Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
|Featuring:||Tim Allen, Courteney Cox-Arquette, Chevy Chase, Kevin Zegers, Aaron Abrams, Kate Mara|
|Director:||Peter Hewitt (“Garfield”, “Tom and Huck”)|
|Producer:||Joseph Boccia, Trevor Engelson, Todd Garner, Neil A. Machlis, Nick Osborne, Julie Ragland, Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd|
“They’re going to save the world as long as they’re home for dinner.”
Review updated by writer: August 24, 2006
“A former superhero is called back to work to transform an unlikely group of ragtag kids into new heroes at a private academy.” If this sounds familiar, it is probably because last years’ “Sky High” had virtually the exact same plot. Of course, if there is anything that Hollywood is good at, it is remakes, rip-offs, and sequels. Having said that, the fact that this is a blatant rip-off does not mean that it is bad. In fact, some rip-offs are better than the originals. Moreover, “Zoom” is based on a comic strip so it is technically no more of a rip-off than Superman is of Captain Marvel (or was Captain Marvel a rip-off of Superman?). How then does it stack up to “Sky High”?
Although “Sky High”’s cast was great, “Zoom” boasts Tim Allen whose knack for comedy is well known. Chevy Chase returns to movies as an unlikable technician and Rip Torn appears in a role which looks like a clone of his role in “Men in Black”. The newcomers also do a fine job. On a theatrical level, the movie is a step down from “Sky High”, although (judging from the audience reaction during and after the movie) “Zoom” may be a film that appeals more to the younger crowd. I found it entertaining, but not particularly worth the cost of movie prices today. Nevertheless, the children in the audience appeared to have fun, and a few broke out into applause at the end of the film.
In the film several children are recruited for a top secret organization but the retired Zoom does not seem eager to teach the children. He seems apathetic and uncaring as he is still distraught, mistrustful, and angry over the government abuses that destroyed the last superhero team. Eventually, he and the children become not a team, but a family. They fight to stop the evil brother of Zoom, and reverse the effects which turned him from goodness.
Morally the film is aimed at younger audiences although the lurking appearance of toilet humor rears its nasty head on a few occasions. One child calls someone a “lard butt,” there is joke about passing gas, a disgusting burp, and most disgusting is a scene where a kid blows nasal phlegm (of massive proportions) over several characters. Thus the movie is clearly PG for parental guidance. Despite these instances, the film is targeted for children and generally good.
One issue that parents may want to discuss after the movie, however, is how the movie portrays good and evil. In “Zoom”, the villain is presented as being evil because of a dose of gamma radiation. Zoom later tries to reverse the effects of the gamma radiation through superhero technobabel. Although the issue is not particularly harmful to the movie, parents should teach their children that evil is not artificially created but a part of the sinfulness of human nature. One cannot “reverse” evil’s effects by any means save the Messiah, Jesus Christ. In an age where terrorism should show how evil in the world is manifest, the apparent detachment of evil from issues of morality seems out of place.
Overall, “Zoom” was entertaining, if not spectacular. It will appeal more to children than adults, but adults should enjoy it as well. If you don’t have children, I would recommend waiting until it is on DVD and making it a double feature with the superior “Sky High”.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None