Movie Review – ‘High School Musical’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Yes! You’re seeing this right! I’ve seen the movie ‘High School Musical’! It’s ironic to be talking about this movie. For a while, I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing it. It’s clearly had a fan-base since its release on the Disney Channel in 2006. I’m amazed by how much of an impact it’s had pretty lately.

My parents and I watched this movie on Disney+ last Friday. The film is often described as a modern adaptation of ‘Romeo & Juliet’. Though I would argue it’s more a modern adaptation of some of the 1940s musical films like 1947’s ‘Good News’. I’ll explain more about this aspect later in the review. 🙂

The film focuses on two high school juniors – a young Zac Efron as Troy Bolton and Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella Montez. Troy is a basketball team captain whilst Gabriella is a shy transfer student excelling in maths and science. The two try out for the lead roles in an upcoming high school musical.

This causes division among the school’s students as Troy’s friends want him only to be a basketball team captain and Gabriella receives pressure from those dissuading her being involved with Troy. Troy and Gabriella aim to resist peer pressure and rivalry, wishing to pursue their dream of singing. 🙂

This seems like a rather average Disney ‘high school musical’ film that wouldn’t get much of an impact when shown on the Disney Channel. I’m not saying that’s the case for all Disney Channel films (as I’ve not seen many of them), but that’s often the impression I get when they are discussed.

Yet clearly, ‘High School Musical’ had an impact on TV audiences when they watched it. That might have something to do with the musical numbers featured in the film (which I admit are decent enough) or it could be to do with the romance between Troy and Gabriella, which can be very sweet.

But surely ‘High School Musical’ can’t spawn a legacy…oh there were two more movies after the first film, including the third one shown at cinemas in 2008. Um, okay, well it’s can’t have made a big impact in recent years…THERE’S A DISNEY+ SERIES…WITH SPECIALS?!!! (Pause) WHAT THE HECK?!!!!

Okay, I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy ‘High School Musical’. I actually did and I found some moments entertaining to watch. But this isn’t a film I would watch again and again as it is more targeted for a younger audience. I also found some of the acting featured in the film pretty over-the-top at times.

I actually would have liked it if Disney did a ‘Sky High’ spin-off series on Disney+ or a follow-up film to ‘Sky High’. I did wonder if there were echoes of ‘Sky High’ featured in ‘High School Musical’ ‘Sky High’ was released at cinemas a year before ‘High School Musical’ was shown on the Disney Channel.

Going back to what I was saying about 1947’s ‘Good News’, there are similarities and echoes from that movie about boy meets girl; the boy being a sports celebrity and the girl being smart. There’s also an obsession about the boy winning the football game whilst he’s in love with the girl at school.

I’m not saying it’s a direct reinvention of the 1947 ‘Good News’ story in ‘High School Musical’, but I couldn’t help feel there were similarities between them. I think I enjoyed the musical finale featured in ‘High School Musical’ more than I enjoyed the musical finale featured in 1947’s ‘Good News’ itself.

As well as Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, the film also features Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay Evans and Lucas Grabeel as Ryan, Sharpay’s sister. For a while, I didn’t know Sharpay and Ryan were brother and sister. I assumed they were a couple when they auditioned for the high school musical. 😀

Sharpay is clearly full of herself when she wants her and Ryan to win the lead roles in the upcoming high school musical and ruin Troy and Gabriella’s friendship and romance. Incidentally, we don’t get to see what the upcoming high school musical’s about which is very bizarre when you think about it.

There’s also Corbin Bleu as Chad Danforth, Troy’s best friend and Monique Coleman as Taylor McKessie, Gabriella’s (sort-of) best friend. Chad and Taylor end up falling for each other in the film (I think). It’s amusing how these high school romances get formed. It didn’t happen in my high school.

The cast also includes Joey Miyashima as Dave Matsui, the principal of East High school; Bart Johnson as Jack Bolton, Troy’s father and the coach of the basketball team; and Alyson Reed as Ms. Darbus, a stern drama teacher. Ms. Darbus could be more over-the-top than any teacher I’ve seen.

There’s also Olesya Rulin as Kelsi Nielsen, an underappreciated pianist and composer; Chris Warren Jr. as Zeke Baylor and Ryne Sanborn as Jason Cross. There’s Kaycee Stroh as Martha Cox, Socorro Herrerra as Lisa, Gabriella’s mother and Leslie Wing Pomeroy as Lucille Bolton, Troy’s mother. In all fairness, most of the cast deliver decent performances in what’s arguably a corny and colourful film.

‘High School Musical’ has been an enjoyable flick to sit through on Disney+. I can’t say it won me over, but then again, I found it entertaining and worthwhile. I don’t know if I’d see this film again, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the next two films. Perhaps I might see the new Disney+ series someday.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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