High School Musical 2 Review

Theme Song by Brian Setzer and owned by Walt Disney Records

 

With the huge success of the first High School Musical it obviously received a sequel and a franchise cash cow that Disney wanted to milk for as long as possible. High School Musical 2 was the most watched DCOM ever and was praised by the many established fans. I did watch it on its premiere and I enjoyed it. Well I enjoyed it for the most part. It was bigger in every way with genuine development of the characters Ryan and Troy in particular as well as improved songs, choreography and story elements. This is High School Musical 2!

STORY

One of the problems with High School Musical 2 is the fact that it doesn’t really have the clearest plot and the focus of the film seems to be really odd. The plot is that it’s the end of the school year and the cast from the first movie want to get summer jobs and have fun. Troy, Babriella and company get jobs at Sharpay and Ryan’s parents’ country club and because the plot demands it there’s a talent show that Sharpay selfishly wants to win. She tries to break apart Troy and Gabriella by actually doing something that makes sense by spoiling Troy and getting him too wrapped up in scholarship opportunities and his future as well as his special treatment while the others are given lower than normal work treatment He becomes distant and mistreats his friends. This starts to strain his relationship with Gabriella eventually causing her to leave the employ of the club and Troy sees what he’s done as well as what Sharpay has done and finds what’s really important and of course sets things right everybody’s happy, he tells Sharpay to grow up and Gabriella comes back for the talent show and they sing and have a happy summer.

The thing that I said about odd choices when it comes to focus is because you have Troy slipping away and you have Sharpay and her petty and stupid scheming for something so as I said petty and then you have the (I can’t believe I’m saying this) Wildcats and their excitement for the show and all that as well as Ryan becoming friends with them. So with these various stories to follow it does seem like we’re jumping around a little bit, but it doesn’t truly hurt the film though. While the Sharpay stuff is the same old dumb stuff from the first one what drives Troy away from those he cares about and turns him into a jerk (he’s not that big a jerk, but he does push his friends around a little and his usual kindness isn’t there) is where the real conflict and drama comes from. Troy is thinking about his future with basketball, his future with Gabriella as well as trying to create a sense of stability that he can be worthy of Gabriella’s love and a life with her. FINALLY WE HAVE A RELEVANT ISSUE AND CONFLICT THAT CREATES LEGITIMATE DRAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Words can not describe how sick and tired I was of those bull crap conflicts and now it’s over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This one genuinely goes further with a real issue that we all are facing or have faced to one degree or another (not as melodramatic as them of course, but you know what I mean) Are there stupid things like Fulton listening to Sharpay? Of course. Seriously  Sharpay doesn’t pay him her parents do and her parents are really cool and reasonable people so why does Fulton listen to her????!!!!!!!!

 

CHARACTERS

There isn’t much to talk about for this movie. The Friends are much better seeing as the conflict is actually good they can actually be friends and I have no complaints with them for this film. There are three characters I will talk about in depth.

Ryan Evans: played by Lucas Grabeel

Ryan while not having much to do in the previous film finally gets to show everyone what he’s made of in this film. He doesn’t want to be second to his sister anymore and finds friends where he can do the things he’s always wanted to do and he does! He also agrees to be a part of and direct the show that the Wildcats are going to perform. One of the best developed characters of the film.

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

Our leads are back and the film takes their relationship further by actually making them boyfriend and girlfriend. The conflict this time isn’t a contrivance it’s a real issue with Troy being too wrapped up in the future to where his mind isn’t where it needs to be and in the end loses the person he wanted a future with. With that there is actually real drama now and it’s quite good minus Sharpay stuff of course. The best parts of the film regarding our leads are when Troy realizes what’s happened to him and does what ever he can to do the right thing.

 

MUSIC

While the songs are still written by a billion people they are much better than the ones in the first one. They’re catchier and they have more meaning and since there’s hardly any stupid and unnecessary themes the songs talk about the good things in the movie.

 

What Time is It

We get a big opening number in this movie! This clearly shows how much bigger this movie is going to be with the scope bigger than anything we’ve seen previously as well as the great choreography to come out in force right from the get go! It has the excitement and the sense of relief that summer break has to offer.

 

Fabulous

This is a Sharpay song singing about who else? So yeah not even a link. So you should already know what I think about it. It’s Sharpay being spoiled and selfish! Whoop de Doo! It sucks. NEXT!

 

Work This Out

This is a very interesting song because it follows a semi Disney tradition of the work song. It’s okay, but there’s one performance fact that hurts it. In all other work songs from Snow White, Cinderella and Enchanted they actually showed the characters working! Here they have the characters dance and the dancing is good, but that sort of defeats the purpose of the song of getting down to business and working a confounding problem and making it easier (hint sing A Spoonful of Sugar!)

 

You Are the Music in Me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IAXaQrh7m1o

This is actually a nice song meant for Troy and Gabriella and is meant to be an extension of their feelings and bonds in the first film and actually would have been more appropriate in the first film. It’s a solid song that reminds me more of the good songs from the first movie.

 

I Don’t Dance

Oh Hell Yeah! The first big number since the opening! This song is awesome not only for its great scope, choreography and singing, but it shows Ryan at his best! There’s really nothing else to say I’ll let it speak for itself easily the best part and song of the film along with another one!

 

Gotta Go My Own Way

Here’s another song that is Gabriella’s big solo for the movie and it’s the same as the last movie all I got out of this is something I already know which is “Gabriella’s sad!” That’s it!

 

Bet On It

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Lk9yEyO9djg

The other best song and best scene in the movie! Troy finally goes out to vent his frustrations and to find out what to do. The song perfectly captures this and is similar to Kevin Bacon dancing away his frustrations in Footloose. The song may sound like a teeny bopper version of He Lives in You, but it works and works well for the film!

 

Everyday

This is a much better song than Breaking Free because it talks about the relevant issue of the film and how Troy and Gabriella should enjoy their youth because it only comes once which will lead into and be a fully explored in the next film. Great Stuff!

 

All For One

Now the finale song is better than “We’re All in This Together”, but to me it’s sort of okay and doesn’t do anything for me! It’s upbeat and filled with energy as a finale song should be!

ARTISTIC PRESENTATION

The scope is slightly bigger and smaller than the first. Smaller in the fact that they’re at a country club instead of the school and it’s larger because when there were big numbers they were big! The choreography is actually better! The film pulled out all the stops and tried to top themselves and in this area they did!

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is fairly better than the original. The conflict is much better, the songs are better, the choreography is better than it already is, and the leads are still great, and Ryan is a much more developed character! Still the movie isn’t as good as what would come next where the kids of East High would make a final bow in one really well done performance in High School Musical 3: Senior Year!

Verdict: 3.8 talent show trophies out of 5

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