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Overall Rating

Awesome: 21.69%
Worth A Look55.42%
Just Average: 20.48%
Pretty Crappy: 1.2%
Sucks: 1.2%

9 reviews, 29 user ratings

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Sky High (2005)
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by Jason Whyte

"Great, harmless fun. Why can’t Disney make more movies like this?"
4 stars

Sky High is a surprisingly enjoyable and fun diversion in a summer of remakes and sequels. It’s a Superhero Movie that is more of an ode and a satire than a complete rip off and is likeable and unique even if The Incredibles is still fresh in our minds. Where that film channelled the look and feel of time past, Sky High looks and feels like the older classic Disney live-action pictures from the 60’s and 70’s (Superdad excluded, of course). In an even stranger twist of irony, we have former Mouse House child star Kurt Russell playing the father to a 14 year old soon-to-be Superhero.

His name is Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano, best known to me for playing the young William Miller in Almost Famous), the only child to the world’s most famous superheroes (Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston). Will has a problem, however; he hasn’t grown into his powers yet and is about to enter his first year of Sky High, a school that is literally in the sky. At least he has his best friend Layla (Danielle Panabaker) to fall back on as he realizes that he is living in the shadow of his well known parents.

Will finds himself in a school where every kid has their own individual talent. He has no choice but to fall in with the sidekicks (or “Hero Support”, as one teacher helpfully calls it) where the powers are secondary, including one who glows, one who morphs into a puddle of water and one who can shape-shift, but only into a gerbil. Will tries his best to hide his humility from his parents.

Will eventually does come into his power and realizes his potential which places him with the hero category, eventually (although not intentionally) alienating Layla when he starts dating the popular Gwen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

What I liked about the storytelling is that it plays with all of the conventions of previous, similar films of Superheroes and famous children’s stories; it refuses to steal but rather brings an interesting angle. Will’s famous parents remind me of Harry Potter’s parents, as well as Will and Layla’s first year in school reminded me of Harry, Hermione and Ron’s first year. The laws of use of the powers comes straight from The Incredibles. (“You can’t use your powers outside of the gym!”) There’s even a romance subplot where Layla wants to tell her feelings for Will, but has problems with Gwen in the way. What’s great in the film is that the romance is dealt with earlier on rather than have it all crash together in the last ten minutes.

The look of the film is interesting. Director Mike Mitchell (who helmed the awful Surviving Christmas last year) has a lot of fun with the design of the school and sets at Will’s home. As mentioned before, this looks like a Disney film from yesteryear and the effects are cheesy, but intentionally so, and they’re interesting at showing all of the different powers of the students (although there isn’t an instance where two kids have the same powers. Perhaps in the sequel?). The film is full of dutch-angles that resemble a comic book panel very well, and the school itself looks like it was built in the 70’s and has obviously went through a lot of wear and tear from walls and floors getting destroyed by inappropriate uses of powers.

The stars of the film are Michael Angarano and Danielle Panabaker, who both are solid as kids entering their first year of school. I liked how Angarano plays Will as someone who is nervous and scared of his lack of powers and then finally realizes his place in the world, and Panabaker is wonderful as the shy Layla, who refuses to use her powers for violence, although one particular scene calls for it, and it’s a great moment in the movie. And while Kurt Russell is plastered all over the ads for this movie, his performance is supporting, but he gives one of his funniest performance in years as a dad who truly wants his son to do great and will forgive him even if he sets the school cafeteria on fire.

It’s great to have a movie sneak up on you like this, one that takes an interesting idea and runs with it to make a completely satisfying family comedy, but also one that has as much humour for adults as it does for kids. Where the kids will have a ball watching the students use their powers, the major amount of in-jokes along with character actors Bruce Campbell, Lynda Carter (“Wonder Woman”, people!) and Kids in the Hall alumni Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald seal the deal. What a fun ride.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12658&reviewer=350
originally posted: 08/01/05 04:31:04
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User Comments

11/06/17 Carol Baker See the movie and form your own opinions. 3 stars
10/28/13 Sissy Gifford One of my absolute favorite superhero movies. Light, clean fun! 5 stars
11/18/09 suriya good 4 stars
4/14/08 Mrs. Cena Steven Strait is very attractive. I want to have ice powers!!! 4 stars
12/17/07 Paula Michael Angarano puts in a fantastic performance, I love this film. 5 stars
5/17/07 lydi cheezy yet fun, good job actors, keep up the good work, there is not return, 4 stars
3/25/07 sarah Grodzicki Warren Peace is so HOT!!!! 5 stars
3/20/07 dude very average 3 stars
12/06/06 Browncoat Better than I thought it would be.(FYI: I disliked Gwen Grayson from the start.) 4 stars
8/16/06 tonya awesome. Very fun. 5 stars
6/21/06 drydock54321 very fun to watch. entertaining 5 stars
3/14/06 Dk Good fun if a lttle predictable 4 stars
12/05/05 tatum Cute enough stuff 4 stars
11/29/05 Jeff Anderson Terrific with a fun & spirited cast. It's great to see Campbell & Carter in the same film! 5 stars
11/15/05 PAG Good solid family film. 4 stars
9/30/05 ron the most enjoyable movie i've seen all year. what a surprisen and what a treat! 5 stars
9/24/05 Aaron Smith Great little superhero film. 5 stars
8/27/05 Fred the nooyorker Really funny. Great writing. A movie kids can watch and adults will enjoy. 4 stars
8/12/05 Mark Surprisingly enjoyable, in a light way. Kids loved it. 4 stars
8/11/05 Gail S. Sorry to waste money and sorry I took grandchildren 2 stars
8/09/05 billyshears Really liked it a lot 5 stars
8/08/05 KingNeutron Very formulaic, but the villain has a good acting career ahead. 3 stars
8/07/05 Rolando I LOVED this movie! This one is definitely a keeper when it gets to DVD! 5 stars
8/07/05 Michael Great fun! Hope for sequels! 5 stars
8/05/05 jcjs33 my first 'total crap'..Kelly Cult Preston in a 'Harry Potter' wannab..horrid piece of junk 1 stars
8/03/05 William Vollmer a good movie; not exceptionally great but not exceptionally bad either 3 stars
8/01/05 michaelb14 suprisingly good, kooky fun 4 stars
7/29/05 Bill Fantastic! 5 stars
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  29-Jul-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 29-Nov-2005



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