Sky High Parent Guide
This superhero movie rises above its genre with a light touch and laugh out loud humor that will be appreciated by viewers of all ages.
Parent Movie Review
High school is tough enough already, but imagine if you had to worry about other issues while negotiating the thorns and flowers of puberty. Such is the case for a select group of teens attending Sky High, a very “special” school for those with budding superhero powers.
Among the freshman is Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano), son of Commander Stronghold (Kurt Russel) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston). Because they are two of the most famous superheroes in the world, Will’s reputation precedes him as he steps upon the turf of his parents’ Alma Mater. Yet, what his fellow students (and even his mom and dad) don’t know is, Will still hasn’t discovered his special power.
Being a “late bloomer” in this crowd makes for incredible peer pressure. His other classmates have already found their unique talents, like his best friend Layla (Danielle Panabaker), who has been born with the greenest of thumbs giving her complete control over plant life; Ethan (Dee -Jay Daniels), able to melt into a pool of mush; Zach (Nicholas Braun) who glows when placed in a tight situation; and Magenta (Kelly Vitz), gifted with what some may think is the best power of all—shape-shifting. The problem is she can only transform into one thing… a purple guinea pig.
First day jitters just get worse when it’s time for gym class and Coach Boomer (Bruce Campbell) begins having the kids demonstrate their powers. Based on Boomer’s assessment, they are either designated as a “hero” or a “sidekick”—the latter being the group to which Will’s friends are ascribed. But for the boy with the super pedigree, high expectations make the situation even more humiliating. The only thing worse is having to reveal his lowly sidekick status to his father.
However, a school rebel inadvertently helps the young man unlock his potential. Warren Peace (Steven Strait), the flame-throwing offspring of a hero mother and a villain father, has a grudge against the Stronghold family. When he decides to take out his hot temper on the cold-footed Will, the confrontation leaves the underdog suddenly bursting with newfound strength—and reassigned to the hero class.
Sadly, the promotion means seeing less of his sidekick friends, however Will gets over any feelings of remorse after meeting his new lab partner Gwen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), an attractive senior and student body president—with a secret.
For those expecting another teen movie, Sky High rises far above the rest of this genre. The imaginative script parallels jocks and geeks, with the added benefit of providing some great discussion starters and lessons for young audiences. These serious moments come off with grace and style, thanks to a good dose of humor that works for children and grown-ups.
Not falling into the “kids know best” trap, both young and old play necessary roles within this community of characters. For instance, Will learns the importance of trusting his parents, while Ron the bus driver (Kevin Heffernan), an adult who didn’t inherit his parents’ best genetic traits, demonstrates how you don’t need superpowers to make a significant difference.
With virtually no profanity, only a few moments of teen romance, and some superhero violence that’s never overdone, Sky High graduates with flying colors for family viewing,Directed by Mike Mitchell. Starring Michael Angarano, Kurt Russel, Kelly Preston. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release July 28, 2005. Updated November 29, 2018
Watch the trailer for Sky High
Sky High Parents' Guide
In reality, how are heroes and sidekicks determined in your school? Is this a fair classification? Where do you think you fit?
What role does peer pressure play in Will’s life? How did his relationship with Gwen put him and his family at risk? Have you, or your friends, ever been “blinded” by love?
Ron, the bus driver, should have had the benefits of super powers after having two superhero parents. How does he make up for this loss? How can attitude affect our outlook on life?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Young readers who daydream about being superheroes should get a kick out of Deb Pilutti’s Ten Rules of Being a Superhero.
Preschoolers will enjoy The Day I Lost My Superpowers by Michael Escoffier. This sweet story combines children, superpowers, and warm parent-child relationships in a story parents and kids will both enjoy.
Teen readers will likely enjoy Dangerous by Shannon Hale. This novel tells the story of the world’s least likely superhero, Maisie Danger Brown, a one-armed, half-Peruvian teenager living in Salt Lake City. Can Maisie develop superpowers and save the world? You betcha.
Shannon Hale has also written a series for younger readers about a superhero princess. Entitled Princess in Black, the series follows Princess Magnolia and her alter ego.
What if the sidekick is the one who saves the world? In A Hero at the End of the World, Erin Claiborne tells the story of Oliver Abrams, friend of the destined superhero, who defeats the villain. Teens will likely enjoy this twist on the Harry Potter series.
The most recent home video release of Sky High movie is November 28, 2005. Here are some details…
School has never been as out of this world as it is in Buena Vista Home Entertainment’s Sky High. Offered either in wide or full screen editions, the DVD features an alternate opening, Breaking Down the Walls (the stunts of Sky High) and Welcome to Sky High (a behind-the-scenes look at the making the movie with the cast and crew). All buddy superheroes will take comfort in the Super Bloopers (which features a little extra kissing not mentioned in our review, and a prank that shows a boy in boxer shorts), while music fans will enjoy Bowling for Soup’s music video I Melt With You. Audio tracks are available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), with subtitles in French.
Related home video titles:
The Incredibles is another film with super characters, created jointly by Disney and Pixar Studios. And did you notice the old yearbook picture of Will’s dad? In a past Disney film, Kurt Russell (Captain Stronghold) played a whiz kid in The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, the movie in which he wore that same great sports jacket!