Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Shush, it’s catchy.
I remember when I first saw High School Musical, but it actually surprises me that it was a 2006 movie…because I still remember watching it for the first time on TV as plain as day. It was just getting popular and they were always showing repeats of it on the Disney Channel and I thought I’d give it a try…low and behold it hooked me too…and I was a senior in High School…and a guy. I urged my family to watch it as well, and of course they had their doubts, but they too joined the High School Musical club…and there is a genuinely good reason for that…but at the same time, there are genuinely negative elements that shouldn’t be ignored either, especially with the first film in the franchise.
The story is pretty simple, your average, every day basketball superstar, Troy Bolton, met this cute girl while on a break from school, and it turns out they go to the same school. While there, Troy begins to question his loyalties and passions…does he want to play the championship basketball game, or does he want to sing in the next school musical with the girl he met, Gabriella? Whatever the case, change is apparently the worst thing in the world, because no matter what he wants to do, judgment follows him from every direction and he has to make a decision fast.
I really do believe that there are good things about this film, but at the same thing there are bad things. It does feel like a complete rip-off of Grease…at first. The entire foundation of the movie is the same exact foundation for the other…so I’m sure that there was some inspiration from both…however…the rest of the plot is more or less its own…that being said, it still is pumped full of predictable, cliché malarky…but that’s not the worst thing about it. It’s also not the worst thing in terms of production value, which is clearly cheap. It’s not even the fact that the acting is quite mediocre and very “Disney Channel Original Movie”-like. Instead, the worst thing about this movie…is their really strange choice to have some other guy do the singing instead of Zac Efron.
In my opinion, the choice to switch Troy’s voice for the songs was a really bad one. They did this because they wanted a tenor voice to match the character, but it doesn’t really sound like Efron…especially because Efron sings for both the second and third movie. I personally like his singing voice, and think that it adds to the movies better, but the guy’s voice he has in this film belongs to a Drew Seeley. It’s not that he has a bad singing voice, but to me it’s cheap and obvious and really ruins the movie.
The rest of the movie I more or less enjoy. It has a pretty bland and overused plot of staying true to yourself and not falling victim to the status quo, and of course, not caring what others think about you…but that’s really not the main reason people watch the movie…they watch it for the singing. As far as musicals go, I’m usually a fan of, at most, half of the songs. For some reason or other, I love all of the songs in the movie. They may not be the best written songs the whole time, but my god are they catchy. So sue me. I give credit where credit is due, and they have some catchy, diverse songs and forgive me for saying this, but fun dance numbers.
There is a solid reason why High School Musical got the sequels it did, the popularity it did, and the career that Zac Efron ultimately got afterwards. The songs in the movie alone are enough to keep people watching the franchise, even if they aren’t the best written songs in the world…they are very catchy and a lot of fun.
A little too much of the footing of the movie looks way too much like it is copying off of Grease. That wouldn’t be the end of the world, but the film is also very cheap-looking and Zac Efron’s singing voice was that of another actor all together, which really ruins the experience for me, personally.
I still kind of know all of the songs by heart. For all of the movies in the franchise.