Februrary 4, 2013
Kurt Russell, Kelly
Preston, Michael Angarano, and Bruce Campbell
As a rule, I generally can't stand "family
movies." Because as we all know, a "family movie" is more or
less just code for "here is a stupid kid's movie that parents have to
sit through too." In fact, if you look at how much the
concept of family movies has changed over just one generation, you will
be pretty amazed to see what used to pass for "a movie for the
entire family" about thirty years ago, and what passes for one today.
Thirty years ago, a movie like The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond) would
have been a perfectly acceptable family movie. In fact I
think my parents took me to it when I was six. After all,
what is so unwholesome about James Bond traveling around the world,
shooting bad guys, nailing hot women, and trying not to have his
jugular severed by Jaws? I'll tell you what was so
unwholesome about that. Nothing. That was a
acceptable family movie around 1980.
But nowadays, in 2013? Well a family movie nowadays has
significantly less James Bond and significantly more Kevin James
dressed up in a gorilla costume. In fact I will say it right
now. Family movies nowadays are dumb.
My kids were born in the years 2000 and 2002, and I spent the next six
or seven years after that stuck at home watching nothing but family
And oh how did I loathe that genre. Most family
movies nowadays are skewed so young, and are so stupid, that after a
steady diet of them you just want to go outside and start screaming.
In fact you generally have to do something afterwards like
go watch a
Sam Kinison video on Youtube or something just to
get your grownup edge back. I do not recommend being stuck at
home and being force fed a steady diet of family movies nowadays to my
worst enemy. That is a hell that I wouldn't wish upon anyone.
But wait a minute. I just remembered something.
Now that I think about it, there was one really GOOD family movie that
came out in the mid 2000's. In fact it was so good that I
think it is an insult even calling it a family movie. Because
this isn't just a good clean movie for kids and parents, this
is a flat
out well written and very funny comedy movie. In fact, I
would rank it among any of the better comedies of the 2000's
Yes, I can only be talking about Sky High. One of my favorite
comedies of the 2000's. And, naturally, a movie that was
considered a pretty big flop when it originally came out.
Seriously, what is wrong with you people in America? This was
a Disney movie. A really funny Disney movie. It was
perfect for everyone. How
could a movie like this have barely made a profit?
Sky High is the story of two superheroes. Their names are
The Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston).
And they are basically the Superman and Wonder Woman of their
day. They are the two most famous superheroes in the world,
they are the two most invincible superheroes in the world, and they are
known and beloved around the planet as the two greatest defenders of
truth and justice.
Naturally, of course they are also married to one another.
Jetstream and The Commander
Well The Commander and Jetstream are married, and they happen to have a
son named Will.
Will is just your average ordinary teenager. There is nothing
particularly amazing or extraordinary about him. He is just
some random awkward teenager who attends high school and who doesn't
even have any sort of a super power. He is like pretty much
dorky awkward kid you passed in the halls every day when you were in
Well this is where the movie gets fun.
When children of superheroes reach a certain age, they are expected to
leave high school and start attending a "special" high school.
Apparently there is a school up in the clouds that
is only available to children of superheroes. You know, since
these kids will likely develop into world class ass-kickers
and savers of the world someday, it is best that they go to a
special school that can cater to their unique needs and that
can steer them in the path they are supposed to go.
And that is the premise of the movie.
Sky High. The high school for teenagers who will one day be
Even superheroes like Larry
If the plot of Sky High sounds familiar to you, well it should.
It is basically the exact same storyline as Harry Potter.
Kids with special powers get whisked away to a special school
that only they can see and only they can attend. And there
they meet wacky teachers and have crazy classes in a world that is
somewhere between real life and comic book.
Sky High is a LOT like the first Harry Potter movie. I won't
even try to deny it. It is almost the exact same movie.
In fact the only difference I can see is that Harry Potter
went for whimsical and dramatic and aimed really high for what it was
trying to do, and Sky High didn't. Sky High just
sits down and says "Okay this is a comedy. Get ready to
I guess what I am trying to say here is that yes there is room in the
world for a movie like Harry Potter and a movie like Sky High.
Just because they are similar doesn't mean they are the same.
Sky High is what Harry Potter would have been if
Rowling thought she had been writing a comedy.
And if Harry Potter had Bruce Campbell
Now I don't want to tell you what happens when Will gets to Sky High.
This movie is too fun and there are way too many great scenes
and powers and characters. If I told you what happens when he
gets there it would ruin half the fun of the movie. And this
is a really really fun movie.
What I WILL tell you about Sky High is this.
The teachers in this movie are all awesome. Every single one
of them. From Kevin McDonald, to Dave Foley, to Bruce
Campbell, to... well... Wonder Woman herself (Lynda Carter).
There are very few movies with as many scene stealing side
characters as this one. Heck, you can even throw in Cloris
Leachman as the school nurse and Kevin Heffernan (Officer Farva from
Troopers of all people) as the school bus driver. Every
of them will steal at least one scene at some point in this movie.
Lynda Carter as Principal Powers
Take all of those scene stealing actors, throw in some awesome
scenes when the kids first get to school (the "Save the Citizen" game
is a personal favorite, and so is Coach Boomer with the
hero placement), and this movie is just chock full of fun scenes just
one right after the other. There are so many great scenes and
so many great one liners and so many great background jokes when the
kids get to Sky High that it is the type of movie
you absolutely have to watch more than once just to catch all
By the way, here is my favorite thing about Sky High.
When you read reviews of this movie, most every one (the good ones
anyway) will say it is a cross between The Incredibles and Pretty in
Pink. Or Harry Potter and The Breakfast Club.
Basically they will always say it is a cross between a modern
hero movie and an 80's John Hughes movie. And there is a very
good reason why people say that.
The reason this movie gets compared to a John Hughes movie so often is
because the soundtrack IS MADE UP ALMOST ENTIRELY OF FAMOUS 80'S SONGS.
That's right. Sit back and enjoy Sky High and enjoy
the soundtrack. There is a reason it feels like a John Hughes
movie. It feels like that because most of the songs were
originally used in John Hughes movies. This movie is kind of
a loving 80's John Hughes homage.
And so there you go. Sky High. One of my favorite
comedies of the 2000's, and a movie that puts an end to the notion once
and for all that a family movie also has to be stupid. I can
guarantee that if you are around my age (30's to 40's), you can sit
back and watch it and you will enjoy all the references and in
jokes to other teen movies. This movie is just chock full of
them. In fact, in a way, it is kind of like a gentler version
of Not Another Teen Movie (another favorite of mine.)
Oh, and it also has a buttload of references to other super hero
movies. And come on, casting Lynda Carter as the principal of
the school? That is just perfect. At one point she
even claims that she can't solve everything, because she's not Wonder
"I'm not Wonder Woman, ya know."
By the way, I only mentioned a few of the actors in this movie, but
rest assured that the kids playing the teen superheroes are all perfect
too. They are all absolutely perfect for their roles.
And of course so are Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston as the
Commander and Jetstream. If you like Kurt Russell (and most
people do), this is one of those absolutely perfect roles for him.
He just completely nails the cheesiness of it.
Sky High is one of those movies that I honestly can't say a single bad
thing about. And I can't even imagine how anyone wouldn't
like it. I would have to sit here for twenty minutes before I
could come up with a reason why you wouldn't recommend this movie to
someone. And no, "because it is too similar to Harry Potter"
doesn't count. If that is the only reason you have refused to
see this movie, you have really been missing out.
Sky High is flat out awesome.
And yes, it's true. It is also for some inexplicable
reason a family movie. You can watch this movie with
your five year old and he or she will like it too.
I don't understand how those two genres can still actually cross
anymore (hilarious comedy and family movie), but apparently in Sky High
Sky High. The Incredibles meets Pretty in Pink. Or
Harry Potter meets Ferris Bueller's Day Off. You decide.
In any case, I really love this movie and I wish
that everyone else did too. I honestly can't think of a
single bad thing I could possibly say about it.
favorite IMDB user reviews about Sky High:
Great idea carried out
well - 29 July 2005
Russell went back to his Disney roots with Sky High, a fresh take on
the superhero craze. The story revolves around Will Stronghold (Michael
Angarano) who is the kid of two superhero parents, The Commander (Kurt
Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston). Will is off to be a freshman at
his dad's alma mater- Sky High, a school for superheroes where they can
find their powers and learn how to use them. High school angst is then
thrown into the mix as Will and his new group of friends, headed up by
the typical girl best friend Layla (Danielle Panabaker), are told they
don't fit the superhero mold and become sidekicks, otherwise known as
the losers of the school.
I loved the idea of this movie and
the people in it seemed to be having a great time. The roles were cast
perfectly and it was easy to believe everyone. A few favorites were
Warren Peace (Steven Strait), Layla and Zach (Nicholas Braun). Sure the
plot was a tad predictable, both in the superhero plot and in the teen
drama area but because of the setting and the mix it made it still
worth seeing. Also, anything that has Bruce Campbell, who plays Coach
Boomer, is automatically quirky enough to be given a chance. Of course
the world ends up in danger and the underdogs must fight to save it,
but for once I wasn't upset that I knew it all.
Disney needed a
hit as the past few movies its put out that were live action failed to
do much. I think Sky High is it. Action for the boys, cute boys and
drama for the girls and Kurt Russell for the moms- great family movie.
All I can end with is I can't wait for it to come out on video.
Sky High - made for young
ins, yet hilarious to teens & 20s - 1 August 2005
High might have been purposed for little kids, but like most good
Disney movies (and only the really good ones) there are different
levels of comedy. It was not necessarily the lines which made it great,
but the actors who were saying them. There was also a lot of
situational comedy, which I will not disclose, but there were times
that I was laughing quite loudly through entire scenes. It was almost
uncanny how accurate Sky High was to any other high school, just add
super powers to the mix. All in all in was an extremely entertaining
movie and the moment it was over my sister turned to me (she is in
college) and said, "As soon as this comes out on DVD I am buying it!"
It was hilariously fun, full of laughs and it actually had a good moral
lesson. Go see it, you will love it, I promise!
Light campy fun for both
kids and parents - 30 July 2005
took my kids to this movie expecting that I would not like it very
much. In the end, I think I enjoyed it more than they did. It was
light, campy, & tongue-in-cheek. There were some very funny
performances by supporting cast members that made me laugh out loud.
reviewers have described it as "Breakfast Club" meets "The
Incredibles". The theme of high-school misfits bonding was very
reminiscent of John Hughes movies. The soundtrack contained covers of
favorite hits from the 80's, so I think that is a very apt
I take my kids to lots of movies that they enjoy much more than I do,
but with "Sky High" I walked out of the theater grinning.
Harry Potter meets the
Incredibles. - 29 July 2005
remember the days when I was a kid and loved Disney comedies. Son of
Flubber, The Shaggy Dog, etc. Then there was the classic period after I
got a little older with Kurt Russell Disney movies. Well those days are
back and you can even take your kids. It is PG rather than the G of the
old stuff but that is only because of violence and that violence is
directed mostly at property. The characters are not killed or injured.
(A lot better than the Bad News Bears which the theater had warnings up
about being a STRONG PG 13). Anyway Kurt Russell is so campy in this
one and (what a shock) so is Bruce Campbell. The plot and theme borrow
a lot from the Incredibles (which is a good thing because I liked it
the best of Pixar's flicks) Also you might think Hogwarts when you see
the classes except the high school floats in the sky and rather than
potions and avoiding the dark forces the student learn how to be
superhero sidekicks and how to build ray guns in science class. Won't
go any further on that except to say that those scenes are a hoot.
Anyway the good guys win, the bad guys lose, the hero is taught lessons
about life and everyone gets a laugh a minute as it all comes about.
Great movie, fun
characters, hopes for a sequel - 18 October 2005
been a long time super hero fan, and know tons of useless information
on the genre. I can say that, as an "expert", the characters in Sky
High are some of the best I have seen in years, and the movie was an
How anyone could not like SOMETHING about this
movie is beyond me. Even my wife, who seldom likes the same movies I
do, enjoyed it, and my usually hyper 4-year old daughter was perfectly
quiet (though she did freak at the rock kid when he first changed).
my favorite characters were Coach Boomer (I'm a long time Bruce
Campbell fan, but it took me two days before I wondered if the "boom"
was a way of referring to his other movies (boomstick)), Ron
Jenkins-Bus Driver (hysterical!), Zak (one has to wonder if he's
actually mildly radioactive) and (duh) Warren Peace (he was the
spitting image of one my best friends in college, both in the way he
looked and acted, though my friend didn't hurl fireballs).
hope there's a sequel, as I'd love to see where the villains' kids go
to school (Royal Pain made it sound like there wasn't one, but I highly
doubt that). I can see a villains' academy with a principal played by
the WWE's Undertaker lording over a motley bunch of evil mutants, young
monsters, and deranged geniuses all trying to recruit Warren.
A great mix of The
Incredibles and Pretty In Pink - 30 July 2005
mother, myself (24) and my ten year old brother all went to a matinée
showing. I wasn't expecting much, since this was a Disney movie but I
was very pleasantly surprised. When the credits hit I sat for a moment
thinking "That was really good." The comparisons to a Hughes movie are
warranted and deserved. Kids will love this movie but there is also a
fair amount of humor that they might not get as well as the adults
will. Some of the best lines were delivered quickly or slightly under
breath. A second viewing might be required to catch them all. The
actions sequences were acceptable and the super powers themselves were
handled with a nice blend or realism and fantasy. I highly recommend
this movie to any comic geeks, teen movie fans or anyone looking for
something they can enjoy with their children.
Like Sky High itself,
"Sky High" stays in the air throughout. - 7 August 2005
way back in the day (with apologies to the theme song for "Phil Of The
Future"), Filmation made a live-action/animated series called "Hero
High" about superheroic teenagers in their school days. Not that I'm
accusing "Sky High" of filching this premise; this is far superior to
just about anything Filmation ever did. It's also the summer's best
superhero movie - more appealing than "Batman Begins," better written
than "Fantastic Four," and more thrilling than either. It may not have
instant cachet or Jessica Alba, but then again you can't have
What this DOES have is co-writers Bob Schooley and
Mark McCorkle, who along with primary writer Paul Hernandez show that
their terrific "Kim Possible" was no fluke - this movie has all the
virtues of what some wags dubbed "Alias: The Animated Series" (which is
unfair; Sydney Bristow's adventures are less consistent and arguably
less plausible, and nobody on the cartoon was as useless as Lauren or
Nadia); likable young hero with overachieving parents, sharp dialogue,
action to spare, and a refusal to let a situation devolve into
stickiness. (The movie also has series cast member Patrick "Puddy"
Warburton as the voice of one major villain.) In this case our hero
(Michael Angarano) has two of the world's most beloved superheroes,
Steve and Josie Stronghold (Kelly Preston and Kurt Russell, back in the
Disney fold) as parents, a high school where everyone but him seems to
have superpowers, and the curse of being relegated to Sidekick ("Hero
Like "The Tick" and "The Incredibles," the
movie's view of a world where superheroes are a given allows for some
amusing observations and fun at the expense of the regular rules of
superheroics, and it also deserves credit for not making Gwen (Mary
Elizabeth Winstead) automatically more of a bitch than the Lisa
Simpson-esquire Layla (Danielle Panabaker). True, there are some slight
story flaws (and the tendency to slip in Wonder Woman references into
Lynda Carter's screen time is distracting), but "Sky High" has such a
strong cast (and frankly, anything that has Bruce Campbell -
"SIDEKICK!!!!" - has at least one thing going for it) and is so
consistently funny without encouraging us to not take the story
seriously (though somewhat retro, not least in its song choices - every
time young Stronghold sees Gwen a cover of Spandau Ballet's "True"
starts up - this movie wouldn't have worked if it had gone for the
1960s "Batman" approach and camped everything up) that you just don't
Throw in a rousing score by Michael Giacchino, the "Save
The Citizen" game, an exciting finale at the Homecoming dance, and a
realisation that the movie's standard "Be Yourself" message has been
delivered with considerably more subtlety and less condescension than,
say, Filmation ever would, and the result is a movie that really
deserves to do better than it's doing now at the box office. Maybe it
should have had penguins?
"The sidekicks are requested to stop ordering hero sandwiches..."
favorite trivia about Sky High:
* Actress Lynda Carter was initially given gold bracelets to wear as an
homage to her 1970s The New Adventures of Wonder Woman role. Warner
Bros., who owns copyright to the Wonder Woman character, didn't want
the bracelets shown in a Disney movie so they were removed from
Carter's wardrobe for the film. She did however get to say the line
"I'm not Wonder Woman, you know" in one of the last scenes of the movie.
* The comment Mr. Boy makes about sidekicks not wearing costumes with
colors that clash with their hero's is a jab at comics' most famous
hero/sidekick team, Batman and Robin. Where Batman wears dark colors
(blue and gray) Robin wears bright colors (Red, green and yellow)
* Actress Cloris Leachman also appeared in the television series The
New Adventures of Wonder Woman, as Queen Hippolyte, mother of Wonder
Woman (Lynda Carter).
* Gwen Grayson is a combination of two comic book names from two
franchises: Gwen Stacy of Spider-Man (Marvel) and Dick Grayson (DC
* This film features two actors from the TV series The Kids in the
Hall, both playing teachers. Dave Foley, who plays Mr. Boy, and Kevin
McDonald, Mr. Medulla.
favorite scene in Sky High:
Nearly everyone picks the scenes with Coach Boomer, but I will say that
I have always had a soft spot for Ron Wilson, Bus Driver. Oh,
and also, remind me to write about Super Troopers one of these days.
at the IMDB
Back to 200
Movies That Deserve More Love