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:: Sky High

Like any average kid, Will Stronghold (Michael Angararo) is nervous about starting high school. What if he doesn’t fit in? What if he’s not good enough? Will’s parents don’t just expect a lot from him, they expect him to be a superhero.

His mum and dad are Commander Stronghold (Kurt Russel) and Jet stream (Kelly Preston), two of the best superheroes around and they just assume Will has inherited their talents. They send him to Sky High, a school that specialises in teaching young superheroes how to control their powers, but Will has just one big problem. He hasn’t inherited his father’s super strength or his mother’s ability to fly. In fact, unlike everyone else in his class, Will has no powers at all. In a school that’s divided into heroes with amazing powers and sidekicks who have mediocre powers, it looks like Will might be the bottom of the heap.

Although it’s pitched to an early high school audience, the basic premise of Sky High is very similar to last Christmas’s Pixar hit, The Incredibles. A seemingly normal family with mundane careers and a house in the suburbs can solve the world’s problems with their superpowers but must work as hard as anyone else to bring their family together. The jokes vary only slightly between the two films and were much funnier the first time around. Visually, there’s nothing in Sky High we haven’t seen before. It cashes in on the lycra-clad image of your average superhero, while special effects are adequate to spice up the script.

Younger teens will identify strongly with the film’s themes of peer pressure and the stresses of puberty, the first crush, school bullies and wanting to live up to parental expectations. Like a classic Disney film, it offers moral guidance to its audience and is a celebration of family values and the importance of loyalty among friends. Sky High should leave its audience feeling empowered as well as entertained.