Monday, October 27, 2008

High School Musical 3: Senior Year, or How it's all in good fun

High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Dir. Kenny Ortega
Starring: Zac Efron, Vannessa Hudgens, Ashledy Tisdale, Lucas Gabreel, Corbin Bleu et al.

After two record-breaking made-for-TV movies and two chart-topping albums, Disney is graduating (get it?) their High School Musical franchise onto the Big Screen. We have the entire crew back (heartthrob Troy, basketball player Chad, brainy Gabriella, bitchy/princess Sharpay and flaming Ryan) who are facing the daunting task of... putting on a show about their Senior Year, and oh yeah, deciding what they want to do with their future. It's pretty much everything you need/want from this franchise with catchy tunes like I Want it All (HSM3's Fabulous) and ballads like Can I Have This Dance (HSM3's Breaking Free) as well as a romantic story, a growing up moral to the story and wonderful choreography all throughout. B+

It is a love it or hate it franchise, so instead of trying to win over newbies, here are 9 random thoughts for the seasoned fans:

9 Random Things About HSM3:

1. Disney realized that Zac is what is all about and made the entire movie around him. I'm not complaining cause he's pretty to look and a better actor with every installment, but seriously... not enough of La Tisdale! As HSM2 proved, she can hold the entire movie together. In HSM3 she has great scene-stealing moments (her entrance with her FABULUS car, her "single spotlight" moment and of course her crashing down on Brit-clone's Sharpay's number at the end) and what she doesn't get in script she makes up for in facial expressions and overall attitude. Oh to be Sharpay: never to be outdone, outwitted or outdressed!
2. What the f@*k was up with the HSM-wannabes? I have already made my thoughts about Jimmy The Rocker Zara clear, and while I love anyone and everyone with an accent, these characters simply screamed: FRANCHISE and at times distracted from the core group of talented cast members. Disney: if you really want to spin off HSM do it in your own time, not on the big screen when you give us an entire towel scene with 'The Rocker' but only a back shot of shirtless Troy, it's unfair!
3. Bigger, indeed. But better? I loved the crazy sequences (still wondering where the dancers for The Boys are Back came from) - especially the Gabriella/Troy cameos in I Want It All, but at times I wondered whether there was too much glitz and glamour and not enough substance. And then I remembered I was watching High School effing Musical and remembered I don't care.
4. Props to Disney for their progressive agenda: The girl picks academics over a boy! The boy picks theater AND basketball!  Behind-the-scenes artists (the composer and the choreographer!) privileged over the on-stage performers.
5. And yet, they left me hanging with Ryan: He's gay. Don't mask it... I mean wtf was that with Kelsie? The only way Disney can fix this is by doing HSM: Juillard, The Series, which in my mind tells the story of Ryan and his roommate Kelsie. Think: Will and Grace + HSM.
6. I know Dame James is already starting the La Tisdale Best Supporting Actress Oscar campaign, but can I claim the Caroline Marx Best Costume Design campaign? Ryan and Sharpay's outfits were like Patricia Field Jr (knee boots for a boy? a hula-hoop-like purse?) and it needs to be rewarded.
7. Who knew an eponymous title song could be so ... blah. Seriously.
8. Four words: Dance-Along DVD Edition. Loved the choreography. And not just the big numbers (Ryan in hot pink pants + Chorus girls!) but also the smaller ones - the rooftop/raining/waltzing scene was a highlight in its simplicity and grace.
9. What type of budget for its theater department do the Wildcats have? I mean, I thought Disney had gone overboard with their high school musical productions in Confessions of a Drama Queen but not to be outdone, they give us Senior Year Musical which looked like a Mel Brooks-financed Broadway show.

[Photos via Tapeworthy]


Vance said...

Tisdale for Best Supporting Actress!!!

Seriously, I couldn't agree more with your 9 points.

OMG HSM: Juillard would be AWESOME!

J.D. said...

Ryan and Kelsi are so obviously platonic. I mean, they weren't really trying if they were really suggesting they were into each other. If anything, it seemed like a very cool friendship bordering on a marriage of convenience -- they're a dancing/writing musical super-team! It doesn't hurt that they're the two nicest, most down to earth characters in the movies, too.

Also, I am SO for a Costume Design campaign alongside the Tisdale one.

Michael Parsons said...

Now I have to see this...and just to let you know...You’ve been tagged

Dame James Henry said...

You don't know how much it means to me to see so many people behind an Oscar nomination for La Tisdale! This woman deserves anything and everything for turning what I'm sure was supposed to be a one-dimensional villain into the main reason to watch the films.

I'm all for a Costume Design nod as well. She should win just for Ryan's boots. A-MA-ZING.

And when is HSM: Julliard premiering? I'm so there. Let's hold a coming out party for Ryan when this show happens!

Vance said...

It's also interesting that the stage version of High School Musical that Disney is touring around America actually is far more open about the Ryan character and while they still don't outright say he's gay, there are more obvious signs (like boys pictures in his locker and a possible boyfriend pairing in the final number though it is off on the side of the stage).

Why can't they be more overt in the movie?