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Image   Up in the sky, look!  It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's a high school! Sky High, literally floating among the clouds, is where you go to high school if you are a teenaged super hero.
This summer's PG Disney film takes takes you on a predictable yet watchable romp through another teenage popular crowd vs. geeks movie, but with a twist. These kids all have super powers. Well, almost all. Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) has none, despite being the son of the greatest living super hero team, The Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston). What's a teenager to do?

Relegated to the sidekick crowd, Will makes friends with the nerds, struggling with his better impulse to be loyal to his true friends while being tempted by the "in crowd" who wants him because of his famous parents and for their own reasons. Will finds his super powers while dealing with the evil villain crowd, while he finds his values dealing with the evil popular gang. Neatly done, and you can't fault the movie for shallow predictability, really, because it is done with edgy self-deprecatingly humorous awareness.

For example, the cheerleaders at Sky High are literally clones. And the evil villain is named Royal Pain. Will is torn between the popular girl, who wants him for his heritage, and his best pal Layla (Danielle Panabaker) who secretly loves him and is clearly the better match (why is it that young super heroes are the last to see who the best girl for them is?).

As contrasted with this summer's Fantastic Four, there is acting in this movie. Angarano and Panabaker are compelling as the conflicted heir of super-super herodom and his politically correct environmentally powerful girl pal. Mary Elizabeth Winstead sells the popular girl character, and Kelly Preston's take on combining her Jetstream and Mom roles slyly parody other films that deal with working Mom themes. Kurt Russell is stiff, uncharacteristically for him. While he is playing the stereotypically rigid hero type, he misses the sparkle the others infused into their characters, almost as if he believes it too much. His best scenes are the father-son scenes in which he foists his expectations on Will, who can't live up to them and would do anything to hide that from his Dad.

The movie is fast paced with great action sequences and high school angst with super powers provides an amusing take on a well worn theme. You know the good guys are going to win. After all, they are super heroes, aren't they? And everybody gets to be a hero (except the bad guys). All in all, Sky High is a fun movie for the whole family.



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