The Rocketeer (1991)

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The Rocketeer is available to stream now on Disney +


Released on this day in 1991, The Rocketeer carries a special place in my heart as it was to be the final cinema trip I made with my nan following a childhood of trips to the local Granada cinema. We continued to watch the occasional movie or TV show together, but our 45-minute walks to the local picture house ended that day. As we walked into the cinema, there was a sense that this would be our last visit together, and as we left The Rocketeer, our conversation turned to my nan’s experiences of the 1930s and her journey from Ireland to the UK.


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Created by comic book writer and artist Dave Stevens, The Rocketeer first flew onto shelves in 1982, providing a mix of serial adventure, nostalgia, and Indiana Jones-inspired action. However, despite its comic book success, the film version struggled through production as disagreements between director Joe Johnson and Disney constantly held the film in a production void. This may, in turn, explain why Johnson’s film never received the praise it duly deserved on its final release.

Inhabiting the same world of adventure as Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Rocketeer is stylish and different. Here, Johnson bathes the viewer in the action and adventure of the 1930s and 1940s Saturday afternoon serial, delivering a witty and engaging comic book world that soars with passion. And while The Rocketeer may not have found success at the box office, it remains one of the best comic book movies of the early 90s. Here its energy, action, score and cinematography fly high above many similar movies.

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