Really, Disney’s Sky High has not much more
than the trailer reveals. In fact, the trailer sort of outshines
the actual film in many ways because it tightly conveys
everything the final product eventually gets around to doing
without the padded runtime to drag it down.
Sky High weighs in at a meager hour and forty-two
minutes. So why all the fuss? Once again, Disney seems to
have undervalued its concept by chalking up the movie as
being nothing more than a second tier children’s film.
It actually could have walked the line, appealing to both
children and adults at once.
this what the whole big studio game is about anyway, grabbing
the largest audience and by default biggest box office you
writers Paul Hernandez, Bob Schooley, and Mark McCorkle
drummed up a concept that could have easily entertained
both sides of the age spectrum, yet the whole thing ends
up bobbled in the end.
a borderline brilliant concept that could successfully cash
in on the superhero craze without risking being labeled
a retread gets botched in the process? Expect nothing else
from the House of M.
“Mouse,” people, but take the inflection any
way you see fit.
expect greatness from a film like this, but it would be
nice to walk in and find something other than what has already
been revealed. Sure, it’s a coming of age story, nothing
new here. Yes, it juggles superhero powers with puberty
effectively without encroaching on Spidey’s territory.
The problem is that if you’ve seen the trailer, you
know the big hooks that occur in the later acts, which means
you sit in a holding pattern until those beats play out.
the fun in that?
fun comes from watching an actor (and Disney vet) immerse
himself so deeply into the mythology that it pretty much
trumps the miscues and bobbles along the way. Say what you
will about this film, Kurt Russell gets Steve Stronghold,
a.k.a. The Commander.
him jocular, with a touch of arrogance and pride. The dynamic
between Steve and his son Will (Michael Angarano) is perfect
at times, and had Will’s eventual powers not been
spoiled, the jokes would have played all the better in the
Kelly Preston plays it up admirably as Steve’s wife
and crimefighting partner, Josie, a.k.a. Jetstream. The
two often appear to be lost on their own planet, orbiting
Earth while completely oblivious to the goings on around
is your average teenager, dealing with your average teenage
plights only amped up to superhero levels, which again feels
tired when you know the resolution is right around the corner.
are little nuggets sprinkled in here and there that tell
of what could have been, or more aptly, what should have
been. These little treats come in the form of cameos, and
the first of which is so good that…well, just check
a lackluster introduction, Bruce Campbell resuscitates this
vehicle before it runs itself off a cliff. Leave it to Ash
to save the day. Campbell sets the perfect tone to kick
off the big message of the film as Coach Boomer. You may
know him as The Sonic Boom, or maybe not.
Boomer is the deciding factor between “hero”
and “sidekick” for incoming freshman, and he
plays his part in classic Campbell arrogance. The one-liners
and brutal jabs in this sequence are worth the price of
High could have played just as well as a feature length
Kids in the Hall skit. In fact, if studios were not so put
off by the Kids (see Brain Candy), this project
could have easily been worked with and ironed into something
special. Ex-kids Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald both appear
in the film as Mr. Boy and Mr. Medulla, two teachers who
could have easily leapt from any Kids in the Hall episode
directly into Sky High.
of these gags is priceless, and the chemistry between McDonald
and Foley is so spot on that the urge to get a Kids fix could
prove overwhelming. In fact, had it not been for Foley’s
self-deprecating humor the entire sidekick subplot might have
died on the vine.
end of the day, Sky High disappoints enough to
feel squandered, but entertains enough to recommend. It’s
an unhappy medium, but the kids will eat this one up. Just
try to stay awake for the good stuff.