The High School Musical bandwagon trundles on with the Disney Channel phenomenon’s first cinema release finding it’s way onto DVD today.
Zac, Vanessa, Ashley and the rest of the crew are all here again, but for the last time, as they’re about to graduate from East High and go their separate ways. Anyway, onto a review. Well, having seen this with a gaggle of screaming tweens at a preview screening back in October (my views on that here), I found myself swept along by the HSM zeigiest. I cried, I laughed, I cheered and I had a thoroughly good time. But once the euphoria had subsided, I have to admit I didn’t rate this film as highly as the first two movies.
The big production numbers (and there’s an awful lot of them) are as polished and perky as we have come to expect. There’s Troy and Gabriella waltzing in the rain to the love ballad Can I Have This Dance, Troy and his basketball buddy Chad getting sweaty and athletic (and maybe even a little bit homoerotic) to The Boys Are Back and Ryan and Sharpay (yes, she still seems to be named after a dog) adding glitz and glamour and a revolving stage to I Want It All. But the songs aren’t as catchy, or memorable, as favourites such as We’re All In This Together (which, to be fair, does get a reprise here) or All For One.
The plot’s not all that either… Something about Gabriella being very responsible and standing Troy up at the prom because she’s got to do a workshop at Stanford (Call yourself a teenager, girl?) and Troy trying to decide if he wants to be a dancer, or a singer or a basketball player, or a combination of all three and Sharpay getting All About Eve’d by a young pretender to her Mean Girls throne. And there are too many distracting subplots with a host of secondary characters who one can’t help suspecting are being primed for HSM 4. Plus the big prom scene is a complete letdown (ie: they don’t really have one).
That said HSM3, like the first two Disney Channel Original Movies, is so full of life and energy and young love – and expertly performed song-and-dance routines – that you’d have to be a very grouchy killjoy (or a reviewer from one of the poncier broadsheets) not to find something to enjoy here.
Plus I have to give it a glowing review or my teenage son would kill me.