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Get ready for another family of superheroes
Tim Allen in "The Return of Zoom".
OPENING WEEKEND: $16,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $64,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

April 12th, 2006: Jack (Tim Allen) is a former superhero, whose once extraordinary abilities earned him the title of Captain Zoom. Due to his present powerlessness, he works for the Zoom Academy, which is a school for children who possess unique gifts in the form of special powers. He has been assigned the task of being teacher and mentor for the latest group of undisciplined kids. Among them is his daughter Summer (Kate Mara), who has learned about her fatherís secret identity only recently. Still struggling with her own adolescent problems, Summer finds a new home in the Zoom Academy as she learns to develop her abilities. While teaching the group how to harness their talents and transform their handicaps into weapons, Jack too regains a sense of control over his powers. Together, they will take on their nemeses, the kids from the Graves School of Super Villainy, and attempt to save the earth from their evil plot.

What to Expect: Just as Zoom was set to begin shooting, Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel Enterprises filed a lawsuit against Sony Pictures and Revolution Studios back in June of 2005 in order to delay Zoomís release and to force the filmmakers to remove any content from the film that they found similar to their X-Men series. Fox and Marvel claimed that only a few days after it was announced that X-Men: The Last Stand would be released on May 26, 2006, Sony and Revolution decided to move up the opening date for Zoom from August 11 to May 12, hoping to cash in with their similarly themed project just prior to the release of the X-Men sequel. Consequently, Zoomís release date has been pushed right back to August where it first started and the filmmakers have been forced to revise their screenplay in order to omit similar themes and direct references to the X-Men. Fox and Marvel still continue to debate some of Zoomís plot points.

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While they may have been partially right about the release date issue (although I canít imagine that would have affected either one of the two films positively or negatively), Iím not sure they are correct about the story similarities. Both films feature academies for gifted children, but Zoom is actually based on an original source. Itís an adaptation of Jason Lethcoeís comic book for kids, titled Amazing Adventures from Zoomís Academy, which has been a running series for a while.

Peter Hewitt, the director of such unspectacular family films as Tom and Huck and Garfield (saved only by Bill Murray), is in charge of the directing duties and Iíd have to say that his involvement does not look very promising. Neither does the cast for that matter. Iím sure the kid actors will do just fine, but the adult ones leave a lot to be desired. Fortunately, at least Tim Allen appears to be a fine choice for the material. He sure doesnít look like a superhero, but that thought didnít enter my head until I just wrote it down now. Perhaps as the star of Galaxy Quest and the voice of Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story films, he somehow seems to fit right in with the sci-fi family comedy genre. It would be nice if Chevy Chase, who plays a scientist at the academy, would provide some cheeky humor, but it has been a while since he has done anything memorable. And I canít really imagine Courtney Cox Arquette acting in anything outside of Friends, so any movie role for her seems like a surprise to me.

I think Zoom will share far more story elements with The Incredibles than with the X-Men series. Maybe it will also borrow a few ideas from the Spy Kids movies or from last yearís Sky High, which, incidentally, already did borrow a lot of story aspects from Spy Kids. One might also make the claim that the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter series bares some resemblance to the Zoom Academy. The point is, Zoom may be based on original material, but it would probably have a difficult time getting made if it were not for the long list of similar films which have already proven to be highly profitable. Having said that, Zoom is likely to become the worst of the bunch. The storyline feels way too derivative and the release date controversy way too suspect. The special effects will be no match for the technical wizardry of The Incredibles and the character development will seem trivial in comparison to the Harry Potter movies. Iím sure it will be good harmless fun, especially for kids, but I doubt it will contain anything new worth looking forward to.

In Conclusion: There really isnít much to say about Zoom. If youíve seen The Incredibles, Spy Kids, Sky High, or Harry Potter, you can expect more of the same, with a few surprises if youíre lucky. The director, Peter Hewitt, has not show great skill in the past and the cast of actors could almost be considered a group of B-list celebrities. As a family film, it should stay afloat for a while at the box office. Clearly, these types of stories tend to draw a lot of attention, but Zoom will not be much more than a late summer disappointment.

Similar Titles: Sky High, Spy Kids 3, Galaxy Quest
August 11th, 2006 (wide)
February 13th, 2007 (DVD)

Columbia Pictures

Peter Hewitt

Tim Allen, Spencer Breslin, Chevy Chase, Courteney Cox, Kate Mara, Michael Cassidy, Rip Torn

Total: 47 vote(s).

Action & Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Click here to view site

Rated PG

83 min






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