Movie Review for High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008)

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Review #709 of 365
Movie Review of High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) [G] 112 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $13.00
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When Seen: 24 October 2008 @ 3:00 pm
DVD Release Date: Unscheduled (please check back)
After the Credits: There is nothing after the credits, however, there are some outtakes during the credits.
Unsung Member of the Crew: Utility Sound – Jason Brady

Soundtrack: Download now from High School Musical Cast - High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Audio + Video) [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] - or - order the CD below

Directed by: Kenny Ortega (High School Musical 2)
Written by: Peter Barsocchini (High School Musical 2) with characters by Peter Barsocchini

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Zac Efron (Hairspray) • Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical 2) • Ashley Tisdale ("The Suite Life of Zack and Cody") • Lucas Grabeel (College Road Trip) • Corbin Bleu (High School Musical 2 ) • Olesya Rulin (Forever Strong) • Monique Coleman (High School Musical 2) • Bart Johnson (High School Musical 2) • Alyson Reed (High School Musical 2 ) • Matt Prokop (An Angel Named Billy) • Jemma McKenzie-Brown ("The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard") • Leslie Wing (High School Musical 2)

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If you've not caught the High School Musical bug, there's no better way than to see High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Director / choreographer Kenny Ortega way, way, way outdoes himself in this third incarnation and sequel to the original "it's cool to be in musical theatre productions" Disney's High School Musical. No doubt the series can officially be declared a world wide phenomenon spawning an entire cottage industry around local musical productions, the ice show circuit, and the lunchbox / twin bed sheet logo merchandise. The cool think about the phenomenon is that it has launched a movement to get kids up and dancing and involved in the arts—which given the way-over-emphasis on sports in our culture, this is a very, very positive thing. Meanwhile, the films (the first two debuted exclusively on the Disney® Channel before hitting the shelves on DVD) have also launched the careers of future superstars Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Lucas Grabeel, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, and Olesya Rulin. All of whom have major film projects in the works with Zac Efron and Lucas Grabeel having the greatest future star potential based on what's in the works and what they've demonstrated on the stage and screen.

You don't really need to have seen the first two to pick up where they left off in understanding the third. Basically the story is about a boy, Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) who meets a girl, Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens). She's a singer and lo and behold this basketball star whose coach father dreams of him following in his footsteps at the University of Albuquerque turns out to be quite a singer himself. Fortunately, East High where they attend has an equally fine drama department led by Ms. Darbus (Alyson Reed), fraternal twin stage hams Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) and Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) Evans, and an amazing composer Kelsi Nielsen (Olesya Rulin). Not to be upstaged, is Troy's childhood best friend and teammate Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu) who dabbles in dance moves with Troy though he seems to be more well-suited for the court than his successful crossover buddy. The 'villain' of the story is always Sharpay whose pretty-in-pink get ups and superiority complex land her in perpetual second status behind Troy and his now BGF Gabriella. This installment, as the title indicates, begins at the beginning of their senior year (though East High has been moved to Utah for the purpose of filming). The film begins with the state high school basketball championship game on the line. The Wildcats are down at the half, but the coach reminds them of the 16 minutes remaining in many of their high school careers. Troy and Chad lead the team to the final seconds in a hot musical basketball number that culminates with the introduction of a new character, Jimmie "The Rocketman" Zara (Matt Prokob)—the heir apparent to the HSM Troy Bolton throne. After the game, the wildcats have much more on their minds: Prom, the spring Musicale, the yearbook, and what's going to be their life after high school. Troy and Chad are supposed to go to U of A. Gabriella is off to Stanford for pre-law. But everything is thrown amiss when Ms. Darbus announces that Julliard is considering four seniors for a full scholarship based on their performances in the final show. Sharpay, Ryan, and Kelsi are obvious choices, but Troy? He didn't even apply, but somehow they got his name. It's all so confusing.

While some of the songs are not up to par with previous HSM films, Kenny Ortega has taken the dance routines to new heights. Meanwhile, as the kids work on their senior musical, it allows the film to alternate scenes of their musical with scenes of their life creating a real Broadway musical-like feel to the film. It's absolutely fun and extravagant—not only a worthy finale to the run of this cast through the years (topped off by a touching final scene with the leads on stage looking like the actors from a 12-year sit-com run that's finally come to an end) but a great final chapter for fans who fell in love not just with the cast but with the whole concept of the high school musical. Zac Efron has come a long way, and is clearly the star of the entire production. Though he occasionally looks a bit pained and even angry during his performances, his emotional and physical qualities sing out superstardom.

Kenny Ortega has created a spectacular send up to musicals in general, with this one specifically for kids but to be enjoyed by all.
By far the best musical number is one with Troy and Chad in a junkyard where they reminisce about their childhood while contemplating their future. The most beautiful number occurs in the high school rooftop garden where Troy asks Gabriella to prom—it's enough to make anyone swoon, though it sets the bar way too high for most marriage proposals let alone prom invites. Kenny Ortega has created a spectacular send up to musicals in general, with this one specifically for kids but to be enjoyed by all. Rumors of him getting the fast track with Zac Efron and a remake of Footloose seem to be confirmed as is, unfortunately, a High School Musical 4—but with a whole new generation of cast members.

Note: See the High School Musical Movie Poster Extravaganza including 28 posters from High School Musical 3 plus posters from HSM 1 and 2! (click here)

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Related Products from
Other Projects Featuring High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008)
Cast Members
Zac EfronVanessa HudgensAshley Tisdale
Lucas GrabeelCorbin BleuOlesya Rulin
Monique ColemanBart JohnsonAlyson Reed
Matt ProkopLeslie Wing
Kenny Ortega
Peter Barsocchini

Review-lite High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008) [max of 150 words]
The gangs all back for this spectacular finale to a world-wide phenomenon in the form of a basketball team that turns musical. Zac Efron and director / choreographer Kenny Ortega bring their A-game to High School Musical 3: Senior Year in both great story and song. Better than the previous two films on every level, HSM3 represents one of the best musicals of the year and certainly should give Mama Mia! a run for its money in the Golden Globe awards musical/comedy category.

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1 comment:

Scott said...

My 7 year old daughter has seen all 3 of the HSM now and #3 was by far her favorite. I think alot of it had to do with the fact that this one was in the theatre instead of on TV. You have one of the best review blogs I have seen, keep up the good work.