Sky High Review

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Will (Angarano), the teenage son of legends The Commander (Russell) and Jetstream (Preston), is sent to Sky High, a school for superheroes — except he has no powers of his own. While trying to live up to his family’s reputation, he’s also faced with suc


Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: an awkward adolescent with prominent parents goes to a school for specially gifted children in order to hone his special powers. That’s the premise of Sky High, which at first glance looks scarily like a Harry Potter/Incredibles hybrid. Fortunately, though, the film’s smart enough to develop its own identity.

Director Mike Mitchell cannily combines the staples of high-school comedy (bullies, romantic triangles, tyrannical teachers) with something altogether more fantastical — and it’s a blend that works well. The kids’ quirks are more original than your average superhero’s — witness the lass who can shapeshift into a purple-striped guinea pig, or the kid who melts into a puddle on cue.

But it’s the grown-up co-stars who steal the film. Kurt Russell is hilarious as the superhero dad who’s incapable of acknowledging any of his son’s shortcomings, while there’s a great little turn from Bruce Campbell as a sports teacher with a nice line in bellowing.

As derivative as it all may be, it’s still superb entertainment — and in a kids’-film market dominated by computer animation, it’s even better to see a live-action movie making its mark.

Sky High has the potential to become your favourite film ever — if you’re eight. But even if you’re older than that, chances are you’ll love it too.