Don't You Forget About: Sky High

Photo: Movieposter.com

If you've read any Scott Pilgrim vs. the World reviews recently, you've probably heard a lot about Mary Stuart Winstead. In that flick, Winstead plays Ramona, a hipster Amazon.com delivery gal who catches way too many lame guys eyes, including an gawkward bass player named, you guessed it, Scott Pilgrim. While the movie has epically failed to light up the box-office, it has gotten some serious praise from pundits, mostly for Winstead's sassy-yet-serious performance. They say she's some sort of new-age It Girl, a Ghost World-era Thora Birch. I say, they're late to the party.

Scott's hot-haired heroine has always managed to superbly woo the nerd herd. She just hasn't always been as nice about it. Back in 2005, Winstead warmed Michael Anganaro's wimp heart as Gwen Grayson in truly underrated tween action-comedy, Sky High. Unlike Ramona, who works extra hard to stand out in her bug-eyed goggles and all-over-the-place haircut, Gwen just wants to be popular, and is willing to do just about anything to get there - even if it means fake-wooing her high school's nerdiest superhero.

Gwen doesn't go to your typical American secondary school. She goes to Sky High, a special school for the sons and daughters of the world's top superheroes. As soon as a student enters Sky High's cloud-bound halls (it's literally located up in the air), they get sent to an oversized gym for their first exam. While their new classmates watch, they have to display their special power on command. The usefulness (Useful being super strength, firestarting, not-so useful being turning into a guinea pig) of said display will determine whether they're considered a Hero or a Sidekick. Most students are happy with their placement, settling for their biologically predetermined fate/friends (Even superheros are no match for cliques!). Well, except Will Stronghold.

Will (Anganaro) is the son of two of the most famous superheroes of all-time, Jetstream (Kelly Preston) and the Commander (Kurt Russell). As a result, everyone and their lab partner expects him to be a larger-than-life success, capable of beyond-big things in school and in life. Unfortunately for Will, the family's awesomeness seems to have skipped a generation.

Unlike his parents, Will's completely powerless, (although, he pretends to have his dad's super strength, using fake weights in his bedroom), not to mention unpopular, rocking a pre-Bieber bangy mushroom cut and a socially-awkward disposition. All he's got going for him is a few loyal friends (most notably his BFF with occasional, strained benefits, Layla (Danielle Panabaker)) and an adorakable smile. If only he could man-up and get close to Sky High's hottest senior (Hello, Gwen!).

The rest of the movie is straight out of every-other teen comedy transformation you love (Will finally discovers his powers, becomes popular and forgets about his old friends - at least for a little while). However, it comes off a lot cooler. With it's funky backgrounds, which are filled with comic book colours, and zippy, innuendo-filled one-liners, Sky High turns typical teenage angst into junk food. And once you get a taste, you won't be able to turn away, especially if you're a geek at heart. Don't believe me? Three words. Bruce. Campbell. Cameo. Two more words. Lynda. Carter.

While it's certainly not perfect (the villain is a tad ridiculous, especially in the finale), Sky High is way too fun to pass up. Especially for families who are weary to take their kids to see Paulie Bleeker fight off ex-boyfriends with a lightsaber. Sure, the special effects are nowhere near as cool (no on-screen onomatopoeia here), and the acting is a little hammy (yes, even Winstead), but it's way better than most kiddie fare out there today. Hell, it's better than most movies out there right now. So instead of catching that 6:15 screening of Cats and Dogs, grab some Jiffy pop and high-tail it to the local Blockbuster. Whether you're sharing it with a few friends, family members or just yourself, by the end of the night, I guarantee you'll feel like a movie night hero. Or at least, a super cool sidekick.

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