Sky High

"Weak"

Sky High Review


Sky High" must have felt like something of a homecomingfor Kurt Russell. Just like the cheap, low-standards kiddie flicks he starredin as a teenager ("The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes," "NowYou See Him, Now You Don't"), it's a cliche-dependent, high-conceptDisney cheapy that aims no higher than the unsophisticated standards ofits pre-adolescent target audience -- and somehow succeeds in spite ofitself.

One of many family-oriented superhero movies rushed intoproduction after the boffo box office of "TheIncredibles," this story revolves aroundWill Stronghold (talented Michael Angarano, "AlmostFamous"), the 15-year-old son of CommanderStronghold (Russell) and Josie Jetstream (Kelly Preston), the world's greatestsuperheroes.

Will has yet to hit superhero puberty -- Dad's colossalstrength and Mom's ability to fly elude him -- so he's instantly an outcastwhen he begins his freshman year at Sky High, a cloud-floating school forthe super-powered. Despite having legendary parents, he's stuck in a classfor sidekicks (sorry, "Hero Support"), along with other teenagerswhose gifts (for, say, glowing in the dark or commanding plant life) aren'tadequately impressive.

Beyond blessing the picture with the occasional rib-ticklingone-liner, screenwriters Robert Schooley and Mark McCorkle (veterans ofDisney Channel's "Kim Possible" cartoon) rely almost entirelyon tedious 'tween-movie staples for their plot: Will develops an instantcrush on a beautiful, popular senior (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), therebyalienating his equally cute, long-term best friend (Danielle Panabaker)who, in turn, not so secretly pines for him.

"Sky High" is also overflowing with trite (albeit"super") stereotypes: bullies from Central Casting, snooty cheerleaders,a cruel gym teacher (drive-in king Bruce Campbell), and a resident badasswith flammable arms (played by a very good young actor named Steven Strait),who turns out to be an OK kid after all.

Despite this lazy, kids-won't-know-the-difference dependenceon formula -- not to mention the movie's soundtrack of awful candy-popcovers of 1980s tunes, its maladroit dialogue (clearly written by adultswho have no idea how kids really talk), and frequent lack of adherenceto its own internal logic -- "Sky High" manages to turn its campinessand corniness to its advantage.

Director Mike Mitchell (of the insufferable "SurvivingChristmas" and DeuceBigalow: Male Gigolo) doesn't try to makethe movie cool or blithely self-aware (save the deliberately action-figureycostumes Will's parents wear to fight crime). If anything, he helps pushit further into the lame-o-sphere with comically awkward characters likeMr. Boy (Dave Foley from "Newsradio"),an over-the-hill forgotten-sidekick schoolteacher (formerly known as All-AmericanBoy) and a dorky "mad science" teacher (Kevin McDonald) witha gigantic brain.

As the inevitable villain plot kicks in (an over-the-toparch-rival has a new disguise and nefarious plans for the school and Will'sparents) -- and as Will finally develops his superpowers -- Mitchell bringsall the movie's inanity into a crescendo of kiddie-flick charisma designedspecifically and exclusively to delight children. But somewhere "SkyHigh" crosses into a realm of nostalgia that will remind parents ofthe cheap, dumb, slightly behind-the-times movies they didn't know enoughto dislike back when they were young.

This isn't to say "Sky High" is a good movie-- or even a so-bad-it's-good movie. "Sky High" is somethingmore tenuous: It's persistently dumb in an endearingly sincere way. It'sa movie that is entertaining for the very reason that it never tries tobe genuinely good.



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:

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

45 Years Movie Review

45 Years Movie Review

Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a...

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

This biopic gallops through the career of groundbreaking gangsta rappers N.W.A, working its way through...

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

Basically the perfect summer movie, this lightweight drama has a great-looking cast and plenty of...

Sinister 2 Movie Review

Sinister 2 Movie Review

As the ghoul from the 2012 horror hit stalks a new family, this sequel's sharply...

Advertisement
Paper Towns Movie Review

Paper Towns Movie Review

After setting the scene with vivid characters and some insightful interaction, the plot of this...

Vacation Movie Review

Vacation Movie Review

Both the characters and the tone have been updated as a new generation of Grizwolds...

Trainwreck Movie Review

Trainwreck Movie Review

Amy Schumer makes her big screen debut with a script that feels like a much-extended...

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Movie Review

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Movie Review

Adopting a deliciously groovy vibe, Guy Ritchie turns the iconic 1960s TV spy series into...

Advertisement