The David Bowie track We Can Be Heroes still rates as one of his greatest and inspirational songs …its the song that Donald Trump presumably has running through his head having clearly not heard indie singer Beck’s more appropriate track ‘Loser’ with its lyric, ‘I’m a loser, baby, so why don’t you kill me’. But the Bowie track is also the title of writer director Robert Rodriguez new film about super heroes and its opening scene features Miracle Guy, a vain glorious man in sky blue spandex hovering high in the sky and investigating a strange alien ship hovering above Earth. It all goes horribly wrong when a multitude of aliens attack him and his cohort Tech-No (Christian Slater).
It’s the same alien invaders who kidnap all of Earth’s superheroes that includes Shark Boy & Lava girl and tweenie school girl Missy (Yaya Gosselin) soon finds that her retired superhero dad is called back into service only to end up a prisoner of the aliens too. Fortunately for Missy she has been taken into government protection by Ms Granada (Priyanka Chopra in full on pantomime method acting) along with all the kids of the other superheroes. But as the kids watch their parents battle in vain they soon realise that all of them having inherited their parents superpowers have to team up and save the day. Yes its one of those, ‘Hey, let’s put on a show right here, right now! type of film.
The mini heroes here have a variety of powers that are a bit out of the norm with an elasticated boy, a girl who can draw the future, a tiny girl with massive strength and a boy who can rewind the action are just a few of them. With acid colour sets all lit by Rodriguez himself who, after the big budget Alita Battle Angel, has gone back to multi tasking and here takes on the DoP role. His style of lighting has all been somewhat flat similar to that of a TV studio but this is in keeping with the bright and breezy style of the film.
Rodriguez has form with these very much child orientated superhero films with a Spy Kids trilogy under his belt as well as a Shark Boy & Lava girl stand alone film and like so many superhero films this is a CGI fest with some nice touches – drawing of monsters on an ipad come to life. In the cast the kids are having a good time with all the effects and stunts but the adults who play their superhero parents sat in a room bored and it’s an unedifying sight seeing Christian Slater who barely has any lines in the film staring at the other actors and wondering why he’s watching this. It will be the same for parents at home who will find themselves sitting through this lacking anything subversive to enjoy. Formulaic and unwilling to resist being a message movie about working together, We Can Be Heroes is very much X-Men for tweenies.
Here’s the We Can Be Heroes trailer…….