Reviewed by Charlene Lee,
16, Walnut HS
I was ready to see the third High School Musical installment the minute the second one ended. Throughout the summer, I watched the trailers on YouTube, listened to the soundtrack the second it debuted, and even watched the behind-the-scenes snippets on Disney Channel. The trailers seemed promising, even though the music was unimpressive. But after I finally saw the movie nothing was more disappointing than the annoying and poorly developed characters, scattered plot and mediocre music scenes in High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
The movie starts off with the usual East High Wildcats facing what Disney defines as stereotypical senior problems, such as choosing a college and learning how to say goodbye. Like the past two movies, the movie focused on the relationship between Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens). The two struggle with learning how to leave home and each other when Gabriella has a chance to go to college early. Also back, Disney bad girl, Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), who still strives for the spotlight and her brother, Ryan, her puppy-dog follower who is still trying to find himself.
But in addition to those subplots, other characters deal with asking each other to prom, earning college scholarships, trying to put on the spring musical (which Disney cleverly names … High School Musical), and planning for their future. Disney also introduces two annoyingly shallow characters, Tiara Gold (Jemma McKenzie-Brown), a British foreign exchange student portrayed as a Sharpay mini-me, and Jimmie “Rocketman” (Matt Prokop), a less refined version of the hunky Troy Bolton. Both characters are thrown into the movie at random moments, speak only when spoken to, and play parts so insignificant they seem only to be filler characters.
With so many miniature dilemmas, it was as if Disney didn’t even know what to do and threw everything into one pot, hoping fans would love the pretty faces enough to not care that there was no plot.
Even more disappointing, the music scenes lacked Disney magic. In the past, I’ve always liked at least half of the HSM tracks and dance routines, but this movie failed to even give me two solid songs. The movie started strong with “Now or Never, ” with beats fitting nicely with the basketball game and a cheesy duet between Gabriella (singing to Troy from the stands “You can do it just know that I believe,”) and Troy (“And that’s all I really need/ Make me strong/ It’s time to turn it up/ Game on!”). But the rest of the songs were downright awful. “Can I Have this Dance” was a miserable attempt at creating a sappy rain scene that resulted in an inharmonic duet between the two lovers. And I was ready to walk out of that theater if it were not for my loyalty to Disney when I saw the wannabe Michael Jackson number, “Scream,” in which Efron glided through the halls of East High at night.
But the movie got worse. Troy, sulky whenever Gabriella was absent, took up a majority of the screen time with nothing to contribute except a whiny persona. Sharpay was irritating with her digitalized voice and disgusting self-obsession. Except for the first six minutes, this movie was a waste of my time. Disney needs to stop trying to prolong the magic created in their first movies and learn that some movies don’t need sequels.
Reviewed by Jose Dizon, 16, La Cañada HS
Whenever I would watch Disney’s High School Musical, I’d sing along to the catchy songs. Sometimes I’d sing in public, which was especially embarrassing since it wasn’t really a guy thing, but it was definitely fun. As a fan of the High School Musical franchise I was giddy at the idea of the series finally appearing in theaters. And for fans like me, High School Musical 3: Senior Year delivers.
The third movie opens with one of my favorite songs, “Now or Never” as the East High basketball team plays in the state finals Facing a huge deficit the Wildcats make a furious rally for the championship led by Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), while Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) cheers him on by singing that she believes in him. This peppy song got me excited for the rest of the movie. It was already enough to justify the long wait for the movie’s release, and it was also a sign of even more great numbers to come.
The movie tackles a lot of the big choices teenagers have to make once they reach senior year. Troy and Gabriella have to deal with keeping their romance alive while choosing different colleges. Troy also has to choose between his love of basketball and his love of acting. Ryan Evans (Lucas Grabeel) finally steps out of his sister Sharpay’s (Ashley Tisdale) shadow and starts pursuing his own dream.
I do have a couple small complaints. The plot is a little confusing, with too many subplo and a few minor characters are added, yet barely used. An example is Tiara Gold, a British girl who becomes Sharpay’s personal assistant, and later aspires to become the main star of the drama department. In the end it served its purpose, as Sharpay finally learns how it feels to be humiliated. The problem is that Tiara gets about five minutes of screen time.
Still, I don’t feel I should be too harsh critiquing this movie. It’s made for a younger audience, not the Academy Awards. This was an entertaining and fitting end for the original cast as they closed out the movie with the trademark High School Musical jumping pose from the original movie’s advertisement poster. But even though the movie ended, the fun doesn’t end here. I still haven’t memorized the songs, so the first thing I’ll do is pick up the soundtrack and start practicing for everyone at school to hear. Let the embarrassment commence.