Saturday, April 7, 2012

Zoom: Academy for Superheroes Movie Review

I love watching all kinds of movies. I know there are movies made that are campy and cheesy, but are still fun and entertaining to watch. I can think of several fun superhero movies like that. Zoom (2006) is not one of these films. Even for a ridiculous superhero movie,Zoom was excruciating to watch. It was so bad that I occasionally found myself watching my sleeping cat; watching him do nothing was much more entertaining than it was watching this movie.
Dr. Grant (Chevy Chase) discovers that a super villain named Concussion (Kevin Zegers) is making his way back through the space-time continuum to our dimension to destroy the world. General Larraby (Rip Torn)  decides to form a new Zenith Team, a team of superheros, to fight Concussion. The only remaining member of the original Zenith Team is washed out Jack Shepard (Tim Allen), also known as Captain Zoom. Shepard is called in to train the new Zenith Team with the help of Dr. Marsha Holloway (Courtney Cox), a big fan of Zoom who only knew him through the comic books written about him. A group of four kids with special powers are gathered; Dylan West (Michael Cassidy), a 17-year-old boy who can become invisible; Summer Jones (Kate Mara), a 16-year-old girl with telekinesis; Tucker William (Spencer Breslin), a 12-year-old boy with the power to enlarge any part of his body; and Cindy Collins (Ryan Newman), a six-year-old girl with super strength. General Larraby wants to enhance the powers of the kids with Gamma-13 radiation, even though it is the same thing that turned Concussion evil. It's a race to prepare the kids to work as a team and master their powers, but Shepard's bitter and sarcastic attitude only complicates things as Concussion draws ever nearer.
This was one of the most poorly written films I have seen in a long time! I'm fairly certain that the writers have never read a comic book, or seen a superhero movie. It's as though they browsed around Wikipedia for 10 minutes collecting all the superhero buzzwords they could find and stuck them into the Zoom script wherever they thought it made grammatical sense. Here is a line from Dr. Grant early in the movie: “We've been tracking a pan-dimensional anomaly that seems to be moving toward our time-space continuum.” None of that makes sense! I'm not demanding realistic science or anything, but even if you're using fantasy science (as many superhero stories do) it should at least make some kind of sense. The movie doesn't even explain how they conclude that this pan-dimensional anomaly is a harbinger of a specific super villain. Another thing about the script that really bothered me was  General Larraby insists on getting awkward, socially outcast kids. Why? Why wouldn't you want already trained professional adults to grant super powers to? And even if they needed to be children, why get social outcasts and awkward ones? Some scenes were added to appease younger viewers, like playing baseball and having dances in a secret government lab. None of the military officers or scientists seem to think this is a bad idea even though they know what is at stake. I'm not even sure anyone bothered reading the script before production began; the writing is awful! It's the kind of script only a flamethrower could improve.
Characters can be pretty easy to get wrong, but it's almost as if creating good characters for Zoom was avoided at all costs. The kids were quarrelsome, there was an undeserved romantic interest between Summer and Dylan and another between Shepard and Dr. Holloway. Shepard was even more juvenile than the children were. General Larraby refused to tell them, without a good reason, why they were being trained. In fact, we're given reason to suspect Larraby of being a villain himself, but he isn't. The characters had kind of an X-Men style set up, except that the lead superheros were all brats and Professor X was an immature loser. Then, when they do manage to get their act together, they decide that they aren't just friends, they are family! All of these children already have a family; they aren't orphans. They didn't have something missing in their lives that needed to be filled, they didn't come from a bad family environment and were seeking a paternal figure elsewhere; they simply put up with one another long enough to be able to work together for about 10 minutes.
I think the producers (and us viewers) were hoping that since Tim Allan skillfully made fun of one genre he should be able to do it again. Galaxy Quest (1999) was good, but Zoom was not. For the love of sanity, DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE! Destroy any copies you find! Hide your kids! Hide your wife! Protect your children from this insulting drivel! Watch your pet cat sleep instead; it's a much better use of your time.

What are some of the worst superhero movie you've ever seen? Zoom is easily one of the worst, but have you seen one that was even more horrible? Comment below, let me know!

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