Zoom Movie Review

Upon its release, Zoom was instantly reviled not only as one of the worst movies of 2006, but one of the worst movies ever made. As I write this it's hovering as the 15th worst film ever per the IMDB's (admittedly unscientific) "bottom 100," one run below Troll 2.

Is Zoom worse than #17 Phat Girlz? Worse than Glitter (#23)? Worse than Alone in the Dark (#38)? Zoom is hardly a masterpiece, but, really now, it isn't that bad.

But I will be honest: Aside from saying it has a few chuckle-worthy moments, I don't have terribly much good to say about the experience. It's very much a redux of Sky High, which came out a year earlier, and also involved untrained kids learning to cope with their latent superpowers. Here it's just a gang of four of them, not a whole highschool, and they're involved in a setup so banal that it pains me to type it up: Years ago there was a group of superheroes led by Zoom (Tim Allen), but the government got a little excited and juiced them all up with gamma radiation, which turned Zoom's brother Concussion (Kevin Zegers) evil. Banished to another dimension, the feds get wind that he's returning (in what is the film's worst running bit), via some kind of otherworldly portal that runs to the training center from... Long Beach. He'll arrive in a couple of weeks, so they decide to train some new kids to whoop him up when he lands.

After that it's your usual kiddified version of The Right Stuff, with one kid (Spencer Breslin) who can make his body parts blow up to gigantic size, a super-strong six-year-old (Ryan Newman), a guy (Kevin Zegers) who can turn invisible, and a telekenetic emo teen (Kate Mara, who I could have sworn was also in Sky High but is apparently just a lookalike). Zoom, long since washed up, comes out of his funk to get them up to speed. Naturally there's a showdown in the end. And Courteney Cox appears often in order to provide comic relief by falling frequently.

With budget effects, threadbare plotting, and a setup that's both convoluted and silly, it's hard to find much to enjoy in Zoom. Fortunately most of the performances are at least passable, and the bright color pallette kept my four-year-old entertained. (Having a girl who loved dressing up like a princess helped as well.) For most of you, though, you won't miss much if you give this one a pass.

DVD extras include two making-of featurettes.

Aka Zoom: Academy for Superheroes.

Johnny Five don't feel so good.


Zoom Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG, 2006


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