Sky High (2005 film)
Theatrical release poster (L-R: Kelly Vitz, Winstead, Angarano, Russell, Preston, Strait, Panabaker)
|Directed by||Mike Mitchell|
|Produced by||Andrew Gunn|
|Written by||Paul Hernandez
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
|Music by||Michael Giacchino|
|Editing by||Peter Amundson|
Max Stronghold Productions Inc.
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Release date(s)||July 29, 2005|
|Running time||100 minutes|
Sky High is a 2005 American superhero family comedy film about an airborne school for teenage superheroes. It was directed by Mike Mitchell and written by Paul Hernandez, Robert Schooley, and Mark McCorkle. The starring cast includes Michael Angarano as Will, an incoming freshman at the school; Danielle Panabaker as his best friend; Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston as his parents; Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a popular senior; Steven Strait as Will's rival; and Lynda Carter as Principal Powers. Andrew Gunn produced the film for Walt Disney Pictures.
Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) is beginning grade nine at Sky High, a high school which teaches super powered children. Will's parents are The Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston), the world's most famous superheroes. Will's best friend is Layla (Danielle Panabaker), who has the power to manipulate plant life.
Will is anxious about attending Sky High, located on a floating campus reached by flying school bus, because, unbeknownst to his parents, he has not developed any super powers. The first day he and the other grade nines are harassed by a trio of bullies: the super fast Speed (Will Harris), Lash (Jake Sandvig) who can extend his body, and cheerleader Penny (Malika and Khadijah Haqq) who can create duplicates of herself.
Because of his lack of powers, Will is slated to enter a curriculum for "Hero Support" and become a sidekick. His classmates include Ethan (Dee Jay Daniels) who can melt into a fluid, Zach (Nicholas Braun) who glows in the dark, Magenta (Kelly Vitz) who becomes a guinea pig, and Layla who joins the class in protest against the two track nature of the school's education. The class is taught by The Commander's former sidekick "All American Boy" (Dave Foley).
The Commander, unaware that his son has been relegated to Hero Support, shows Will his hidden trophy room. He is particularly proud of the mysterious weapon "The Pacifier" which he took from his science themes arch-nemesis Royal Pain years ago. Unknown to either of them, Royal Pain, who had been presumed dead, watches the exchange from a hidden camera in one of the other trophies. As Will settles in to Sky High and makes friends with the other sidekicks he comes into conflict with fire wielding student Warren Peace (Steven Strait), whose supervillain father had been imprisoned by The Commander. During a fight between the two, Will demonstrates super strength, impressing Gwen Grayson (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a beautiful and popular "technopath" who controls machines with her mind. Will begins spending more time with Gwen and her popular friends, ignoring the sidekicks and Layla, who reveals to Warren that she has loved Will for a long time.
On the day before the dance, Gwen tricks Will into throwing a party at his house, and she uses Speed to steal the Pacifier when she seduces Will into showing her the Secret Sanctum. After Gwen lies to Layla, who shows up to investigate the noise and believes the lie, Will breaks up with Gwen refusing to attend the dance even though his parents are going as honored guests. Later, he looks through his father's old yearbooks and sees a student who resembles Gwen. Believing that the student is Royal Pain and that Gwen is her daughter he rushes to the dance.
At the dance party, Gwen reveals that she is in fact Royal Pain. During her previous confrontation with the Commander, the Pacifier, which is meant to turn its target into an infant, had malfunctioned, turning her into a baby instead. She has since waited sixteen years for revenge. With the help of Speed, Lash, and Penny, she takes over the school and uses the Pacifier to turn the faculty and students into infants.
When Will arrives at school, he apologizes to Layla and teams up with Warren and the sidekicks to try and save the day. The sidekicks demonstrate their heroism after Royal Pain sabotages the school's anti-gravity drive and their powers come in handy restarting it. Will, meanwhile, discovers that he also has his mother's powers of flight when he is thrown off the edge of the school grounds and must prevent the campus from falling. Gwen and her henchmen are defeated and arrested and the faculty and students are returned to their proper ages. Will and Layla kiss and a voiceover at the end reveals that they become boyfriend and girlfriend.
- Michael Angarano as William Theodore "Will" Stronghold, a freshman at Sky High. His parents are the two most famous superheroes — Commander and Jetstream — as well as Maxville's top real estate agents in their secret identities. By the end of the film, he is shown to have both super strength and- flight. Although initially oblivious to Layla's feelings for him, Will does return them and starts a relationship with her at the end of the film.
- Danielle Panabaker as Layla Williams, Will's best friend since childhood. She is a pacifist, vegetarian, and feminist, and is able to animate and control plant life. Her mother's abilities are said to allow her to talk to animals, and her father is a normal human. She is secretly in love with Will, and they start a relationship at the end of the film.
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Gwendolyn "Gwen" Grayson/Royal Pain/Sue Tenny, a senior at Sky High whom Will has a crush on. Her power is technopathy. Winstead said of her role, "I bounced around. I was either the hero of the sidekicks or the sidekick to the heroes." While in her Royal Pain suit, Patrick Warburton provides the vocal effects. When she attended Sky High the first time, no one understood her class of powers and she was slated as a sidekick. This was why she became a villain and plotted to destroy Sky High.
- Steven Strait as Warren Peace (a pun on the novel War and Peace), the son of an unnamed superheroine and a supervillain known as Baron Battle, who is in jail with four life sentences. He is pyrokinetic, meaning he can control and manipulate fire. At first, he acts very cold towards Will because of the fact that the Commander put his father away in prison, but later becomes his friend. At the end of the film, he begins a relationship with an unnamed girl with cryokinetic (ice-manipulative) powers.
- Dee Jay Daniels as Ethan, a sidekick who is friends with Will, he can melt into a fluid (which earned him the nickname "Popsicle"). In the end, he gets notified as a hero by tricking Lash and trapping his head in a toilet. He also uses his powers to cause Speed to slip while he is running, giving Warren the opportunity to pelt him with a fireball.
- Kelly Vitz as Magenta "Maj", Will's friend whose ability is to shapeshift into a guinea pig complete with purple highlights/streaks in her fur. In the end, Maj gets notified as a hero because she used her ability to scurry down the only open passage to the school generator, where she deactivated the device Royal Pain installed to sabotage the anti-gravity and knock the school out of the sky.
- Nicholas Braun as Zachary "Zach" Braun/Zack Attack, Will's spacey childhood friend, who has the latent ability to glow in the dark.
- Malika and Khadijah Haqq as Penny Lent, Gwen's best friend, who can duplicate herself and is naturally athletic.
- Jake Sandvig and Will Harris as Lash and Speed, the resident bullies at Sky High; Lash is skinny, and has elasticity and can stretch his body parts far, while Speed is overweight, yet can run at an extremely high speed.
- Kurt Russell as Steve Stronghold/The Commander, Will's father. As the Commander, he is one of the world's strongest superheroes, displaying superhuman strength and invulnerability, and is a successful businessman in his secret identity.
- Kelly Preston as Josie DeMarco-Stronghold/Jetstream, Will's mother. She is a successful real estate agent. As Jetstream, she has the power of supersonic flight; she is also touted as being an expert in hand-to-hand combat.
- Lynda Carter as Principal Powers, the principal of Sky High. She appears to have the power to change into a luminous energy form resembling a comet and back at will. She is only shown using her power as a form of transportation, but it likely has other uses.
- Bruce Campbell as Tommy Boomowski/Coach Boomer/Sonic Boom, the gym teacher at Sky High, also known as Sonic Boom due to his ability to release sonic waves from his vocal cords. His power is known as sonic screaming. His real name is Tommy Boomowski as seen in the Commander's Sky High Yearbook.
- Kevin Heffernan as Ron Wilson, the Sky High bus driver/pilot. Ron is the son of two superheroes but does not have any powers himself. He feels a great sense of pride in driving the "superheroes of tomorrow" to school. He helps to save Sky High by preventing Royal Pain's henchmen from escaping with the superhero babies, claiming he is the only one authorized to transport superheroes. He is the rare case of a person born to two supers who inherits no powers, although he does get powers later by accidentally falling into a vat of toxic waste.
- Cloris Leachman as Nurse Spex, a kind and eccentric elderly lady that serves as Sky High's single known nurse, with the ability of X-ray vision.
- Jim Rash as Mr. Grayson/Stitches, Royal Pain's bumbling sidekick. He raised her as his daughter after she was turned into a baby by the Pacifier.
- Dave Foley as Jonathan Boy/All-American Boy, the Commander's old sidekick. He now works as Hero Support teacher at Sky High and has an obvious interest in Will's mother.
- Kevin McDonald as Professor Medulla, the Mad Science teacher, with a hyper-advanced (and oversized) brain, which grants him advanced intelligence, creativity and a multitude of genius-level skills – so much that even when he is reduced to a baby by the Pacifier, he still possesses an intellect greater than the average adult.
- Kim Rhodes as Elastic Girl/Professor Jeannie Elast, who has the talent to twist her body into anything she wants.
- Tom Kenny and Jill Talley as Mr. and Mrs. Chester Timmerman, who make a small cameo in the movie.
- Loren Berman as Larry, is a nerdy boy who shows Coach Boomer his power: he can turn into a Big Rock Man. He's quite unusual but when he is angry, that is when his power activates, and later he becomes friends with Will.
According to scifi.com, Disney was attracted by the "original concept" of "children of superheroes going to high school", originally conceived by screenwriter Paul Hernandez in the 1990s. After recruiting comedy writers Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley (creators of Kim Possible) for polishing Hernandez's script, Disney hired several comedians such as Kevin McDonald, Dave Foley, and Kevin Heffernan for supporting roles. For the main roles, the casting was a mix of established and new teenager actors: while Michael Angarano and Mary Elizabeth Winstead were already successful, Danielle Panabaker was little-known and Steven Strait (a former model) was hired after his first audition ever.
Producer Mike Mitchell said that Sky High functions on two premises: "the adults are all insane" and "the girls are smarter than the boys": Therefore, all the adults portrayed in the film tend to be caricatured, while the teenage girls are written as more assertive and powerful than the boys. For the treatment of the teenage actors, Mitchell also stated that the actors all had their own trailer and were generally kept separated, because "we did not want them to date after the second week and break up after the fourth", which would have made filming difficult.
Mitchell, a science fiction fan, admitted that this project "was a dream", because it brought him together with four of his favorite SF cult heroes: namely Wonder Woman (popularized in the eponymous 1970s series by actress Lynda Carter), Snake Plissken (portrayed by Kurt Russell), Ash Williams (from Evil Dead, played by Bruce Campbell) and Cloris Leachman, who earned fame as Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein.
Reception and box office figures 
Sky High received generally favorable reviews. Based on review aggregrator Rotten Tomatoes, the film earned a "fresh" rating of 73% positive reviews (85 positive, 33 negative). Critics on this website were generally favorable on the firmly tongue-in-cheek nature of the film, which knowingly spoofed comic clichés, but others found it too cheesy. Commercially it was a success: on an estimated budget of US$35 million, it earned just under $64 million in the US alone, and another $22 million internationally, bringing the total to just over $86 million.
|Sky High (Original Soundtrack)|
|Soundtrack album by Various Artists|
|Released||July 26, 2005|
|Singles from Sky High (Original Soundtrack)|
Track listing 
- "I Melt with You" – Bowling for Soup (Originally by: Modern English)
- "Through Being Cool" – They Might Be Giants (Originally by: Devo)
- "Save It for Later" – Flashlight Brown (Originally by: The Beat)
- "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" – Christian Burns (Originally by: Tears for Fears)
- "One Thing Leads to Another" – Steven Strait (Originally by: The Fixx)
- "Lies" – The Click Five (Originally by: Thompson Twins)
- "Voices Carry" – Vitamin C (Originally by: 'Til Tuesday)
- "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" – Elefant (Originally by: The Smiths)
- "True" – Cary Brothers (Originally by: Spandau Ballet)
- "Just What I Needed" – Caleigh Peters (Originally by: The Cars)
- "Can't Stop the World" – Ginger Sling (Originally by: The Go-Go's)
- "And She Was" – Keaton Simons (Originally by: Talking Heads)
- "Twist and Crawl" – Skindred (Originally by: The Beat)
AllMusic rated the album 2.5/5, saying that it "stumbles more than it succeeds" and conclusively "painfully conventional."
See also 
- "Sky Kids Have Hero Issues," SciFi.com (22-JULY-05).
- Oviatt Library
- CSUN Licensing - Facilities Use
- Kurt Russell and company go back to high school to learn what it means to be super in Sky High
- Sky High DVD extras
- Sky High (2005) - Box office / business
- Sky High (2005 film) at Allmusic
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