A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Zoom: Academy for Superheroes is a 2006 movie in which Tim Allen plays a washed-up former superhero who is brought back by the government to train a ragtag group of kids and teens with superpowers. There's a ton of disrespectful behavior from both the adults and kids in this movie. Before warming up to the kids, Jack is downright mean, calling them names and treating them badly. There's also lots of crude behavior involving farting, burping, and a huge snot-bubble that bursts and covers everyone with green goo. In one scene, the kids trap a scientist in an environmental simulator and subject him to falling rocks, a cyclone, and a rainstorm, then laugh at him. Outtakes during the end credits show the cast singing "We like to poop in our pants." Also, the parents in this movie are conspicuously missing, and the superheroes form their own "family." There's some mild profanity and comic-book style violence (kicking, punching, throwing, shattering glass). There is also some blatant consumerism, M&M's featured prominently, a scene centered on the characters' spaceship going through Wendy's drive-through, and a robot named "Mr. Pibb."
What's the story?
Thirty years ago, Jack Shepard (Tim Allen) was known as Captain Zoom for his incredible speed. At a secret facility known as Area 52, Jack led a group of superheroes known as Team Zenith, created by General Larraby (Rip Torn) and scientist Dr. Grant (Chevy Chase). Jack's older brother, Concussion (Kevin Zegers), became a villain, murdered most of the team before being sucked into a vortex. Now, Concussion is on his way back to the world through a growing spatial anomaly. Larraby recruits has-been Jack to train a new team of superhero kids: 16-year-old Summer (Kate Mara) is a telepath who can move objects with her mind; 17-year-old Dylan (Michael Cassidy) can make himself vanish; chubby 12-year-old Tucker (Spencer Breslin), can make parts of his body expand to superhuman size; and bratty 6-year-old Cindy (Ryan Newman) has super strength. The kids learn how to control their powers but they're unaware they'll face Concussion when he returns.
Is it any good?
The young superheroes are somewhat appealing, but this movie falls flat on just about every other account. The montage scenes get old fast, and the plot is predictable and covers the usual themes of teen angst, fitting in, and finding your own gifts. Chevy Chase still isn't funny, Rip Torn is like a maniacal cartoon character, and Tim Allen needs to find a different niche other than family movies.
Based on Jason Lethcoe's comic-book for young adults and featuring dated tunes by Smash Mouth, this movie is harmless fun for kids, but not a whole lot of new material here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the definition of "family." Does it always refer to people who are biologically related, or can it mean people who are bonded in another way (like the superheroes)?
This movie is based on a children's book. What would be the challenges in adapting a children's book into movie form?
One of the central themes of the movie is "It's ok to be different." What are some other superhero movies with a similar theme?
- In theaters: August 11, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: February 13, 2007
- Cast: Chevy Chase, Spencer Breslin, Tim Allen
- Director: Peter Hewitt
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: brief rude humor, language, and mild action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.