Monday, April 15, 2013

Sky High (2005)

How fitting.

Superheroes have two identities, so does Sky High (2005).

This 2005 effort from director Mike Mitchell (Shrek: Forever After) appears to be directed at tweens and young teens. But this adventure/comedy can also be watched by their parents, or grandparents, who'll appreciate the nods to heroes of past years and some inspired casting.

Give Sky High marks for putting a unique twist on standard plot devices, such as the start of high school, being picked on by bullies and pining for the drop-dead gorgeous girl. Here, all the students are sons and daughters of superheroes.

Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) begins Grade 9 with huge expectations. His parents, Steve and Josie, are the world's top superheroes, The Commander and JetStream. Just like Superman, they both have a very public career as real estate agents. But, wearing glasses keeps everyone from identifying their evil-fighting roles. Mom and dad can't wait to have their son fight evil with them.


September is here and poor Will sees no signs of personal superpowers. Nurse Spex (hello Cloris Leachman) breaks the bad news that he may be one of the few offspring of superhero parents to not have the royal jelly. Yikes. What to tell dad? He's delegated to the sidekick stream by Coach Boomer (hey, it's horror hero Bruce Campbell) with several others including gal pal, but not girlfriend, Layla (Danielle Panabaker). She thinks the world of Will, but he's distracted by the welcome attention of senior Gwen Grayson (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

Grayson has plans for Will, and his parents, at homecoming. Layla aims to make Will jealous by getting friendly with his rival, love this name, Warren Peace (Steven Strait). He's sore at Will for his dad putting his pops behind bars for several lifetimes.


Older viewers should get a kick out of seeing Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter, as Principal Powers. It's fun, but also a little depressing, to see two members of Canada's The Kids in the Hall troupe. Kevin McDonald fares better as Mr. Medulla, the big-brained teacher, than David Foley as Mr. Boy. Foley has to do some pretty silly stuff at times, but he scores points as the sidekick The Commander can never remember. He still has a soft spot for JetStream too. For a movie released in 2005, what's with the soundtrack? I'm not complaining, but it was a wee bit odd to hear hits associated with the 1980s.

The adult roles are played pretty broad. It's just the kids who get to show the real emotions. Sky High has some good laughs while exploring well-trod ground about young teens trying to find their way at a new school.

RATING: 7/10

FUN FACTS: Sky High is the first feature role for Steven Strait.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is probably best known for her appearances in the two most recent Die Hard films.

Wow. Kelly Preston starred alongside Charles Bronson in 10 to Midnight.

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