STUDIO:  Disney
MSRP:  $19.99
RUNNING TIME:  117 Minutes
Deleted Scenes
Blooper Reel
Night of Nights Featurette
It’s All in the Dress Featurette
Cast Goodbyes

The Pitch

“Okay, we gotta finish up this HSM trilogy.  I mean we can’t just leave them at East High forever.  They have to graduate and move on with their lives.  You know – become adults.”  “Oh, um, yeah – okay.  Sure – OH and let’s release it in THEATERS.  That way we can get the BO take as well as the merchandising.  Yeeeah…yeah, you get it set up, I gotta go call my bookie.”

What, your cafeteria doesn’t do this?

The Humans

Director:  Kenny “I Wish I Was on Broadway” Ortega

Cast:  Zac “Serious Actor” Efron, Vanessa “Looks Great Naked” Hudgens, Ashley “I’m Never Gonna Break Outta These Disney Chains” Tisdale, Lucas “I’m More Talented Than All You Bitches” Grabeel, Corbin “Sacre” Bleu and Monique Coleman.

The Nutshell

Troy, Gabriella and the rest of the Wildcats are in their final year at East High.  College, love and the rest of their lives are staring them in the face.  How will they sort it all out?  With a big, lavish stage show!!

The Lowdown

Every time I watch a new High School Musical movie, I absolutely hate it the first time.  The first one – awful.  Then, for shits n giggles, I let the kiddo watch it.  She LOVED it and I got to watch it about a gajillion more times (and then we bought the soundtrack).  Before too long, it grew on me.  High School Musical 2?  The exact same thing.  Well – sorta.  The movie still sucks but the soundtrack grew on me.  Then we went and saw High School Musical 3 in the theaters and it was probably the longest 90 minutes of my life.  Then, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to buy my daughter the soundtrack for Christmas.  We listened to it another hundred thousand times and then we got the DVD and of course – it ended up growing on me.  That’s when I realized the secret…

High School Musical is the cinematic equivalent of the Stockholm Syndrome.

If ANYTHING deserved to be featured on the List of Dumb, this is it.

Which is why I say that overall it’s not bad at all.  Well, again – 2 was awful.  And yeah, in the big picture, it’s full of empty lessons and set in the most unrealistic high school in the universe.  Obviously, any kid who looks here for any sort of accurate depiction of high school is in for a big disappointment.  But, all that aside, it’s a cute little property that boasts a couple of talented kids and some really fun, catchy songs.

In this, the third (and final) installment, the biggest problem is probably the theatrical release.  Sure there was a bigger budget thrown at it and a lot of things were pumped up for the theater, but it still had “Made for Disney Channel” all over it.  Which, obviously, is fine when you’re watching the Disney Channel – not when you’re sitting in the Cineplex.  And it didn’t help that all the BIG moments of SENIOR YEAR were condensed into an impossibly overstaged school stage show.

But the music worked pretty well (except for “Scream” and “The Boys Are Back” – fucking AWFUL.  The two worst songs in the entire trilogy – those two scenes could have been completely removed from the movie and it wouldn’t have hurt anything – it may have even made it better) and the cast turned in some pretty damn decent work.  Efron and Hudgens do have some really nice chemistry and Ashley Tisdale does fine as Sharpay (still a stupid fucking name).  But that Lucas Grabeel kid has some real talent.  I’m not sure if he’ll go anywhere in Hollywood as a “Movie Star,” but the kid definitely deserves a place on Broadway.  Oh, and as an aside – what the hell is up with Efron’s face?  The kid looks like he’s in pain every time he opens his mouth.  And to watch him sing?  You’d think he was getting punched in the stomach with every note.  He’s like the prettiest emo kid I’ve ever seen.

As far as the arcs, everything works out nice and tidy (if a bit too perfectly and idealistic).  Gabriella goes to Stanford and Troy goes to Berkley to be close to her.  Chad gets a basketball scholarship to University of Albuquerque, Sharpay stays behind to run East High’s drama department and Ryan and Kelsey get scholarships to Juilliard.  Oh, yeah – spoiler alert.

“Dude, if I had any idea that THIS was why you wanted me to put this suit on I never would have.  Please just get the fuck away from me – I need to go take a shower.  Jesus.”

At the end of the day, I guess this would probably be my favorite of the three.  Musically it matured, the cast finally developed a real solid working groove and Kenny Ortega definitely threw the budget into the production value on some of these numbers (“I Want It All” is huge and probably my favorite bit of the whole movie).

So yeah, I guess you could call this a good review.  Stockholm Syndrome indeed.

The Package

I really like the cover art – the red border is bold and stands out really well against the sparkly silver background with the cast doing the signature HSM Jump in their matching red robes.  It’s a good use of color in a surprisingly simple design.

“RAWR!”  That means ‘I love you’ in dinosaur, you know.

The features are fluff.  Deleted scenes that don’t add any insight or context (wait, this is a High School Musical review – never mind on that point), blooper reels that aren’t really that funny and Featurette that you saw too many times on Disney Channel (and they weren’t that interesting then either).  And is it just me, or does putting the Digital Copy of the movie on its own disc seem completely counterproductive?  Make it a download or something.  I dig the whole digi-file concept but it needs to be executed a little better.

OVERALL 7.0 out of 10