What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this made-for-TV alien-invasion adventure about two brothers who stumble upon a UFO is equal parts sci-fi action and high school drama, with older brother Nick trying to win a date with the girl of his dreams while defending younger brother Tyler from a pack of bullies (and, eventually, working with him to save the world). This Disney production is aimed straight at tweens, so the action violence is on the tame side, and there’s no swearing or drinking to concern parents -- though Nick’s academic habits leave much to be desired, and the siblings frequently discuss the art of deceiving their mother. While romance is limited to one kiss, there's a good bit of talk about how attractive Nick's crush is (the phrase "smoking hot babe" is used).
What's the story?
In SKYRUNNERS, high school senior Nick (Kelly Blatz) and his younger brother, Tyler (Joey Pollari), accidentally stumble upon a mysterious spaceship -- before long they’re zipping around the world, flying through space and then making a quick stop at the malt shop hoping to impress girls. Meanwhile, they’re being pursued by a government agent from the shadowy NSSC who might have a secret agenda. As they learn more about the ship, the siblings uncover a dangerous alien plot. Can they defeat the invaders and save the world before graduation?
Is it any good?
Skyrunners suffers a bit from genre confusion. Is it a sci-fi flick about alien invaders or a high school drama? It plays like both, but it isn’t really long enough to develop either plot line. As a result, viewers get a few fun scenes with the spaceship, a standard story about freshman Tyler getting bullied, a subplot about whether Nick will be eligible to graduate, and then suddenly a mad rush to introduce the extraterrestrial villains in the third act.
Still, while some of the story feels a bit forced, tweens will probably still enjoy much of the movie. And Blatz and Pollari have a nice chemistry as brothers -- it’s nice to see Nick defend Tyler from a gang of toughs. That said, the siblings also spend plenty of time plotting to deceive their mother (for Nick it’s almost an art form), and Nick seems to be interested only in pursuing girls. He’s even willing to blow off an important school assignment and skip out on Tyler’s performance in a play to pursue his crush. Fortunately he’s willing to step up to the plate when Tyler's really in danger, since the fate of the world is at stake.
Families can talk about...
What do you think about the relationship between the brothers? Nick can be self-centered at times, but he also sticks up for Tyler several times and even risks his life to save him. Would you do the same for your sibling?
How does this movie compare to others that place their alien storylines front and center? Does that make the movie more of a sci-fi adventure or a teen drama?