Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

The song-and-dance routine is over for these ‘tweens

To say that the third entrée from the “High School Musical” franchise is a “good” movie or even a “decent” movie is as rude and inaccurate as it is to say that Gov. Sarah Palin understands a financial derivative, a fundamental cause of our current economic woes. So, I won’t.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year is, however, entertaining.

The cloying love-story between varsity-basketball-star-cum-thespian and nerdy-academic-decathlon-champ-cum-actress continues as the narrative launches you into an awkward mug shot of a perspiring and panting Troy Bolton (Zac Effron). Unlike the original movie, this one puts the championship basketball game on the backburner, making the movie’s focus the challenge of the last few months of senior year in high school, including all the goodies: prom, college decisions, the spring musical, graduation and people telling you that they’re going to take over the school once you’ve left.

The latter begins troubling Troy from the get-go. In the championship game, instead of taking the shot himself, Troy sets-up an unexpected hero for an easy basket. The unexpected hero makes the basket, wins them the game and instantly becomes a star. The problem: now he thinks he has the right to talk to Troy, the aloof senior. Troy tries to get rid of him in every way possible, but the unexpected hero keeps getting more and more in the way, becoming even clingier than his own girlfriend, Gabriela Montez (Vanessa Anne Hutchens).

The unexpected hero named Jimmy –– a lanky, black-hair-in-the-eyes caricature of a punk-rock groupie played by newcomer Matt Prokop –– is a part of a group of new characters (supposedly high school juniors) which include his friend Donny (Justin Martin), a scrawny, token character that says little, and his supposed love interest Tiara (Jemma McKenzie-Brown), a foreign exchange student who turns into the ultimate social-climber. For those of you not up on the latest Hollywood gossip here are two revelations that might make you scowl or smile: There will be a High School Musical 4 and these new faces may become the franchise’s stars.

Back to the old stars: throughout the movie, Gabriela and Troy attempt to tackle the seminal senior year dating problem of deciding whether to stay with one another while in college. The choosing of this important topic and how to address it is, by far, the most authentic part of the movie.

If you can get past the gag-factor of the twilight Gabriela’s eyes or the sheer number of pet names Troy has for her (or past the amount of times they almost kiss), the movie, as should its predecessors, should be given credit for presenting idealistic answers –– but answers, nonetheless –– to questions high school romances face on a daily basis. How do you balance a relationship and school; a relationship and your parent’s vicariousness; and a relationship with your personal ambitions?

Something else the movie should be given credit for is its metafictional blur between the spring musical, ironically titled “Senior Year,” and the student’s actual senior year of high school. While it’s seemingly easy to distinguish between the set of a play and the set of reality, the movie somehow made it artistically confusing. The musical’s rehearsal schedule follows essentially the same timeline as the student’s lives. The movie, chockablock with 10 songs (about 4 too many for my liking), transitions sometimes seamlessly between them, at spots making it a little difficult to determine whether they are rehearsing for the musical or doing things in ‘real life’.

There is one song and one scene that define the movie. The song is original, the scene is original, but the weather is clichéd. Then again, so is most of the movie.

Troy and Gabriella meet at their alone-time spot atop the school building’s roof (also, a greenhouse) where Troy finally asks Gabriella to prom. The prom is waltz-themed and, thus, Gabriella, whose father was well-versed in dance, must teach Troy how to waltz. They begin singing “Just Wanna Be With You,” a picture-perfect love song, and end up waltzing in the rain. It’s a heart-melter if I ever saw one.

This isn’t a Disney Channel Original Movie nor is it a cinematic spin on a Nicholas Sparks novel. It is, however, a ‘tween love story that is mired in sugar-coated lines and pop-hop (see synthesis of hip-hop and pop music) tunes that, for all its euphemisms and faux stereotype shattering, will never cease to amuse.’

The first edition of High School Musical was by far the best. But the third will still leave you –– albeit either sarcastically or tenderly –– amused for days.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Whitman Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *