fine job restoring the movie. The sound is great and turning up the volume gives you a feeling you're part of the movie as you hear the rocket blast or the bullets fly.
The movie itself still holds up today. They managed to capture the 1930s feel and the story is full of enough adventure to keep you glued. Too many times when you revisit an older release you loved in the beginning, there's often that feeling of disappointment as the movie's quality doesn't live up to the current standards. The Rocketeer is a movie you can watch and enjoy today. Some of the effects used in the movie might make you cringe a little if you're overly critical but there's still a good time be had watching it.
Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of special features. What you get is...the original theatrical trailer. That's it. It is interesting to see the difference in the quality between the trailer and the restored movie. There isn't any commentary, making of featurettes or anything. But this release is focused on the actual movie. That should be enough.
There aren't many 'comic book movies' that are truly watchable. As comic fans, we sometimes are critical but forgiving just to be able to have a movie based on a comic. There are some differences in the Rocketeer's story but it was a great attempt and a great movie. Will we get another release at some point with more extra content? I'm not sure if there's any that exist but the fact is, it's all about the movie. I've waited a long time to watch The Rocketeer again and while this isn't a perfect release, it's a mighty fine one and well deserving and completely welcome to be part of my home library collection. It's a shame a sequel was never made.
The Rocketeer is in stores today.