Thursday, July 27, 2006

MovieWatch: "Zoom"

Director: Peter Hewitt
Fien Print Rating (Out of 100): 38
Does anybody know what the record for most inspirational training montages is for a single film? One of my colleagues at the screening for "Zoom" claims that there were eight or nine, as over-the-hill superhero Tim Allen trains a squad of kiddie heroes with bizarre gifts -- they're telekinetic, extra-strong, capable of invisibility and able to engorge parts of their bodies at random. Best of all, the montages are set to hit songs that are five or six years old, as if the Sony clearances department was too lazy to take a stab at anything resembling a contemporary Billboard hit. How '90s retro is "Zoom"? The film's original songs are from Smash Mouth. Set almost entirely in a contained training facility, "Zoom" should have been really really inexpensive, but I suspect it wasn't. It just looks cut rate. It's all too bad, because Tim Allen is playing a variation on his "Galaxy Quest" character, which is something he does darned well and he has capable assistance from the likes of Rip Torn and -- heaven help us -- Chevy Chase, who takes an awful lot of abuse here for somebody who isn't even visible in the trailers. As for the young characters, I thought "O.C." veteran Michael Cassidy was bland-but-solid and little lisping Ryan Newman is impossibly cute as the superhero known as Princess. I particularly liked Kate Mara -- best known in my family as the semi-celebrity we saw while eating a lovely dinner at Campanile -- who, after appealing small parts in "Brokeback Mountain" and on "24," is probably ready for a breakout role one of these days. This movie -- likely to draw negative comparisons to last summer's "Sky High" -- probably won't be it.

Expect a full review on Zap2it somewhere around Aug. 11.

UPDATE -- 08/04/06: So "Sky High" just arrived via Netflix. I'd missed it last summer when it was in theaters, which was a mistake. Everything that "Zoom" tried to do and fell short at, "Sky High" delivered on with flying colors -- it's a pointed, satirical, colorful, smart, well-cast, well-performed superhero movie about what it's like to grow up different. The second "Sky High" came out, they should have pulled the plug on "Zoom," regardless of where they were in production. In retrospect, I have no idea where that "38" Fien Print Rating came from. It's probably closer to a 25. If that. "Sky High," on the other hand, would get a solid 75 and maybe higher. It deserved to be a bigger hit.


  1. Yeah, Sky High is completely adorable. Hits all the origins/bonding points well, and with a sense of humor. Loved Warren Peace.

  2. Anonymous12:17 AM

    I liked SKY HIGH too, but I think you may be suffering from "Ack! I just sat through ZOOM!"-itis. Was SKY HIGH good? Sure. Would it merit a 78 on the Fienberg scale? I don't know about that...