Monday, October 27, 2008

High School Musical 3 Review

Overall Grade: C

I am not exactly sure how someone like me (a 25 year old male) could review this film and truly give it a fair hearing; I'm not the target demographic this movie aims for (considering I've gone through puberty). For example, when Zac Efron removed his jersey during the film, it wasn't me giggling uncontrollably in the theatre. I thought the first High School Musical was alright and that the second one was mostly a disaster (Efron singing his solo "Bet On It" on the golf course being the lowest point). So why exactly did I even go see this film do you ask?

The initial reason I made the trip to the local AMC was because my friend Julie wanted to see it, and I thought if I was gonna watch it, I should watch it with her (besides, she has to now watch Saw with me). Outside of my film goals (attempting to watch any film that is of any significance; critical, popular, cult, etc.), the High School Musical series does offer a few pleasures. I feel the film is at its best when it presents a catchy pop tune with some great choreography. The series also wears a huge grinning smile in each of the films, and I have to admit, that smile does have its appeal. Its nice to watch a movie that is so gosh darn optimistic. So, having given all that background, how does High School Musical 3 fair?

For the most part, if you enjoyed the first two films, then you will enjoy this one as well. Nearly all the same elements are back in this one, which for many fans should be a comfort. However, for me, it made the film quite a bore. I know picking at the story in High School Musical is like picking at the story in a Jackie Chan film, but can we honestly get some new conflicts? Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) is still trying to decide between Music and Basketball (his shocking conclusion is that he will do BOTH!), Sharpee (sp?) is still trying to take the spotlight and snag Troy (even after two films of comeuppance), Troy's Dad is still an idiot and a terrible actor, and Sharpee's brother is still struggling to get noticed. Alongside these returning conflicts are also nearly the same conflicts for every other minor character in the film. Its as if film three just thought that everyone would essentially forget that the first two films also featured all these storylines as well. At least the filmmakers were smart enough to not bring back the "your not spending time with your friends" storyline in film two, probably the best decision the writing team could have made.

Two new characters are introduced in this film, and they are basically admirers of Troy and Sharpee who will rule East High when this Senior Year is over (Read: Disney making sure that this franchise could continue if they wanted). The characters basically do nothing and effect nothing, making them even more obviously a "securing the franchise" move.

Making the film even harder to watch are the songs and dance numbers, of which there are plenty (all featuring much the same beat). The first film had a few memorable numbers like "Stick to the Status Quo", "Breaking Free", and "We're All In This Together". The second film had a couple good songs, "What Time Is It" and "We Can Work It Out". However, this film really doesn't have one. Alongside several yawn inducing numbers are some truly bad "groaners" (The Boys Are Back being a standout). Top that off with the director's truly annoying habit of filming direct head on POV (point of view) shots with Efron and others staring straight at the audience (ala Jonathan Demme in Silence of the Lambs), and "uncomfortable" would be a good word to sum up my experience.

In the end though, High School Musical 3 retains that golly gee whiz optimism and good nature that make the first two films so attractive, and thats enough to forgive it of a lot of faults...just not all of its faults.

4 comments:

8rent said...

Whatever. I heard that giggling all the way up here and it distinctly sounded like you. You sure Valardi wasn't there with you? I swear that sounded like Ken along for the fun.

Julie said...

aww, I thought you liked The Boys are Back. You were singing it long after the song ended. You have to admit the two little boys were cute. Didn't it strike up memories of the times you would go running around the car dump and jump all over them? But yes, the songs did not seem as good this time. Although the slow version of We're All In This Together was very 'awww' at the end. Thanks for going to see it with me. :) Just name the date and place for Saw and I'll be there.

Kyle Leaman said...

8Rent,

Giggling? I would never stoop so low as to giggling. I am a big fan of chuckling though. I am also not shy of a genuine guffaw every now and then. My favorite though is a throwback to Walt Whittman, a barbaric yelp!

Julie,

That scene in the junkyard was so out of nowhere, I could hardly believe it. At what time and point in any of the previous movies did either of the boys visit a junkyard? Ridiculous. Why not just put them on their old neighborhood basketball court or something?
I would suggest next Tuesday for Saw, but there is already a horror show on TV... the election! Oh ZING!

micahmcmillan said...

I believe that is a barbaric yawp, sir. That is all. :P