It’s strange to see the things that catch on sometimes. While many may have dismissed High School Musical when it first aired on TV in 2006, there was obviously a dedicated crowd ready for it. In the couple of years since, the made-for-cable film has spawned two sequels, lined Wal-mart toy aisles with dolls and carried some heavy influence in the music recording industry. All this for a film that’s refreshing and entertaining but far from anything all the hype warrants – unless you’re a pre-teen madly in love with Zac Effron.
Troy (Effron) is the hunky star of the East High Wildcats basketball team. A leader on and off the court, Troy is the proverbial jock and the centerpiece of a proud school. His love for the game is challenged after he tries out for the school musical and, surprise, has a golden voice to go with his golden shot. Toss in the pretty new girl Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) and you’ve got a complicated yet completely innocent high school heartthrob.
Much of the story revolves around Troy’s attempts to appease everyone around him as he lives up to his jock image, all the while trying to be his own person as he discovers this thing called performing. Gabriella’s along for the ride, encouraging Troy to be himself and rival princess Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) is there to do whatever she can to make the golden-voiced jock her poodle chauffeur and boy toy.
High School Musical thrives at being squeaky clean fun, akin to the Bollywood musicals of India where the boy and girl love interests sing through the streets yet never seem to connect at the lips. There’s lots of hand holding, serenading and romantic delights but nary a kiss.
For those not used to the traditional musical format, High School Musical may seem a little jarring as the songs come out of nowhere. Framing the story around a school production enables the story to incorporate some of these numbers directly into the plot. However some of the best songs come out of nowhere, putting the world on pause and opening up to the viewer and providing some nifty choreography in the process.
Nothing is too harmful in High School Musical. It’s pop fluff intended for kids stuck between Dora the Explorer and Gossip Girl. Consider it a bonus that it’s tolerable, if not fun, for the rest of us as well.
High School Musical Blu-ray Review
The High School Musical: Remix Edition Blu-ray release pairs the film with a bunch of relevant and fun bonus features. The film gets a stellar widescreen 1080p high definition transfer with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The primary audio track belts it out in Dolby 5.1 Uncompressed with supporting tracks in English, French and Spanish in 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles can also be viewed in all three languages. A sing-along mode lets viewers watch the film with subtitled tunes.
“Bringing it All Together: The Making of High School Musical” gives an abbreviated yet all-encompassing view of the film’s backstage. The nine-minute featurette focuses largely on the choreography. Those who like to bop along with the music will enjoy the how-to section that walks through some moves for “Bop to the Top.” The red carpet rolls out at the DVD premiere highlighted in “The Hollywood Premiere.” If nothing “A High School Reunion” explores the hype machine surrounding the film, combining cast chit chat with headlines and tour footage. There’s even more dancing with the Disney Channel Dance-Alongs footage. Finally, there’s music videos for five songs.