High School Musical Review

Theme Song by Brian Setzer and owned by Walt Disney Records

The time has come for me to review a movie that was a phenomenon. The most popular DCOM ever was released in early 2006 and the love story of Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez captured the hearts of millions around the world. I did not see it initially because I was preparing for the release of Kingdom Hearts 2 and I had waning interest in the Disney Channel. I didn’t watch the film until many months later. What do I think of the film? Well I don’t think it’s good, but it is not bad, terrible or even mediocre. The problem with the film is that it lets bull crap shroud and push away what’s really good.

STORY

Do I really need to explain the plot? I’m sure even those who haven’t seen it know what it’s about. Still I’ll tell you anyway. Troy Bolton the basketball star of his school is on winter break at a winter resort and he is picked to sing karaoke with a beautiful girl named Gabriella. They start singing and are terrific singers and they’re the life of the party. They start talking afterwards and a strong bond forms between them and they hope to see each other again. When the new semester starts Gabriella is the new girl at East High and she reunites with Troy. Since they want to explore they’re singing talents they audition for the school musical and they get a callback much to the dismay of the school drama queen/ diva Sharpay Evans and our leads’ friends. The friends are a bunch of assholes and try to drag the two apart for “not sticking to the status quo” and all that garbage only to have our leads say screw it and go to the callbacks anyway, the friends realize the error of their ways and together they foil the plot of the diva and Troy and Gabriella bring the house down!

Once again we have a bull crap and contrived conflict because the conflict is centered around breaking out of your high school niche and not caring what others think of you for doing what you love and blah, blah, blah! I mean seriously!!!!!!  I know high school niches still exist, but why is it such a big deal? When I was in High school we had people that were on the theatre improv team as well as in athletics! Hell, I was in Speech and Debate, Japanese Club, technical theatre as well as played a main supporting character in one of the plays and no one cared whether I was “sticking to the status quo” or not and don’t worry we’ll get to that horrible song in a moment! Seriously we have another irrelevant and contrived issue! I’m getting sick and tired of these! While the conflict is incredibly dumb the love story element of the film is really good, but I’ll get more into that when I talk about the characters.

CHARACTERS

The characters in this movie are very mixed for me. Some are good while others are absolutely terrible. They’re not terribly acted it’s that they’re terribly written and they’re terrible people! Which ones do I think are good? Time for you to find out!

 

Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez: played by Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens

The leads of the film are the best characters and the best aspects of the film. They have good chemistry as well as good singing and dancing talent(well in Zac Efron’s case the singing part didn’t happen till the second one). They’re good looking people and I can see why they were cast. Both of them (Zac Efron in particular as a kind of old school Hollywood leading man) have great charm that are excellent changes of pace from the bull crap! The scenes between them when they’re alone and being open with each other are very sweet and make us care about these two. Their love story is just gold! It’s romantic and touching it’s the obstacles they have to overcome that are bull crap, but the love story of these two’s chance encounter and how music brought them together is what makes the movie and the series work. I personally believe that this movie should have taken place completely at the winter resort where they met because it’s a magical environment as well as we can truly focus on our leads bonding and developing their relationship through music, but beggars can’t be choosers.

 

Sharpay and Ryan Evans: played by Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel

These are technically the villains of the movie. I don’t like Sharpay at all! It’s mainly for the reasons of being an annoying and selfish diva and there’s nothing to make us connect to her even as a bad person. I could go on and on about this, but Moviefan can tell you his own opinions that are in perfect agreement with mine so if you must know ask him! As for Ryan he’s okay, but he’s not given too much to do in this film. He’s the soft spoken and laid back guy and isn’t like his sister except for his love of the arts. He’ll get a kick ass song in the next movie.

 

The “Friends”: played by various

I hate the friends of our leads I really do! These friends are incredibly selfish, overbearing, inconsiderate jerks! Forget Sharpay these people are the real villains of the movie! Chad makes this really dumb argument regarding why Troy shouldn’t sing and he uses Michael Crawford as an example. Michael Crawford is a multimillionaire who gets royalty checks every time Phantom of the Opera is performed and gets fan letters from women from all over the world (maybe even some men) so that argument doesn’t really make sense at all! That’s not all! They conspire to drag the two apart by breaking Gabriella’s heart and making her cry! YOU ARE SCUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is just wrong and it’s shameful!

 

Ms. Darbus: played by Alyson Reed

I HATE MS. DARBUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why? Because the way she is written and portrayed is a complete stereotype of drama teachers!!!!!! No drama teacher behaves like an haughty, melodramatic drama queen! My theatre teachers were people that loved to teach and more importantly theatre and entertainment and the skills that come from it. There is only one time I ever liked Ms. Darbus and that was her reaction shots during the auditions which were pretty funny as unethical as they were. Which brings me to another point if Sharpay and Ryan are supposedly the only talented people in the school then how in the world can you actually have a musical where only the leads sing??????!!!!!!!!! THAT MAKES NO SENSE!!!!!!!! While on the subject of Sharpay and Ms. Darbus Darbus is always ready to believe Sharpay when any idiot can see that Sharpay is acting like a spoiled brat and her claims against Troy and Gabriella have no evidence other than her word and her obvious jealousy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That aspect is insulting to the audience’s intelligence no matter how old they are.

MUSIC

The songs range from quite good, while others are quite bad. These great stratifications in quality are mainly due to the very numerous song writers working on the project that it makes me wonder whether these are original songs or already established ones. These are the songs of High School Musical!

 

The Start of Something New

I don’t know whether the opening song being the best song is a good thing because it sets the tone so well or if it’s a bad thing because you know you’re going to be somewhat disappointed by the rest of the songs. Anyway this song is really good. It captures the magical moment of Troy and Gabriella meet each other at the resort and the magic of music bringing them together and forming a strong friendly and romantic bond between them. It’s a great song! Also they’re the life of the party at the winter resort and everyone praised them and didn’t care who they were and praised them on their talent! The people at the resort were more friends to them then their actual “friends”!

 

Get’cha Head in the Game

Even though the phrase “Get’cha Head in the Game” would become so overused in the series that it would make you want to barf every time you hear it the song itself is quite good. I love how the beat starts with the dribbling of the basketballs. I am a sucker when musicals do that. It’s reminiscent of Music Man’s opening song where the chugging of the train engine started the beat. The song is catchy enough and it shows the impact and new energy that music has given Troy.

 

What I’ve Been Looking For

There are two versions of this song. The one I’m talking about now is Ryan and Sharpay’s version. This is one of the songs that’s in the musical and is the chosen song for the auditions. This song is okay. It’s fun and energetic with good vocals. The only thing that brings it down is if this is supposed to be an audition that extremely insincere hamminess from Sharpay and Ryan in reality would have cost them the audition.

 

What I’ve Been Looking For Reprise

This is a reprise of the same song except it’s much slower and troy and Gabriella sing it. Is it just me or is this song underwhelming compared to the other one. If the song is about the fun joy of finding a friend then the upbeat version serves the song better.

 

Stick to the Status Quo

Oh boy here we go! I hate this song! Why? Because this song is the very song that glamorizes the bull crap conflict that I hate so much in this movie! I know it’s the first really big number and all, but the content of the song is just crap! It’s the same contrivances I’ve been talking about how no one would care if these people wanted to dance or play cello or bake!

 

When There Was Me and You

This is Gabriella’s big solo number and it takes place after she gets heartbroken because of her scumbag “friends”. This song while not terrible is not good either because there’s really no point in it not even for entertainment value’s sake. This song is supposed to show Gabriella’s heartbreak, but I got that already from Vanessa Hudgens’s good performance when she cried. All I got out of this song is “Gabriella’s sad” which I already know! So I believe it’s kind of meaningless.

 

Bop to the Top

This song also annoys me so much that I won’t even link it. It’s not that well written and even though it talks about the struggles of show business when Sharpay sings it, it just adds to her diva personality. No offense to Ryan’s character and Lucas Grabeel’s talent, but he’ll get a better song in the next movie! So no I don’t like this song because it’s not that good and it’s infected by a character I can’t stand.

 

Breaking Free

Another song I can’t stand! You’re probably wondering what’s wrong with this one? Well it’s simply for the same reasons I don’t like “Stick to the Status Quo”. It’s about how troy and Gabriella “are breaking free” of their high school niches and following their hearts when they didn’t need to because it’s not a big deal! This song is a reminder of all the bad things in this movie!

 

We’re All in This Together

One of the problems with the film in terms of structure is that the resolution seems incredibly rushed with all the resolved events mentioned in passing as if it seems they wanted to crank out the last number as fast as possible. The last song again I don’t like very much because as far as themes go it doesn’t work because the “friends” were terrible people and even though they technically realized the error of their ways that still doesn’t excuse them and that part was very rushed as well. And of course the title would become a phrase that would be overused to the point of feeling nauseated every time you hear it. Still one thing that is good is the big scale of the number. It’s quite big and extensive so that is a plus.

 

ARTISTIC PRESENTATION

 

The overall look of the film is quite good, but what sets this movie apart from other DCOMs is its size and scope mainly due to the larger budget for the musical aspects. The scale of some of the larger dance numbers is quite good for a TV movie. Speaking of dancing the choreography in this movie is really good and all the actors pull off the dances very well.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

While technically not a good movie it does have a lot of good things about it like the choreography, scope and the leads and some of the songs and especially the love story elements. Even the bad stuff about the movie I enjoyed ripping to shreds by yelling at the TV and enjoying poking fun at the idiocy which is much more than I can say for other bad DCOMs. So while not good there’s plenty of good things to enjoy!

 

Verdict: 3.7 East High basketball jerseys out of 5

The next film will obviously be the sequel that is to this day the most watched DCOM ever High School Musical 2!

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