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IN SHORT: As good a gentle jibe at super heroes as it is a fine part of current Disney Family style movie. [Rated PG for Action Violence and Some Mild Language. Some Material May Not Be Suitable for Children. minutes]
For those too young to understand the previous summation, there was a time -- a couple of decades, easy -- when the Disney Family Film was always the same kind of uninteresting fluff. Occasionally there was a gem but most of it was by the book pap. That changed in the last decade or so and now a Disney Family Film isn't something we dread sitting for.
Sky High takes the superhero genre that we adore and drops it dead into the middle of a modern high school. "Sky High" is a special school that floats up in the clouds, thus earning its name, and educates young'uns who have developed powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men (and women). The world of Sky High is one in which the super powered have been around for a couple of generations. Young Will Stronghold (Michael Angaro) is a Third Generation Hero, son of the greatest heroes living on the planet, Jetstream and The Commander -- also known as mom and dad (Kelly Preston and Kurt Russell). Russell in his superhero duds has a telltale spit curl hanging dow on his forehead and his civilian disguise is a pair of glasses. You figure out who he's supposed to be. <g>
What powers the first generation had aren't detailed in this story. Nevertheless you get the history and you barrel backwards into the future. You'll understand that remark when you see the film.
For the present, as Will starts his first day of school, speculation is bubbling as to what he will choose for his superhero name. What Will hasn't told anybody is that . . . he has no superpowers! That's not a good thing since the brooding loner Warren Peace (Steven Strait), the child of a pair of super villains taken down by Will's super folks, is just waiting to pulp the new kid. Super friends they are not going to be for a good long time
On the other hand, Will finds himself (surprisingly, to him) approached by class hottie Gwen Grayson (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) which thrills his bestest gal pal Layla (Danielle Panabaker) to no end. Not. Friends since the first grade Layla has control over the growth rates of organic things like plants. The new growth she'd really like power up, so to speak, is already known to anyone with half a wit out there in the peanut gallery.
School life proceeds apace, with all the usual stuff. Bus Driver Ron Wilson (Kevin Heffernan), the child of a married heroes, is known to all kids as Bus Driver, because the super-powers deprived bus driver, well, drives the school bus. Athletic coach Boomer's (Bruce Campbell) power is self-explanatory. You'll know when you see it. All-American Boy, the Commander's kid sidekick in the days before Jetstream caught his eye and heart and wallet and survivorship rights to the insurance policy, is now just plain ol' Mr. Boy (Dave Foley), shlub teacher.
Kid rivalries. Teacher rivalries. The usual school stuff and the eventual super villain to end all super villains appear right on schedule. But most important, of course, is who is taking who to the Homecoming Dance
We were kind of amused at the turn the story takes when Evil Makes Its Play in the Third Act. IF we were to think about it long enough, it's been done before. It can be done as many times as the younger kidlets come up, generational wise, because they haven't seen it. Sky High is family friendly and not much more or less. We got a large popcorn, left the notebook at home, and wondered if we could just sit and enjoy. Well, yeah, but not at ten bucks or more. Not as a solo romp.
It would've been better if we lugged the kids along but they're up in camp. We'll rent it for them and split the difference our ratings scale would mandate.
Fanboys will like Sky High. Those with kidlets to take will have a fine time, too. It's too young skewed for a dateflick unless, of course, one of the daters is a fanboy. We never grow up.
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