Monday, April 11, 2011
F This Movie! - F Superhero Movies! (Part I)
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Also discussed this episode: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), Sucker Punch (2011), Hobo With a Shotgun (2011), Ong Bak 3 (2010)
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My new-to-me movie for today, 1/22/13:ReplyDelete
SKY HIGH (2005) on Blu-ray, which Patrick, Mike and Adam thoroughly recommend at the end of this podcast.
In Mike Mitchell's very mixed and unremarkable filmography helming forgettable live action ("Surviving Christmas," "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo") and kiddie CG flicks ("Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked") "Sky High" both stands out but also seems to perfectly fit within Mitchell's other work. At its worst moments (and there are a few) "Sky High" feels, in tone and on-camera execution (which the Blu-ray high-def only exacerbates), like a made-for-TV Disney Channel sci-fi version of "The Incredibles"-meets-"Parker Lewis Can't Lose" hybrid that got a SFX budget bump at the last minute. Those 'Sky High' logo wipes and 'electric' glows (particularly during the climactic fight) are horrible. Michael Giacchino's score goes for epic but ends being mostly generic. "Sky High's" ambitions are lofty (a kiddie version of "X-Men" with the sassy attitude of the "Kim Possible" animated cartoon) but it didn't have the budget or skilled filmmakers to fully implement them, which a few times sends some "Power Rangers" vibes.
On the other hand though, holy fuck, when it does work (which is most of the time) "Sky High" is a ton of fun. It basically tells one joke over and over but it's a good one, with a good message for youngsters (everybody, including sidekicks, matters) that's wrapped around a few exciting set-pieces. Dave Foley had me crying from laughing so hard (fellow "Kid in the Hall" Kevin McDonald too but not as much; personal preference) and, except for Michael Angarano's dopey mug (which wouldn't matter much if he weren't the lead of the movie), the casting of Sky High's teachers (Lynda Carter, Bruce Campbell's dead-on gym teacher) and most of the students (Danielle Panabaker's adorable Layla, Steven Strait's perfectly deadpan Warren Peace, etc.) is spot-on and helps you overlook the dated SFX when their characters spring into action. Kurt Russell is fine most of the time (ditto Kelly Preston if she were in more scenes) but a few times Kurt seems to be striving too hard to be funny when dialing-back would have achieved better results. And holy crap, how did they get The Commander baby to make those reaction faces? :-)
On a personal note, I just sold my original XBox and games to my brother-in-law. To see the Stronghold father and son bond and be so excited (dad for what his son had just achieved, junior for getting a then-new XBox) made me smile from ear to ear. "Sky High" isn't perfect but, like its group of heroes (and sidekicks) in training, watching it overcome its limitations and achieve moments of greatness is where most of the fun comes from. It says something about how bad Fox screwed up its "Fantastic Four" franchise that "Sky High" is a better "F4" movie featuring generic knock-offs in supporting/villainous roles.