Saturday, August 06, 2005

Today the kids, parents, and I went to the movies and saw Sky High. To be honest, I didn't expect much out of this film. Maybe it was the poster, maybe it was Kelly Preston, and maybe it was just superhero overload. But Sky High was a very cute, entertaining, and funny movie. I didn't look at my watch once.

The "story" could write itself. Young Will Stronghold sets off for his first day at Sky High, a school for superheroes. He's the offspring of the world's most powerful superheroes--Jetstream (she can fly) and the Commander (he's very strong). But Will's powers had not yet expressed themselves by the first day of school and he's sorted into the "sidekick" classes. Roaming the halls of Sky High are a villain, a faux villain in the guise of high-school loner, nerds (sidekicks), and popular kids (heroes).

No one is surprised when Will finds his powers and he learns the sidekicks can save the day through pure brainpower and pluck.

The charm of this movie is not in its plot, but rather in the clever writing and in the appeal of its young actors. Sky High pleases the older crowd (and here I mean parents and grandparents) as it is really just Pretty in Pink, the Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off with powers. Young Will hears Spandau Ballet's "True" whenever he sees Gwen (Sky High's most popular senior). Modern English's "Melt With You" also features prominently, as do many other favorites of the '80s. Michael Angarano as Will Stronghold is compelling and has a honest, good-guy face. Danielle Panabaker, who plays Layla (a teen with an amazing power--communing with plants), is beautiful and highly sympathetic.

The adult actors also fare well. Kurt Russell is hilarious as the Commander and Dad. Cloris Leachman has a funny role as the school nurse, and Lynda Carter makes an iconic school principal. Finally, Kevin Heffernan steals the show as Ron Wilson, Bus Driver. It's a star-turning role.

See Sky High before it disappears from the theaters. If you're 8 and older, you'll love it (particularly if you lived through the 1980s).