Michael Angarano does a very good job inhabiting the classic “everykid,” in this tale of a boy coming to terms with being a superhero from a superfamily.
Too much of this movie plays how you think it should play when it was clearly ripe to be shaken up a bit in it’s story structure.
There really seemed to be a lot of potential for Sky High, yet it didn’t seem to ignite the spark that I thought it would. With a budget of $60 million dollars against a total of $73 million dollars worldwide, DVD receipts should be enough to put this film in the black and possibly even greenlight a sequel. However, I don’t think that one is really warranted in this case. It wasn’t that I thought Sky High was a bad film, it just seemed fake. Artificial. As if the people at Disney were standing next to their movie blender, they dropped in all the requisite things that makeup a Disney film and then low and behold here is the final product that they got. Like any food, sometimes it turns out good, sometimes bad and other times things are just okay.
Sky High is a film that’s just okay. It’s got all the right elements (actors, director, story, etc...) yet it never seems comfortable being what it is or isn’t. Also, it seems held up by it’s creators need to pay respect to antiquated robots and ideas that just don’t seem to have a place here.
Alternative Opening, Super Bloopers and Music Video
The Alternative Opening essentially establishes The Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston) and why they are such legends. As this would have been the opening to the movie, these characters are placed in a perilous situation and they easily (or at least without breaking a sweat) get themselves out of it. Super Bloopers is an assortment of shots from the film where the characters messed up, or in the course of doing a stunt actually hurt themselves for a moment. Nothing too special here but I find bloopers to always be enjoyable. The
Music Video has the band Bowling for Soup doing a cover of the song “I Melt With You” by Modern English. Aside from this being a classic 80s, relationship song, that is probably the best thing I can say about this video. It features shots of the band (who have some superpowers) mixed with shots of the movie. How does this group keep getting shots like this? First they do the theme song for the “Gilligan’s Island” Reality TV show and now this. Whose parent/girlfriend in this band works at Disney and keeps getting them these opportunities?
The Stunts of Sky High “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
In Breaking Down the Walls - The Stunts of Sky High, I expected to see more blue screen shots, but the stunt people and the director said that overall they tried to do as much “in camera” effects as possible. Sure, the characters are all harnessed in with wires and such for the more fantastical stunts, but on the whole it looks like where possible they went out of their way to not use those devices. Welcome to Sky High - Behind the Scenes of Making the Movie With Cast and Crew has all the main people (and even some of the not so main people) explain who they are, and then the movie is broken down for us. They talk about the plot but more specifically, the characters discuss the stunts they did and how they had to prepare themselves for it. While not the most illuminating of “Special Features,” these featurettes are still worth a look just to see how some of this stuff was achieved.
Widescreen - 2.35:1. I have to give the makers of this film credit because even though it has the look of a big, superhero movie they seem to have done everything they can to make it look as normal as possible. Okay, having a flying schoolbus sort of kills this idea, but I really do like the look of this movie. While there is nothing that special about it, it is colorful, loud and everything has it’s place. Also, the effects in the film are seamlessly integrated. Sure, we know that when we see Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) lift something enormous up, that probably didn’t happen. However, this movie has a rich, vibrant look to it that is bolstered by it’s colors and lighting to make what we are seeing appear unique.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound - English, French and Spanish. Subtitled in French. I really liked the score to this movie. While it’s large overture was not anything we haven’t heard before, it reminded me of the kind of soundtrack that accompanied a film like Ben-Hur. Okay, before you start throwing things at me, I know that there is a world of difference between the two films but my point is that the music reminds me of that film because it sounds big. Sky Hightries and succeeds (mostly) in being a large, offbeat superhero movie. This success has a lot to do with the ambiance that is created by it’s classical soundtrack.
The main characters from the movie are all posed and ready to go. They did a very good job mixing the “super” with the “normal,” because this cover doesn’t seem like it’s too over the top, yet, we know that we are watching a movie about superheroes. The back features some classic shots of superheroes lifting things, a description of what this movie is about, a “Special Features” listing, some technical specs and a cast list. I like that this DVD easily spells out what comes with it, and makes everything easy to find and negotiate.
You know what would have been a really interesting bit of casting? If Bruce Campbell had been The Commander and Russell would have been Coach Boomer (Campbell’s character). First of all, I think this movie would have had a bigger audience because I think Bruce Campbell is due to be a leading man in bigger movies. Actually, he’s overdue to be a leading man but I think that’s a whole other column altogether. I just wish that a film like this would shake things up a bit more. It has been proven constantly over and over again that you can shake things up in such a way, by turning conventional wisdom on it’s ear, you actually create a new wisdom.
Sky High is one of those movies that could really have benefited a lot more if it had taken more chances. As it was, the movie played like almost every other Disney film, and only in parts slyly subverted the genre.