Third Installment in Review-Proof Kiddie Franchise Arrives on DVD
High School Musical 1 and 2 went straight to DVD where they were such a surprise hit that Disney decided to release the third installment in theaters. Similar to the Mouse House’s other red hot franchises, Hannah Montana and The Jonas Brothers, High School Musical is a review-proof enterprise certain to thrive regardless of what any snooty critics have to say.
HSM-3 will certainly resonate with its targeted preteen demographic, as its principal cast has returned for a sequel appropriately enhanced for the big screen. While the wafer-thin plotline will undoubtedly bore the pants off most adults, at least the wholesome material means it offers a family-friendly appeal.
The setting is again East High in Albuquerque, New Mexico where we find our leads near the end of their senior year and apprehensive about having to go their separate ways. But before their impending graduation arrives, the kids still need to finalize their college plans. Plus, they have to stage the annual, spectacular spring musical production, one they hope they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
Each of the leads seems to have a little drama going on. Basketball star Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) would be excited about being accepted to play at the University of Albuquerque along with his best friend Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu), except for the prospect of being a thousand miles away from the object of his affection, Stanford-bound Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens).
Meanwhile, Sharpay Evans (Asley Tisdale) finds herself in competition with a few classmates, including her brother, Ryan (Lucas Grabeel), for a single scholarship to Juilliard. Only Taylor McKessie (Monique Coleman) is already settled and will be matriculating at Yale in the fall.
Fans of the musical genre will enjoy how the film seizes on any excuse to have an ensemble break out into a song and dance ala a big Bollywood finale. But because it features lyrics like “Fame! Fortune! I want it all. I gotta have it!” it leaves you just a little concerned about whether this generation of tykes will grow up internalizing the narcissistic and materialistic messages contained in those dubious lyrics.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 117 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
2-Disc DVD Extras: Deleted scenes with director’s introductions, digitial copy, extended version of the movie, bloopers, a sing-a-long, cast goodbyes, and a couple of other featurettes.
To see a trailer for High School Musical 3,