Sky High

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Parental guidance under 8 (Scary scenes, Themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Sky High
  • a review of Sky High completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 September 2005.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Due to some scary scenes and complex themes and dialogue, parental guidance is recommended for children under the age of eight.
Children over the age of 8 Children over the age of eight could watch this movie with or without parental guidance

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Sky High
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence
Length: 100 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) is the 14 year old son of superhero parents, The Commander and Jetstream, also known as real estate agents, Steve and Josie Stronghold (Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston). He is about to start his first day at Sky High School for superheros, but to his consternation, hasn’t yet found his superpowers as the rest of his peers have. So while his parents go off to fight a monster terrorising the city, he joins his best friend, Layla on the flying school bus to the anti-gravity Sky High.

Day one for Will at Sky High includes being bullied, becoming enamoured with a senior student, Gwen Grayson, meeting the principal (Lynda Carter), being humiliated during ‘Power Placement’ when he is made ‘Sidekick’ instead of ‘Hero’ and meeting his arch-enemy, Warren Peace. Day Two involves Will and Layla’s first ‘Hero Support’ class with Mr Boy, former sidekick to the Commander and previously known as All American Boy (Dave Foley). It is also the day, Will tells his parents that he may never have any superpowers. Although initially disappointed, they are cheered by the hope that Will could be a great real estate agent.

Their disappointment is short-lived however, as Will discovers his power of super-strength the next day during a lunchtime fight with Warren Peace. Will is then moved into the ‘Hero’ stream, separating him from his ‘Sidekick’ friends. Adding to his problems is the ongoing feud with Warren, protecting his friends from bullying from senior students and the distracting but welcome advances of Gwen, causing him to neglect Layla (who harbours a secret crush on him). All the while, Will and his parents are unaware of the growing threat to their lives by the return of an old enemy, Royal Pain. Events culminate at the Sky High prom, where Will and his friends must use their combined abilities to save his parents and the school itself.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Will is thrown up against a concrete wall and falls down onto stairs. This is depicted in comical manner.
  • Mr Stronghold gets angry and destroys a phone while trying to ring the school.
  • Will and Warren get into a fight in the school canteen. Warren throws flames and between them both a lot property is destroyed. They are both thrown around the room and into walls and furniture. Neither is seriously hurt and they both get detention.
  • Will and Warren are paired together during a school activity of ‘save the citizen’. They must save a mannequin from rotating blades, while the ‘villains’, the bullying seniors, attack them. All four students are thrown around, hit, punched and suffocated during this exercise. Again, no one is seriously hurt.
  • There are extended fight scenes during which Royal Pain and her sidekicks attack Will and his team. Characters are thrown, hit, punched etc and Royal Pain ends up head in a mirror ball. Will is also thrown out of  the school hall window. There are few serious consequences from the fights, and some fights are shown in a comical light.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned scenes, there are some scenes that could disturb children under the age of five, including:

  • Will’s parents are shown fighting a giant metallic monster, which they easily overcome.
  • Will and the other students on the school bus are obviously scared and screaming as the bus flies off a bridge on the way up to Sky High. In a later scene, they are shown to have learnt to enjoy the experience.
  • Will and his friends are shown at various times to be bullied by two senior boys at school.
  • A car is dropped on Will during ‘Power Placement’ and he is then thrown up against a wall. This is depicted in a comical fashion.
  • During their fight in the canteen, Warren uses his power of flame throwing and looks menacing. His arms remain alight. Other children in the canteen run around and appear afraid. At the end, when Warren and Will are in detention, Warren tells Will that “ if you ever come near me again, I’ll roast you”.
  • At various times through the movie, two dark figures, obviously villains, are shown to be spying on the Stronghold’s home and plotting their demise.
  • One of Will’s teachers freezes two students during his class. This is depicted as comical.
  • Warren is shown to be slowly suffocating during the ‘save the citizen’ exercise.
  • Royal Pain uses the Pacifier weapon against Will’s parents and most of the school staff., resulting in them being turned into babies.
  • Will is thrown out the school window and is shown falling towards the ground. Shortly after, it is apparent he has also inherited the ability to fly.
  • Royal Pain sets a timer on the school’s anti-gravity control. When this goes off, the school plummets towards the ground. Will and his friends are able to stop it falling and restore anti-gravity function, but everyone appears afraid during the fall.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some children in this age bracket could be concerned by some of these scenes, particularly the following scenes:

  • the fight in the canteen
  • Warren appearing to suffocate
  • Will falling towards the ground
  • The school falling towards the ground.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

There are no scenes that would be scary for children over 13 years old.

Sexual references

There are no sexual references in this movie.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity or sexual activity in this movie.

Use of substances

There is no use of substances in this movie.

Coarse language

There is a little coarse language, and some name calling, including:

  • butt-kissery
  • shut up
  • idiot
  • jerk

In a nutshell

The main messages from this movie are that everyone can be ‘the hero” ,that everyone’s contribution is valuable and accepting people for who they are.

Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • friendship
  • loyalty
  • equal gender roles
  • not using violence as a means to resolve conflict, as shown by Layla
  • valuing people for who they are and not placing too high or too low an expectation on them.
  • forgiveness

Parents could take the opportunity to discuss with their children what their own family’s values are, and what the real life consequences can be of bullying, lying, disobeying parent’s rules and fighting. Some teenagers could also benefit from a discussion of the movie’s themes of popularity, peer groups and first romances.