This Was Their Last Chance to Get It Right…

I didn’t really know what to expect when I finally got around to seeing High School Musical 3: Senior Year, but whatever expectations I had set upon my subconscious, I sure didn’t expect to be disappointed — and I was, which is unfortunate since I’m a fan (embarrassing but true). High School Musical is one of my guiltiest pleasures.

The sets are more elaborate, the production numbers are bigger than ever, the characters’ costumes and make-up were the gayest HSM’s ever gone, but Senior Year still felt like a Tv movie. The plot felt unremarkably familiar to the last two musicals. It felt like a mere combination of HSM 1 & 2, and halfway through the flick I was desperately wishing they came up with some new material instead. I mean come on, this was the last HSM, at least for the original cast. You would think they would come up with bigger storylines and plot twists.

It was the story that suffered the most for me, it’s what took the whole grandeur out of the whole thing. I think they were just trying to do too much to it. There were too many angles, angles we’ve seen before, and none of which meshed with each other very well to be honest. And the problem with trying to cram too much in one storyline, of course, is underdevelopment. A lot of the angles fell completely short. Like the prom itself, for instance. There was no prom, just the stage version of it. Or the Ryan-Kelsey romance thing. Yeah, that got nowhere.

I also didn’t get the whole ‘senior year experience being regaled as a musical’ thing. I mean what was that, ‘life imitating art imitating life’? Please. There are better ways to achieve this. I was so confused by the story, I was like, is this scene happening in real life, or is it part of the musical?

The cast is older; you can obviously tell. The girls were sluttier, and the boys were all beefed up. I guess that makes for prettier eye candy for the film’s targeted demographic, but Corbin Bleu (Chad) looks like he’s on steroids and Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay) looked like a drag queen.

As far as the sound is concerned, expect quintessential pop music true to the HSM spirit, so fans need not worry. Admittedly, some are cringe-inducing, but the music overall was more than tolerable at best.

Troy & Gabriella | Can I Have This Dance

I do think Vanessa Hudgens’ vocal control had improved somewhat, although she hasn’t really grown out of that bubblegum-pop sound. It was Lucas Grabeel who stole the show for me though. He shows off the prowess of his powerful pipes in Senior Year.

Senior Year also gave us a glimpse of some of the next generation cast, should Disney decide to do a fourth HSM, I’m guessing. But the new gen Wildcats are major dweebs! They’re supposed to be cool, popular kids, right? The jocks and the Sharpay kind who dominate East High. But the ones they showed on the film were pre-pubescent morons incapable of charismatic appeal. In real high school life, they would’ve been the clingy, incessant weirdo pests you try to avoid like the plague. That was quite painful to watch.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year was not the finale I was expecting. It lacked heart, and didn’t make me feel like it was ‘the end of an era’, you know? But despite the disappointment, who am I kidding? Once a fan, always a fan. Like with HSM 2, I’ll probably warm up to Senior Year eventually.

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~ by iamnotfrodo on October 30, 2008.

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