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With the rash of superhero movies hitting the big screen in the last couple of years, it's becoming harder and harder to find original and refreshing superhero plots that stand out from the crowd. But Disney comes up with a new approach by combining the superheroes-as-conventional-family-members idea made popular by The Incredibles, with the time-tested formula of the high school teen romance.

While Sky High is banal, predictable, and even a bit overly simplistic, it nonetheless finds a way to amuse its audience. What it lacks in depth or originality, it more than makes up for in charm, relevance, and enjoyment for the entire family.

Sky High tells the story of Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) who attends a high school academy for the children of superheroes. At Sky High, which floats unnoticed above the Earth, students are trained to recognize and utilize their budding talents. Will is the typical high school kid with customary high school problems, like peer pressure, social cliques, and the onset of puberty. But bigger on Will's list of dilemmas is the fact that although he's the son of two of the most acknowledged superheroes in history, The Commander (Kurt Russell), and Jetstream (Kelly Preston), his super powers have yet to blossom.

The movie's unique angle is that the students of Sky High are classified by their individual super powers. An impressive power, like the ability to fly, will get you invited to sit at the popular lunch table with the other super heroes. But a lame power, like the ability to melt or glow in the dark, will relegate you to the nerdy side of the lunchroom where the sidekicks hang out. But of course, in the end, we all learn that behind every successful superhero is the blue-collar presence of the trusty sidekick.

By humorously relating the typical pressures of high school life to specific superpower abilities, the filmmakers give the story a modern day relevance that allows every viewer to find a connection with at least one of the characters. We might see a bit our self in Ethan's (Dee Jay Daniels) ability to melt into a puddle at the first sign of trouble. Or perhaps curly-haired Little Larry (Loren Berman) with his horn-rimmed glasses reminds you of your high school days. But I'll bet, unlike Larry, you weren't able to morph into a hulking rock-like superhero.

Consisting of mostly young, unbilled actors, the cast is pleasant and extremely likeable. Several well chosen supporting cast members, such as Linda Carter as the school principal and Bruce Campbell as Coach Boomer who separates the kids according to their superpowers, add a tongue-in-cheek touch of humor that will more than likely be missed by the children in the audience but appreciated by their parents.

As the school year progresses and Homecoming nears, the film begins to lose its footing due to the simple plot that gets too predictable. Of course there's a supervillain in the lesson-laden story and it's not too hard to figure out who it is. But the lessons we all learn are truly wholesome and genuinely heartfelt. It's a waste of column inches to oversell Sky High, but all in all, the film is excellent family entertainment that's sure to please, six to sixty. The characters never offend, the laughs are consistent, and director Mike Mitchell keeps the story moving at a brisk pace.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1; Full Screen 1.33:1

Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 Surround; French: DTS 5.1 Surround; Spanish: DTS 5.1 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

* Alternate Opening
* Super Bloopers:
* Music Video: For Bowling for Soup's "I Melt With You"
* Featurettes:
o Breaking Down Walls: The Stunts of Sky High - 7-minute look at the extensive wire-work that went into the making of the film.
o Welcome to Sky High - 15-minute cast and crew interview
* Trailers - Lady and the Tramp, Glory Road, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Once Upon a Mattress, Toy Story 2, Kim Possible, Raven's House Party, and The Proud Family Movie

Number of discs: - 1 - Keepcase packaging.