Zoom: Academy for Superheroes (2006) mini review

based on a comic book

There was a lot bad press about this film, and a lot of bad reviews. I didn't get a chance to watch it in the theater, so I picked it up on DVD. Because of the bad press, I thought I'd lower my expectations. A lot. And, I thought if I lowered the bar, then I would likely be pleasantly surprised, and I'd like the movie a lot more than I expected.

I still think it was a great plan; it's unfortunate that it didn't work.

Zoom: Academy for Superheroes, based either on the comic - Zoom's Academy for the Super Gifted - or the children's book - Amazing Adventures from Zoom's Academy - depending on whichever version you you believe, came out this past Tuesday on DVD. In the film, has-been and powerless superhero Zoom (Tim Allen), is brought out of retirement to train a new team of superheroes to prepare for the impending return of his nemesis, Concussion (Kevin Zegers - Smallville). It's too bad the new team is a bunch of misfit kids that the reluctant Zoom won't likely to be able to train before zero hour.

Zoom is about as bad as everyone says. But first the good. There are a few laugh out loud jokes, and one extremely funny scene near the end of the movie - but it's much funnier if I don't spoil it, so I won't. Another thing I found redeeming was the cute nod to comic collectors toward the beginning. Miss Halloway (Courteney Cox) plays the psychologist/researcher who is partly responsible for the children; and she has "every issue of Zoom and His Amazing Team". When she later shows them to the kids, she pulls out the "pH-balancing, antibacterial gloves". Well, I can take the joke, because I've been there. The DVD menu was pretty slick, too, as were the opening credits. It's done more and more, but I still like introducing a comic book or superhero film with comic book art.

Anyway, on to the bad. The film is poorly written and poorly executed. On top of that, it's horribly disjointed. Character development is forced and comes in sudden gasps. I almost get the impression that the film was much, much longer, and in post, they edited out all the explanatory sequences that made the movie flow, along with the important character development. And of course, the obligatory climax of any superhero movie culminates in an extremely contrived scene when all of the superheroes learn to use their powers together to be victorious.

And finally, the ugly. It's almost like someone said, Let's cash in on the currently popular superhero movie genre - the formula goes like this: make the writing stupid and corny, make the characters act unrealistic, and make sure everyone overacts. Rip Torn (General Larraby; Men In Black, Men In Black II) is a good over-actor. You expect that. Courteney Cox is a bad over-actor.

A disturbing side note is Cox's character. She's a psychologist. She's a "researcher". And she's Miss Halloway. I'm sure the researcher/psychologist wouldn't have a Ph.D. I'm glad that the only one with the real education in the film was Chevy Chase playing the buffoon, Dr. Grant. What is this, 1952? Plus, Cox steals Chase's schtick by tripping and falling down through the whole movie. She's the penultimate nerd; just not smart enough to make it through school.

The really sad thing about all these holes is that, collectively, these actors have been in enough good films that they could have written a better movie on the fly.

And, lastly, they had to waste Five For Fighting's Superman and Enrique Iglesias's Hero on this film.

See it if you've got a major thing for superhero films and you've got some time to kill.

Don't see it if you'd rather hunt down the comics, which I'm sure (sight unseen) are much better.


Bones said...

Ouch! I had no interest in seeing it, but my wife wants to get it for the kid. Looks like I'll have the unfortunate displeasure of seeing it soon. Hopefully it won't be one of those that sticks with him, so I'm not forced to see it over and over again.

Jim said...

Ha! Even good movies can get old when that happens - believe me; I know.

When I asked my daughter what she thought of Zoom her only reply was "OK"; so maybe you'll be safe :)

The Iron Stallion said...

Idk man, I liked it. Btw this is a really cool 9 almost 10 year reply. I feel important.

The Iron Stallion said...

I am from the future