Saturday, February 7, 2009

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008)

Movie quotes:
"He's doing some sort of yoga Fosse thing."
- Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale)

At a glance:
Channeling the spirit of the great musicals of the 1940s and 1950s, High School Musical 3 is a lavish feast of choreography and boy/girl band songs, but while some sequences are fantastic, others are weak, and its dearth of false endings make it run a little too long

Our review:
High School Musical 3 is the first of the 3 films I have had the pleasure of seeing…and a pleasure it is for most of the way. The G-rated film about, you guessed it, high school seniors has a squeaky, clean, ‘Christian’ feel to it, making it suitable for all ages. The major problems these kids deal with is where to go to college and will they get accepted in Julliard. This is definitely an ode to the upper class of America.

Having not seen the other films, and not knowing what to expect, I was impressed by the song and dance talents of the class. My personal favorite was the quirky Ryan (Lucas Grabeel), whose Astaire-like moves reminded me a little of an earlier time.

However, the sum of the parts are greater than the whole. There are three fantastic sequences (the choreography of the opening basketball number is spot-on, Ryan and Sharpay’s dance (and the cavalcade of sets they dance through) is amazing, and the contrast between the boys and the girls in the ‘prom prep’ number is a lot of fun. Strangely, these three blockbuster sequences are all in the first 40 minutes of the film, making the latter stages of the film inferior (where it should be building to a climax). The culmination, the stage production, is an abbreviated rehash of earlier, better numbers. Musical 3 also overstays its welcome by around 20 minutes; it should have ended when the big stage production ended, but I assume this was to provide a long goodbye to dedicated watchers of the series.

By the way, I must mention here that this review, like all my reviews, is fully written first; then, to provide a sampling of other views, I find and grab quotes and links from fellow reviewers. The language used by Jim Schembri below is purely a coincidence. I had not viewed his review until after I wrote mine; it’s just that we must be kindred spirits to use the term ‘overstays its welcome’ and to coincidentally agree – so precisely – on the running time being 20 minutes too long.

Rating: 2.5 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"High School Musical 3 overstays its welcome, stretching out about 20 minutes longer than it needs to, thanks chiefly to a final celebratory reel that simply refuses to end."
-Jim Schembri (The Age [Australia])

"Regardless of whether Disney's G-rated phenomenon is your cup of tea, you have to admire this films boundless will to create fun, inspiring entertainment on a level second to none."
-Bruce Bennett (Spectrum [St. George, Utah])

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