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High School Musical 3

Posted by ANAND on February 5, 2009

high_school_musical3

“High School Musical 3” begins with a basketball game, and one of the most pleasingly kinetic song-and-dance numbers in the series, a fast-paced song destined for constant Disney Radio airplay called “Now or Never.” Ortega and music supervisor David Lawrence augment the spectacle with little touches, such as the cheerleaders helping out with the chorus of the song. And everything is bigger and better on the big screen, including Efron’s basketball skills, which became passable at some point in the past 12 months.

Troy (Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) are back at East High School for their senior year, where they are deciding their futures. From there, we get more of the same from the earlier musicals. The central themes – conflict in the Troy-Gabriella relationship, Troy’s inability to decide between sports and theater and even the scheming by bad girl Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) – is a repeat from the first movie. Except in this case, the events never seem to fit together. Important things happen too suddenly, subplots are abruptly abandoned and large chunks of the script appear to be missing entirely. The move is a punishing 112 minutes long, yet it’s so fractured, there are times it seems as if you’re watching the trailer.

Efron is once again Travolta-esque, although he appears to be quickly outgrowing this material. Hudgens is still annoyingly bland both in facial expressions and voice. (Tisdale is the better singer, but she gets fewer songs.) The new actors – including Matt Prokop doing a “Parenthood”-era Keanu Reeves imitation and Jemma McKenzie Brown as a British version of Sharpay – act cute and slightly obnoxious, like the latter-day Scrappy-Doos that they are.

The most improved player is Corbin Bleu as sidekick Chad, who still has the Sideshow Bob hair, but seems to have worked diligently on both his acting and dancing during the break. “The Boys Are Back,” featuring a junkyard dance-off performance by Troy and Chad, is probably the most thrilling number. Bleu is ready for his own leading role, if he can get something better than that movie about competitive jump roping (“Jump In!”) that he headlined last year.

As for the G-rated content, parents who might have been worried about the relationship between Troy and Gabriella escalating can breathe a sigh of relief. With hand-holding in “High School Musical” and a kiss in “High School Musical 2,” it would make sense that “HSM3” would feature a trip to second base. (And “High School Musical 5” would basically be a remake of “9 1/2 Weeks.”) But no worries. If anything, Troy gets even less action in this movie.

A small spoiler lies ahead: Stanford and Cal graduates should be thrilled that “High School Musical 3” often feels like a promotional video for those schools, with one scene that appears to be shot on the Cardinal campus. The lone problem is Troy’s statement that the colleges are 32.7 miles away from each other, which is at best extremely deceptive. Even without a flaming tanker truck to slow things down, the schools are a solid hour-and-15-minute drive from door to door.

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One Response to “High School Musical 3”

  1. love this show

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