I watch very few G-rated movies anymore, but I got out to watch Disney's High School Musical 3: Senior Year and I'm very glad I did. I confess that I also really enjoyed the first two movies on DVD (they weren't on the big screen). Have I lost my senses, gone off the deep end finally? No, not quite. I just enjoy a little innocent fantasy for kids that has a lot of fun energy and isn't meant to be Oscar-worthy, although I couldn't have asked for better dancing and singing most of the time. So it's not the tragic West Side Story or the sexier Grease made in the 1960s and 70s (romance is more the focus). It's more like Beach Blanket Bingo with clean-cut Frankie and Annette for 21st century preteens and teens, but with much more thought put into the dancing. What's wrong with that? Nothing.
Recommend this product?
The story isn't the best part of the 112-minute movie, but it was cute and not annoying. I remember thinking in the middle movie how annoying the kids' drama teacher was with a preachy, forced gaiety about her, but now she's more subdued and likable. The kids are in their senior year at East High, winning the basketball championship in the opening scenes (sounds more like it was a tie, but goofs abound), having a party, tackling their last musical together, getting ready for the prom and graduation, and choosing their future. They want to do it their way and make their senior year memorable.
East High only exists in a Disney world. If you hate Disney, you'll have nothing but criticism for this story. There are no overweight or pimply teens. No bald teachers or unattractive parents. You won't see kids smoking cigarettes or making out or looking like losers. While there's one strange guy for laughs, even he rises to the challenge of taking over for the big star in the school musical, if briefly. These are achievers going for their dreams. Not losers. Their parents and the drama teacher try to support them as they usually do when they care and in this fantasy they all care. Don't we wish we lived in such a world? I know I do. It's an escape from reality indeed, but kids aren't as cynical as you or me and this movie recognizes that.
High School Musical 3: Senior Year is obviously a fantasy if you're worried that kids seeing this will feel pressured to become beautiful overachievers. Hey, I'm against beauty contests for kids as much as you probably are (see the delightful movie Little Miss Sunshine if you aren't), but this movie has kids breaking out in song and dance while in school or in a junkyard or on the basketball court. The joy of music inundates them and they burst with it like their whole life is a stage and the spotlight's on them. Kids will recognize it as a fantasy, okay? And we never know if we're watching the school musical or the real prom or graduation, as if they're interchangeable. This may seem confusing, but from a right brain perspective it makes perfect sense. It looks at the whole experience as one disorienting time. The basketball star even has a dance sequence where he looks to be climbing the walls and ceiling. Rather cool, I'd say.
Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgeons, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Ashley Tisdale, Ryan Grabeel and others are back in fine form. They're not stretching themselves with their predictable, likable characters, but kids want to see the characters they've grown to love. They like predictability and so Ashley's character is once again scheming to steal the school musical with Zac's character forced to star with her, but he has other plans, of course. She livens things up as usual with her brother helping, but the good characters, those in love, win in the end.
The look of the movie is quite acceptable as money has been spent and time as well in dance rehearsals. I'll really enjoy listening again to the catchy songs when I get the DVD. I left the theater humming one of them and with a smile on my face for having indulged in some harmless fantasy, thanks to director Kenny Ortega once again.
This is an entry to the write-off celebrating Mickey's birthday. See http://www.epinions.com/user-carstairs38 for details.
Movie Mood: Family Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Script