Zoom (2006)

Untitled-1Peter Hewitt takes everything Zoom could have been and makes it everything it’s not. It’s not funny. It doesn’t have characters who are worth a damn. It doesn’t have good music (almost every song is written and sung by Smash Mouth — give me a break). It’s not clever or original. It doesn’t have good visual effects. It has nothing really. No matter which way you spin it, it’s not a good movie.

It’s unfortunate, though, because it has what it takes to be good. It has a good premise: A band of superheroes, called Team Zenith, falls victim to the government’s tampering with superhuman abilities. The government wants them to be harder, better, faster, stronger, and uses some enormous device, called the Gamma 13, to boost their powers. But there are side effects. Concussion, the brother of the group’s leader, Zoom (Tim Allen), becomes a bad guy and kills its members — except Zoom. And then everyone goes into hiding, including the movie’s scriptwriters.

Many years later, the superhero academy — the same one that trained Team Zenith — finds out that Concussion is returning to Earth, for whatever reason. I don’t know. But it’s a major problem, because he’s the bad guy. Everyone is on high alert, and the academy’s boss, Larraby (Rip Torn), thinks it’s best to bring Zoom back from his hermit hole so that he can train a bunch of new superheroes to take on Concussion and rid the world of this imposing threat. The recruiting of these new superheroes is interestingly done. Hewitt shows us a montage of scenes of four very different kids of varying ages. There’s a fat one, a young girl, and two teenage kids who will be breaking Hollywood law if they don’t fall in love. They are shown handling ridicule and insult by using their super powers to gain the upper hand — Summer (Kate Mara), the teenage girl, makes bolognese and other sauces explode onto a trio of bratty cheerleaders. What a win!

So, we know who the four chosen ones are, based on this montage. But then Hewitt does something amusing: He has an audition scene in the academy that includes our four heroes and a bunch of other kids. What is this scene for? We already know who will get chosen and who will be rejected! It’s as useful as another scene in the movie, the one where three of the four kids torment a helpless Chevy Chase in an environment chamber. They make it rain, and snow, and they even spray smelly skunk juice on his poor face. Oh Chevy, what did you do to deserve this? Signing the contract, I suppose.

But then everything about Zoom seems to have been sprayed with skunk juice. It is clunky in its storytelling, and no attention is paid to any development, character, or problem. The issue of Concussion coming back to Earth is supposed to be a big deal, yet all we see of him is his face plastered on a big screen that has a countdown on it. Everyone is waiting for his arrival without any urgency or intelligence. Looking at it now, the plan of recruiting a bunch of kids to stop a maniacal villain is about as smart as putting your hand into a blender. It also puts children in very perilous situations, and had the adults in the movie exercised any sort of restraint, they would have come to the unanimous conclusion that children don’t belong in fights.

I don’t understand what Tim Allen and Courtney Cox are doing in this movie. They could — and should — have lent their talent to productions that need them more. They just seem wasted here. They have no life within them. Allen looks tired, and he seems to be doing it just for the money which, coincidentally, is the only reason his character accepts the job to train the hero kids. But I can sympathise with him. I don’t think anyone should spend time training a bunch of kids who don’t amount to anything at all (just watch how well they’re utilised in the movie’s climax and you’ll know what I’m talking about). As much as it pains me to say this, I think Zoom would have been better if Mr. Snot, the blinking kid, and the farting guy were chosen instead.

Best Moment | Nada.

Worst Moment | It’s a buffet of worst moments. Spencer Breslin’s CGI-inflated head is completely ridiculous, and it doesn’t even look remotely like him.

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