Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Better and Worse.
The High School Musical franchise is one that not a whole lot of people enjoy…that’s clear. What’s more, it’s understandable, but I still hold firm that they aren’t as bad as people put them out to be. I honestly think that people expected them to be absolutely horrid, so low and behold, they turned out to be to everyone…I just think they need to be taken a little more seriously and given a solid chance. They aren’t exactly my favorite movies ever, nor my favorite musicals at that, but I do think each and every one of them have a lot of good to offer. High School Musical 2 is a tricky movie, because it definitely hit the right chord in respect to fixing what the first had wrong, but at the same time…it botched something else up that’s almost equally as bad.
This time, the East High Wildcats are on Summer vacation, and their location to gather collectively around is an expensive summer resort that Sharpay’s family owns. Most have to do work because it is a summer job, but they don’t mind because it’s a very lucrative opportunity. Anyways, Sharpay has her own agenda of getting with Troy…and what’s more…it’s slowly seeming to work because Troy is worried about his future in college…which is taking him away from his high school sweetheart, Gabriella.
I want to first talk about how this moved light years beyond the first movie, because that is really important. I was honestly impressed with what they did for themselves here in only a year after the first movie. Mainly speaking, Zac Efron actually sang for his role and it finally looked real. Seriously, the first movie was like the whole Aunt Beru thing in Star Wars, but more often, and more obvious. It’s not only that, but those that were in the first movie that didn’t sing…sang in the sequel. Collectively, they did what they should have done in the first movie here. Then there was the dancing, it was clear that there were more diverse song and dance styles in this film. The dances alone were actually about five times better and more sharp than the first. The visuals and production value were also miles better than the first movie…so why did I only rate it a couple notches better than the first?
One word. Plot. High School Musical 2 falls victim to what countless family and kids movie fall victim to all the time…taking the comedic roles and making them more important than the leads. Sharpay and Ryan are fine characters, but for some reason, the movie seemed to be more about them than anyone else. They all went to Sharpay’s family business, Ryan needed to feel like he was important, Sharpay was trying to get with Troy the whole time…it had a lot of focus on them, and it just wasn’t that great. I liked the location as well, but the problem with it was that it wasn’t high school. The actual high school building of the first film was more or less a character, and an important one at that.
The title of the first movie was a play on words. It’s a musical about a musical, and that wasn’t true for this either. There was a talent show, but that was about it. It isn’t called Sharpay’s Talent Show Extraveganza, it’s called High School Musical 2, and I can’t help but feel a little gipped in that regard.
As for the songs, they weren’t bad. In fact, for the most part, they were just about as good as the first. A couple were even better, but I think in the end I probably prefer the first film for the songs…and that could be because the second one wasn’t put together as smart as the first. Who knows.
Good or bad, High School Musical 2 definitely fits well into the franchise, as it continues with a lot of catchy, toe-tapping songs as well as even better dancing. It was clearly a higher-budget and bigger production than the first, and they did the right thing by allowing Zac Efron to sing this time.
My god, this was a Sharpay-centric movie. I don’t think I realized just how true that was until I saw it again, but that really annoys me, because I don’t care for her character.
There is a special feature on the DVD that teaches viewers how to dance to “Work it Out”. I watched this special feature, and I learned how to do this dance. I have since forgotten how, but you know what…it’s not easy…at all.