High School Musical 3 - Senior Year
This is an interesting new
marketing technique - a theatrical sequel to two made-for-cable-TV movies.
Of course, the High
School Musical franchise is not merely a normal TV flick, it has become
something of a teen phenomenon (well, probably more pre-teen, but...).
However, it still begs the question: will people pay good money and go to
the theaters to get more of what they were already getting for free at home?
All of the offshoots of the
HSM films (and the added strength of the Disney marketing division)
tend to suggest that the kids (and their parents) will line up at the
multiplexes - the strong video and music sales, the concerts, the stage
musical, the reality show.
This brings up yet another
question, though. Is High School Musical 3 being made because
it is a worthy continuation of the story, or just as another way to squeeze
some more money out of the concept? In fact is it even a new story or
just a bigger and better version of what has already been done?
I can't answer that
question, because truthfully I have never seen either of the first two
High School Musical flicks. (As a single man with no kids, the
Disney Channel does not get favorite status on my cable box).
High School Musical film was apparently
itself at first supposed to be a third chapter of a musical franchise.
Several years ago, there were a bunch of rumors that a Grease 3 was
being made with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John's characters from the
the original film now the parents of cute teens who sang and danced through
a high school romance in the 1970s. Somewhere along the line, Travolta
and Newton-John bowed out and the script was placed into limbo and
apparently tweaked, the parents written out and the story brought to the
modern day, and voila - the world was introduced to High
School Musical. I do know, somewhat
ironically, that the original
It makes sense, because
High School Musical 3 is somewhat reminiscent of the original Grease
- it's not really a good film and yet it was often rather enjoyable.
The story was cheesy, the dialogue ridiculous, the actors are probably a
little too old and too uniformly pretty to be playing high school students.
Granted, the pleasures of High School Musical 3 are more sporadic
than its predecessor, but there are definitely enough entertaining moments
to make the movie worth seeing. I can't necessarily say that it is
something you have to see in a theater. It will inevitably be on the
Disney Channel in about a year, so unless you are a tween girl (or the
parent of one) it's not like you can't wait to see it for free.
High School Musical 3 -
Senior Year is just what it says it is, the final moments of the
characters' high school experience. (Several younger students are
along for the ride, undoubtedly with an eye towards future sequels).
The kids go to East High
School, a huge Arizona school with extraordinary rhythm. The
basketball games, the assemblies, the parties, even the lunchroom are all
Although in theory there
are about eight or nine main characters here, it all really revolves around
our unnaturally adorable lead characters, Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella
(Vanessa Hudgens) - childhood sweethearts who have to come to terms with
going to college hundreds of miles away from each other. Both actors
are worthy of their teen heartthrob status - though he's a slightly better
dancer and she's a better singer, but they complement each other well.
Other main characters
include the stuck-up rich girl (Ashley Tisdale), her exuberant and arty
brother (Lucas Grabeel) who, because the movie is rated G does have a chaste
romance with the nerdette songwriter (Olesya Rulin) - despite the fact he
seems kind of gay, the star jock (Corbin Bleu) and his brilliant-but-sassy
girlfriend (Monique Coleman). If it sounds a little clichéd, that is
because it is - but no one ever watched a High School Musical film
All of them are invited by
the theater teacher to make their own final school play - a play about all
their lives as graduating seniors - leaving friends and loves, moving away,
going to college. (Oddly, the actress who
plays the drama teacher is a huge over-actor - this is a movie, lady, you
don't have to play to the cheap seats.) To give it a reality show
feel, the most talented person in the musical will win a scholarship to
prestigious Juilliard University in New York.
The music here is not at
all theatrical, though it is mostly catchy enough in a boy-band pop sort of
The choreography is at
different times both exuberantly breathtaking and way overdone (sorry, the
eating in time to the beat in the cafeteria is serious overkill).
There are some new-millennium dance tributes to Grease. A
song-and-dance routine at a salvage yard is just "Greased Lightning" on
speed and the final graduation dance routine is disturbingly similar to
(though, again, with more technical polish and modern effects) the "We Go
It's not great.
It's not even very good. But you will be humming these songs when you
walk out of the theater. If you ever think of them afterwards will
depend on how old you are.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: October 31, 2008.