Best Live-action Disney character
Cliff Secord (Bill Campbell), the ’30s air-racing pilot who straps on a fire-powered jet pack invented by Howard Hughes and becomes the phantom Rocketeer, is meant to be an appealingly low-tech superhero. There’s nothing otherworldly about his flights: His double-barreled rocket pack — it looks like a small jukebox with metal breasts — runs on alcohol. And though the special effects are amusing, they aren’t particularly magical (there are lots of obvious matte shots). In one crowd-pleasing gimcrack of a sequence, Cliff jets along the Southern California countryside, buzzing through wheat fields and skipping across water like a stone; the scene recalls the high-speed race through the redwoods in Return of the Jedi. But except for this and one other short scene in which he zips around an elegant restaurant, he does almost no flying — and even his best stunts feel peripheral to the rest of the movie.