The Rocketeer (1991)

© Walt Disney Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
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Released:  Friday, June 21, 1991  
Length:  108 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: The Rocketeer is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaSome material may not be suitable for children.


The discovery of a top-secret jetpack hurls test pilot Cliff Secord into a daring adventure of mystery, suspense, and intrigue! Cliff encounters an assortment of ruthless villains, led by a Hollywood screen star who is a secret Nazi spy. With the help of his actress girlfriend, the young pilot battles enormous odds to defeat his foes who are anxious to use the device in an evil plan to rule the world. The dangerous mission transforms the ordinary young man into an extraordinary hero.

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 Haven't seen this one in a while
6/9/2013 3:08 AM EDT
The Rocketeer images are © Walt Disney Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Disney Planning a Rocketeer Reboot?  8/22/2012 9:34 AM EDT
There are strong whispers that Disney may be planning a reboot their cult classic movie "The Rocketeer". Vulture is reporting that although no definite decision has been made, the studio, under new boss Alan Horn, will soon be having meetings with various writers to see what ideas they could come up with.The original 1991 movie starred Billy Campbell as a racing pilot who by chance found a prototy...  More>>

The Rocketeer Blu-ray Review

Coming out on Disney Blu-ray in honor of the 20th anniversary of the film is The Rocketeer.  Based on the graphic novel with the same name, The Rocketeer is set in Los Angeles, circa 1938.  The movie is directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger), and is his second film as a director.  The movie follows test/stunt pilot Cliff (played by Bill Campbell) who is planning on racing in the National Air Speed Races using a plane built by Peevy (played by Alan Arkin).  Unfortunately he ends up testing the plane while flying over mobsters who are trying to elude two G-Men, and one of the mobsters ends up shooting Cliff's plane causing it to crash while landing, ending his goal of racing.  But it turns out that the mobsters had stolen an object of national importance and one of them ends up hiding it at the airport where Cliff and Peevy worked on the plane.  Cliff finds the object, which is actually a rocket backpack, and wants to use it to raise some money before turning it in. Peevy builds a helmet to go with it, and during a disaster shortly thereafter at the airfield, the Rocketeer is born.

The movie is very slow paced compared to modern films, and takes its' time developing the story and plot.  It's usually not a bad thing, but this movie suffers from a lack of caring about the main character.  Cliff gets into trouble by not turning in the rocket backpack soon enough, as once he saves the day during the disaster at the airfield, the media and the bad guys know what happened to the backpack. The rest of his troubles are all caused by that, which leads back to his failure to turn the backpack in timely. Now it turns out that the mobsters were only mercenaries, paid by Neville Sinclair (played by Timothy Dalton, who does a remarkable job as a villain in this role).  We have no idea why Neville wants the rocket backpack and we won't find out until the movie is almost done.  Terry O'Quinn helps round out the cast as Howard Hughes, the inventor of the rocket backpack, and as usual, does a wonderful job.  As a whole the cast does a decent job portraying the characters as they were written, but the overall story drags the movie down.  It's not really a comic book hero movie nor is it a mobster movie.  It's more of a "random person gets into the middle of evil plot" movie, and since you can't really feel emotions for the main character it's hard to enjoy the overall plot.

The Blu-ray transfer is wonderful – the colors are rich, with sharp details especially for a movie that was shot on film.  Based on reviews I've read about the DVD release, it is apparent that Disney went back and remastered this film for this transfer.  However, because the details are that sharp, the effects of the rocket backpack are very obvious, as the high definition makes the difference between live action and blue screen shots very apparent.  While it is at times distracting, it isn't as distracting as the lack of caring about the lead character.  The sound is also crisp and clear and does aid some of the scenes. The only bonus feature is the original trailer for the film; no other bonus features are included on this release.


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