The Novice Cinephile

Exploring the world of cinema one film at a time.

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Since the launch of Disney+, I’ve been revisiting some movies and shows from my childhood. This includes a host of Disney Channel original movies. So, today, we’re going to start with the crown jewel of Disney Channel movies, High School Musical. It’s time to getcha head in the game, Wild Cats!

I’m just putting all out there now, this film is just strange. The main characters are Troy Bolton (Zach Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens). Two hot teenagers who are too talented for their own good. Troy is the high school basketball star but is also a fantastic singer. Gabriella is a wicked smart transfer student and also a fantastic singer. The two struggle with following their dream(?) of staring in the school’s musical. See, their friends and family want them to stick to what they’re good at. People only have the capability of good one thing. Having more than one hobby is bad, obviously.

Don’t you dare have more than one talent or so help me!

–  Coach Bolton (propably)

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The high school musical [oh now it makes sense] is typically lead by Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) and Ryan Evans (Lucas Gabreel). These twins are legitimately the best part of this series. They are seemingly the bad guys of this story, but we’ll get back to them later.

The songs in this movie are deceptively catchy. I find myself humming Stick to the Status Quo as I write this. The song performances are a different story, though. First off, the autotune is not subtle. It’s a shame because the actors can hold a tune. Most of which had albums released after this film. Second, Efron might be the weakest vocally (his voice changed between the first and second song), and even he comes back to the musical genre with The Greatest Showman! The choreography is decent, especially for the target audience and the platform it was airing on. This Disney Channel original is being made on a $10 budget and is targeted to preteens. Not exactly going to be the next Sound of Music.

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Back to the story, Troy and Gabriella’s world comes crashing down when word gets out of them, leading the musical. Thankfully their friends Chad (Corbin Bleu) and Taylor (Monique Coleman) are there to back them up. No? They actually trick Troy into saying how much he hates Gabriella, record it, and then show it to her, all to make them focus on basketball and the scholastic decathlon? Well… that’s a new kind of stupid. How is Sharpay the bad guy here? Every single character is just terrible. It’s incredible to be how bad the supporting cast is, and yet no one calls them out on it. At least Sharpay is supposed to be a spoiled, entitled brat! Thankfully, they figure out a way to win the championship, have the musical, and win the decathlon. This shouldn’t have been an issue to begin with, but what are you gonna do?

The plot is dumb, the songs can be an autotuned mess, and Ryan’s hat is assaulting my eyes, but you know what? This film is still charming in its own quirky way. Its message is clear: be yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks. The way it’s presented is a bit messy, and it’s by no means on par with other films in its own musical genre. High School Musical is an enigma of a movie, but it makes for a fun time. I’m glad I revisited it, and I’m so happy we did it together. After all, we’re all in this together. Yeah, we’re gonna end the review here. See you next time, Wild Cats.

One thought on “Review: HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL

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