Making the Grades
It sounds like a promising premise. A former superhero and comic book legend known as Zoom (Tim Allen) is called back into action when an old enemy poses a new threat -- not to reprise his daring deeds, but to train a new generation of potential superheroes.
Tranquilized and forcibly returned to the secret government agency that honed his unique talents as a youth, the jaded middle-aged man meets their young recruits. They include six-year-old Cindy (Ryan Newman), an incredibly strong young lady with a stronger desire to play dress-up, twelve-year-old Tucker (Spenser Breslin), whose tubby body can expand to immense proportions, sweet sixteen Summer (Kate Mara), a beauty with extraordinary brain power, and seventeen-year-old Dylan (Michael Cassidy), whose cocky and angst filled attitude is almost as amazing as his ability to disappear.
The problem with the movie is, once the introductory credits with the voiced-over narration ends, the plot also vanishes! Instead, the film presents a series of montage sequences -- all edited to popular music, of course. These feature things like the candidates' tryouts (where a group of kids demonstrate their not-always-so-super skills, such as producing giant amounts of gas or green slime from their nose), training exercises (involving a paintball machine and havoc-wreaking opportunities), taking a flying saucer for a spin (that offers a perfect product placement for a fast-food franchise), and seeking vengeance on the chief scientist, played by Chevy Chase (which appears to have been added simply to provide the veteran actor a cameo comedic moment).
The only positive angle to this lack of story may be the similar lack of content issues. A slinky green dress worn by Courtney Cox in her role as the children's psychiatrist and brief innuendo comprise the only sexual concerns. Nor will much offense be given by some mild stylized violence, slight rude humor and one term of deity used as an expletive.
Still, this hardly compensates for the disappointing script. With competition from the deluge of other superhero films that have recently flooded theaters, I predict Zoom will quickly debut on the silver screen, then make a speedy retreat to the home entertainment market.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Zoom: Academy for Superheroes.
Each of the exceptional children portrayed in this film have experienced teasing and bullying because of their unusual talents. Why is being “different” often a target for ridicule? How interesting would life be if everyone was the same? How do you feel you should react to the uniqueness of each individual?