High School Musical 3: Senior Year


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

High School Musical 3: Senior Year
"The writing is unanimously superfluous bubblegum dribble. Yet Zac Efron displays a startling magnetic star quality and rises above it."

Disclaimers: 1) I am not a 12 year old girl. I am a crinkly old fart by comparison.

2) Kids may adore this movie. I did not.

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Any opinions you read here are based on the cynical and pretentious fizzings of a person who loves movies for what they can do for us as a species. While I have seen the Disney Channel original film, and enjoyed it for its small-screen successes, High School Musical 3: Senior Year is a combination of warmed over retreads and vapid razzle-dazzle. It does not excite me.

It's watchable enough (wear sunglasses - the movie has a SPF of around 200), but pretty uninspiring stuff. The success of a musical depends solely on whether the musical numbers in it are rolling around in your head on the way out. This doesn't apply to HSM3, since they don't have any musical numbers, rather pop songs strung together over a dentalfloss story. And besides, I was humming the songs to other movies.

Okay, let's briefly discuss the Recycled And Thin Plot and get it out of the way. Zac Efron is once again the conflicted Troy Bolton, a high-school sports jock doing the same thing he did in the first film. He faces an upcoming life-choice of playing basketball, or reaching for his theatrical dreams as a song-and-dance man. His girlfriend Gabriella (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) is headed to Stanford to read Law. This starts off the plot, as the teens reach friendship crises. Oh, and of course, the real crux of Every Boring Teenager Movie: getting ready for prom!

Cue one checklist of teenage angst which touches on how people are going to change forever and so on, but not a drop of this is played out with believability, far less realism. Film buffs dreaming about getting home to rewatch the same stuff done right in American Graffiti can't be good...

The movie is rated U - and as such has been sterilised. The cast look as though they've been had every beauty treatment under the sun, and are supremely gorgeous. I don't begrudge it for being a sanitised version of high-school, (Grease looks positively sleazy and grimy in comparison, but much more human) but surely there's enough room within the ratings requirements to put in some real conflict or drama. The least polished part of the movie is exactly that which lets it down: the writing is superfluous bubblegum dribble. Yet Zac Efron displays a startling magnetic star quality - as he did in last year's surprise hit Hairspray - and rises above it. He is a terrific entertainer, and gives the movie its pep.

This movie will appeal to its audience, and as such I grudgingly give it a passing grade. But it will appeal only its audience - I can only pray the kids will find better movies as they get older. Then again, maybe I'm just a big old misery guts. In my yearbook, I was: "Most likely to trip over a cordless phone"... sigh.

Reviewed on: 24 Oct 2008
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Big-screen outing for the Disney Channel kids.
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Director: Kenny Ortega

Writer: Peter Barsocchini

Starring: Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Bart Johnson, Alyson Reed, Olesya Rulin, Chris Warren Jr.

Year: 2008

Runtime: 112 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US


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