Whether you’ve accidentally channel surfed through the first two High School Musical movies or you’ve unapologetically watched the Disney premieres, you at least know of the East High Wildcats. Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s hard to complain about a pop culture phenomenon built on unabashed innocence.
High School Musical 3: Senior Year picks up during senior year at East High. Frenetic screaming comes when Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) is featured in a close-up for the first 45 seconds of the movie; this ain’t your parents’ Grease.
The seniors of East High are unknowingly cast in their school’s spring musical, Senior Year. Many of their thoughts and ideas are played out on the stage or in their minds through Broadway blowout form. It almost has the same set up as Chicago, minus the sex, murder and cursing.
Director/choreographer Kenny Ortega, who has manned the helm of this ship since its conception, knows the Broadway origins and how to make this movie truly sing.
Ashley Tisdale reprises her role as high school mean girl, Sharpay Evans, who has a hapless twin brother (Lucas Grabeel).
On the big screen in a theater hopping with fans, HSM3 is Beatlemania for a new generation. Every actor on the screen has been working on HSM movies for three and a half years. This is a true graduation for these actors, their Disney days likely over.
The slower musical numbers fall flat. And there are only so many times you can stand Efron’s angst (how difficult is it being attractive?), but HSM3 is an honest jolt of feel-good fizz. You can’t dislike a school where cliques don’t exist and skin is as smooth as the dancing. If East High had been a real school, you totally would have gone.
Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars