Sky High

"OK"

Sky High Review


The high school melodrama gets feebly super-charged in Sky High, a tween-oriented Disney adventure made from the spare parts of Harry Potter, Spy Kids, X-Men and '80s teen romances like Some Kind of Wonderful. Without an original bone in its mutant body, Mike Mitchell's decidedly mortal misfire - too childish and metaphorically shallow to appeal to serious comic book fans, and too prosaic to strike a chord with those weaned on Pixar's far more exhilarating The Incredibles - is a misguided movie in search of a suitable identity. While cheery, colorful, and buoyant as Superman on a nighttime flight around Metropolis, this humdrum escapade nonetheless lacks any sign of an extraordinary imagination. An example of bland mix-and-match derivativeness, the film's espousals of egalitarianism not only promote the values of tolerance and cross-cultural harmony, but also wind up functioning as a preemptive validation for its own mild, middle-of-the-pack mundaneness.

Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) is the son of the world's greatest heroes, super-strong Captain Stronghold (Kurt Russell) and high-flying Josie Jetstream (Kelly Preston). However, despite his impressive lineage, Will's lack of astonishing abilities poses complications on his first day at Sky High, a Hogwarts-esque floating academy for exceptionally gifted teens. Because of his embarrassing ordinariness, Will is shuttled into the "Sidekick" academic track (euphemistically referred to as "Hero Support") with his hippie best friend Layla (Danielle Panabaker) and other lamely powered misfits. Sidekicks are unpopular geeks and Heroes are the cool kids at this fantastic high school, which also features a cheerleading squad made up of clones, a mixed-lineage (hero and villain) rebel as Will's brooding arch-nemesis, and bullies acting as evil henchmen for a mysterious fiend who's plotting revenge against the Stronghold clan. This passing interest in metaphorical subtext proves tantalizing during Will's admission to his dad that he's a sidekick (a moment that recalls X-Men 2's "coming out" scene), as well as with the repeated adult refrain that Will is just a "late bloomer" (thus linking his nascent strengths with puberty). Yet content to only skim the surface of its symbolic potential, the film doggedly opts for obviousness when subtlety is called for, ultimately turning its story into simply the latest misfit-makes-good-and-proves-that-dorks-are-people-too adolescent fairy tale.

Mitchell's (Surviving Christmas) idea of direction involves dousing everything in Skittles-ish rainbow colors and incessantly tilting his camera for cock-eyed close-ups, a visual design borrowed from Saturday morning cartoons that perfectly mirrors the plot's fundamental immaturity. If it weren't for his generally amusing cast - square-jawed Russell turns Captain Stronghold into a permissive dad more apt to pal around with his son than punish him, Dave Foley gives over-the-hill former sidekick Mr. Boy a pathetic goofiness, and Bruce Campbell is charmingly thunderous as Coach Boomer - this aggravatingly bright, plasticine aesthetic would completely overpower any smidgen of humor or drama. When it's not indulging in '80s nostalgia via perfunctory covers of songs by Modern English and 'Til Tuesday, Sky High piles on allusions to Spider-Man, Wonder Woman (thanks to Lynda Carter's appearance as the school's principal), and the old Batman TV show. Yet Mitchell's pedestrian film uses imitation as both a means and an end. Failing to even come up with unique superpowers for its cast of fantastic plastic men, giant rock things, quicksilver speed demons, and fiery human torches, the proceedings ultimately fail to become anything more than a dull, kid-friendly regurgitation of readily available (and superior) iconographic comics.

Bring it!



Sky High

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th July 2005

Box Office USA: $63.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $86.4M

Budget: $35M

Distributed by: Buena Vista

Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures, Buena Vista

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Fresh: 93 Rotten: 34

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Will Stronghold, as Steve Stronghold / The Commander, as Josie Stronghold / Jetstream, as Layla Williams, as Ron Wilson, Bus Driver, Dee Jay Daniels as Ethan, Kelly Vitz as Magenta, as Gwen Grayson / Royal Pain, as Principal Powers, as Coach Boomer, as Warren Peace, as Nurse Spex, as Mr. Grayson / Stitches, as Mr. Boy, as Mr. Medulla, as Mr. Timmerman, as Royal Pain (voice)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.