Toon Talk: Sky High
Page 1 of 3
Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt
Walt Disney Pictures
Batman, Spider-Man, the X-Men ... even Superman is returning to the big screen soon. With the recent proliferation of super-hero movies hitting the multiplexes one can't swing a jumbo tub of popcorn without hitting some guy in a cape.
On the heels of The Incredibles, Disney trots out their latest super-family action-comedy, Sky High. And although it never reaches the ironic heights of Pixar's Oscar-winner (with its simultaneous tweaking and revering of comic book tropes), it does manage to accomplish its own less-loftier goal (in a mid-range budget kind of way) of providing a wholesome entertainment devoid of any gross-out gags or other objectionable material one usually finds in high school-set films. Yep, this family is definitely fit for the whole family.
And what a family it is: Dad (Disney Legend Kurt Russell) is the strong man known as The Commander while Mom (Kelly Preston) is the high-flying Jetstream. Clad in red, white and blue costumes from the Transformers collection, Mr. and Mrs. Stronghold run their own real estate company when not saving the world from super-villains and giant robots. They definitely live the all-American dream, and to complete the squeaky-clean picture, their teen-aged son Will (Michael Angarano, best known as Jack's son Elliot on Will & Grace) is gearing up for his first day at their alma mater, Sky High, an elite training academy for young supers that literally floats in the sky. There's only one problem: unknown to his parents, Will's own powers have yet to materialize.
Will joins fellow freshman Layla (Danielle Panabaker), his childhood chum who can control nature, Poison Ivy-style, and several other new students as they board a rocket-powered bus that launches into the air like a thrill ride. Once at school, they are greeted by the usual assortment of high school stereotypes: the bullies (the stretchable Lash and super-speedster Speed, played by Jake Sandvig and Will Harris, respectively), the sassy cheerleader (Penny, who can replicate herself into the entire cast of Bring It On, played by twin sisters billed only as Malika and Khadijah), the perky class president (technopath Gwen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who catches Will's eye) and the brooding rebel (aptly named Warren Peace, he's the son of a super-villain whom Will's dad sent to prison - just what he needs: an archenemy on the first day of school; this firestarter is played by newcomer Steven Strait, who joins this summer's other flame-thrower, Fantastic Four's Chris Evans (see sidebar), as a "hotâ€? new actor to keep an eye on).