3 out of 5 stars (average)
Note: Upon rewatching this film, I find it absolutely shocking that I once enjoyed it. The acting and writing are laughable, (the former especially for Vanessa Hudgens) the music numbers, while well-produced, took me out of the films’ reality, and the self-congratulatory ending is ludicrous. I would give it 2 out of 5 stars today (has some good moments, but is overall bad). Despite that, please enjoy this review from my younger, less-experienced self.
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years, this is the third installment of a big musical franchise about diversity and the power of choices, all set to music.
Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) is East High’s basketball champion for the Wildcats team. He’s got his teammates like Chad (Corbin Bleu) and the support of his girlfriend Gabriella Montez, East High’s genius-hottie who is played by Vanessa Hudgens. What could be better? But this is Senior Year and that means Troy, Gabriella, Chad and everyone else has to think about where they want to go to college. Troy’s father has already picked out a college for him; his alma mater the University of Albuquerque. Gabriella might go to Stanford University, very far away from Troy.
The new school year starts, and drama teacher Mrs. Darbus (Alyson Reed) announces that this year’s musical shall be about the kids’ final days at East High. Determined to see that this is her show and not the Wildcats, pink queen Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) enlists the help of her dorky brother Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) and exchange student Tiara Gold (Jemma McKenzie-Brown) to help her hijack the play. Meanwhile, Gabriella gets the gang to do the show, knowing this is the last time they will get to do something together. (How likely is it that the ball-hugging jocks are doing the school musical for the third year in a row?)
“High School Musical 3: Senior Year” is the worst of the HSM trilogy, but it is still good. The songs and dances are fun, but they take up too much of the movie for there to be as good a plot as its prequels. Ryan is still as dorky as ever, and Sharpay can’t seem to understand she will never get Troy’s heart.
I liked the fact that none of the actors were replaced even though they are all about 21-22 years old. The dance numbers a superbly demonstrated and almost every kind of music you can think of is in this film. There are hip hop, slow, rock, and other kinds of music.
Unfortunately, there is too much music in the movie for there to be a good plot, and Mrs. Darbus isn’t as goofy as she was in the last two movies. My friend Virgil went to see this with me (even though he’s never seen the HSM movies) and liked it. My sister Carol went to this film with a group of her friends, and they all screamed with delight (according to my sister) whenever Troy came on the screen. That happens to me whenever I walk in a room. They booed whenever Troy and Gabriella kissed though (sixth graders, yuck!)
Everyone knows about this franchise, so why did Disney take it to the big screen instead of keeping it on TV? The most logical answer in my opinion is, for the $$$$. The question is whether it’s really worth the $3.50 coke and $4.50 popcorn, plus the $6 movie ticket to see this flick. Yeah, I think it’s worth it, especially since my parents paid my way.
Rated G for Good Enough 1 hour, 40 minutes