Sky High

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Sky High
"It is nothing if not good fun and taken in the true spirit of entertainment, while never for one moment straying into Tim Burton's nightmare, or entering the Dark Side."

A spoof superhero high school comedy? Nice one for the effects johnnies and certainly teen friendly, but coming from Walt's mouse house is it going to anarchic enough to draw blood?

The answer is no - The Incredibles look subversive and dangerously inventive by comparison. Why criticise a film for what it is not, rather than praise it for what it is?

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Sky High nudges your funny bone and then stands back with a hearty grin and says, "No offence, buddy. Only kidding!", personified by Steve Stronghold (Kurt Russell), successful realtor in the leafy suburbs and Superman copycat, The Commander, when trouble rears.

The joke is that 14-year-old Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) has no powers at all - remember his mom (Kelly Preston) is Jetstream, the all flying superwoman, who operates a double act with The Commander - and is enrolled at Sky High, a school for superheroes' kids. What's going to happen when they find out he's... normal?

The school is like a convention of teenage X-men and Y-women, who can do anything from turning into a guinea pig to creating fireballs to changing from a nerdy ginger geek into a rock monster at the merest rumour of threat.

All the high school stereotypes are here - prom night, bitch queen, arch enemy/best friend, gang loyalties, true love blues, goofy teachers - but stretched to the limits of superpowerdom. It is nothing if not good fun and taken in the true spirit of entertainment, while never for one moment straying into Tim Burton's nightmare, or entering the Dark Side.

Angarano is a likable protagonist in the Tom Hanks mould, ably supported by Steven Strait, as the smouldering Warren Peace, son of an infamous supervillain, and Danielle Panabaker, as Will's childhood sweetheart (she wishes), who is so atuned to plants she controls them.

The grownups tend to overact, weakening their effectiveness. The exceptions are Bruce Campbell, as Coach Boomer, who assesses which new kid becomes a Hero or a Sidekick, and Kevin Heffernan, as the school bus driver, proving that however lowly your job may appear, you can always make your mark.

Reviewed on: 13 Oct 2005
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Super-powered high school comedy.
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Read more Sky High reviews:

Anton Bitel ***1/2

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If you like this, try:

The Incredibles
Spy Kids