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Movie Review


MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for brief rude humor, language and mild action

Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids, Family
Action, Adventure, Comedy, Live action, Based on Comic, Drama, Super Hero
1 hr. 23 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 11, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
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Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to childrens’ questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
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
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

“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

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I viewed the movie today and was impressed by the film. I saw nothing in the film that I would not let my 7 year old watch. Of course, he enjoyed the movie much more than I did, I did find myself laughing on several occasions. …The movie was all about family. Weather it was a natural family or a group of people who did not have anyone else. It showed team work and how differences in people could be worked through. It is a movie that my children will want in their DVD collection.
My Ratings: Good / 4
Brian Hanna, age 34
Negative—This film was so lame that I had to write my first ever review to warn others. My twelve year old daughter and I watched this movie and were very disappointed… Don’t waste your time.
My Ratings: Average / 1½
Ron, age 48
Comments from young people
Positive—Personally, I thought this movie was great especially for kids. I love kids’ movies like this so I thought it was good, but most older adults I have talked to think that these shows are “stupid.” In this case, I believe that it depends on the person’s style of movies. There was only one instant in the movie that I could have lived without seeing which was when a boy (pardon me for being blunt) blew snot on everyone because that was supposed to be his “power.” That was gross, but I saw nothing else inappropriate in the movie. …The movie overall was great for anyone.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
Holly, age 16
Negative—This movie was extremely stupid. There was nothing offensive, but everything else was terrible. The acting was very stale. The special effects were very bad. I already had low expectations when I saw this, but when I saw this it was worse than I expected. This movie would probably be good for younger audiences who can’t see other super-hero movies. Overall, this movie is junk.
My Ratings: Good / 1½
Josh, age 16
Neutral—All right, first off, I thought “Zoom” was kind of a silly movie. I wasn’t all too thrilled when my family wanted to go rent it, but I thought, 'why not?', and so watched it with them. Well, I wasn’t really pleased with it, but wasn’t too offended. It was gross with that one kid’s powers (I’m sure many know what I’m talking about). That was un-called for. The movie would have been fine without it. I thought it was cute with the seven-year-old girl and Zoom and how they soon bonded. The other kids were cool too, especially the teen boy with his powers. All in all, an okay movie. My younger brother and sister liked it better than I did, and I can see why, since the movie’s more for younger kids.
My Ratings: Average / 2½
Kiley Strangman, age 16
Negative—Great actors, great music (Smash Mouth! yay!)… dumb story! This was one of the worst written movies I have watched in a while! Don’t waste your time.
My Ratings: Good / 2
Relys, age 14
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie! It was clever and very funny. And I like it when the bad guy isn’t killed at the end! It wasn’t too violent either!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
Anna Rose, age 16
Positive—“Zoom” was a good movie. I watched it twice! What happens in our family is if we like the movie enough then we watch it again the next morning. I thought Tim Allen was VERY fun in it. I have seen better movies though, like “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At worlds end.” Overall, excellant film!…
My Ratings: Good / 4½
Emily, age 12