Archive for the ‘High School Musical 3: Senior Year’ Category

Disney Talk – High School Wasn’t Meant to Last Forever

March 8, 2009

Just when we thought it was all over, the “High School Musical” mania is back for fourths.

By Blake

Originally posted March 8, 2009.

***SPOILER WARNING***
This article reveals plot details/spoilers/endings about High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

Well, here I am on the day that I was supposed to be writing a High School Musical farewell article, highlighting the franchise’s impact on the entertainment industry and giving the series a much-deserved meaningful goodbye. No joke, I had this article planned out for about two weeks.

However, something occurred this past Wednesday, March 4, 2009, that altered what I would be writing about. A very important announcement was made by the Walt Disney Company. An announcement that I’m not too sure I agree with. An announcement that will – once again – take over families’ television sets with an entirely new round of HSM-related mania.

What’s the big news? High School Musical 4 is coming.

Disney announced on Wednesday that High School Musical 4 will debut on Disney Channel (not in theaters) in 2010 and will feature a “love triangle” between students at the familiar East High and the unfamiliar West High.

Since Troy (Zac Efron), Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), and the rest of the Wildcats from the first three films graduated in High School Musical 3: Senior Year and the plot that Disney released doesn’t involve anything about Troyella in college, it’s safe to say that the well-known characters from the first three films will not be returning in High School Musical 4. That’s not to say that they won’t appear in a few cameos (they might, but they might not), they certainly won’t be the main characters this time around. The end of the third film did reveal that Sharpay would be returning to East High to help work in the drama department, though it is unknown at this time if Ashley Tisdale will be appearing in the fourth film.

So, if the already-established Wildcats are off in college, who’s this fourth film going to be about? Well, there were three new sophomore characters that were introduced in Senior Year – Jimmie “The Rocket” Zara played by Matt Prokop, Tiara Gold played by Jemma McKenzie-Brown, and Donnie Dion played by Justin Martin – and they’re likely to reprise their roles in High School Musical 4. However, a United Kingdom article reported that as of February 17, McKenzie-Brown’s father hadn’t yet been approached by Disney concerning his daughter returning in the fourth film, and that was just a week before the announcement for the fourth movie was made. Does Disney have plans for an entirely different cast, with no returning student characters at all? I suppose that the East High teachers – such as Mrs. Darbus the drama teacher and Coach Bolton (the basketball coach and Troy’s dad) – will return, but you never know.

From left: Jemma McKenzie-Brown as Tiara Gold, Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay Evans, and Lucas Grabeel as Ryan Evans in High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
I really don’t know how to respond to this burst of news. In the back of my head I did think Disney would probably want to make another High School Musical film eventually, but I guess I just didn’t think they would really do it. But they are. And it’s not that I’m totally 100% opposed to that – I’m all for a good, old-fashioned Disney musical. It’s not the actual idea of a new HSM movie that I dislike, but it’s the continuation of a brilliant story that capped off in stellar fashion back in October that has me concerned. High School Musical 3: Senior Year was what every series finale should be aiming for, as it wrapped up its entire series’ story by culminating together the characters, music, and essence of its spirit with such an incredible theme that not only nicely concluded its trilogy but also spoke on an emotional level that to continue it might reduce the efforts of the entire film. It was all about saying goodbye; about departing from those you love. Now does none of that even matter?

Though, I digress. I’ll certainly be tuning into High School Musical 4 with my family come 2010, and Disney probably will produce another great show-stopping extravaganza, but the idea of changing gears and engaging the story around an entirely different cast makes me a little nervous. It will probably turn out to be a good movie, but I guess the human fear of change has me unsettled about the news. Needless to say, we’re going to be going through another round of HSM hoopla all over again. And I’m OK with that. I think that in the way Disney sees things, it doesn’t completely matter if a sequel lives up to or attains the same positive reviews as its original. Or at least that’s not the only thing that matters. Of course the story plays a major part into creating a film, but I think Disney’s primary goal throughout their long history has been to entertain families. And whether critics like it or not, the High School Musical phenomenon does just that.

I’ve never really taken the subject of why Disney makes so many sequels into consideration until now, but now I’m realizing that it doesn’t matter if hard-core reviewers or audience members that claim these films to be their own disapprove of Disney’s many sequels. Disney’s made so many of them by now that the public has taken a liking to make fun of them excessively. But the truth of the matter is, these sequels, no matter how redundant or unneeded they may seem, attain the level of entertainment – for their target audience, not necessarily reviewers – that Disney is known for, keeps old characters fresh in the sight of new generations, and make sure some of these classic stories don’t fade away.

At first I was completely opposed to the thought of another High School Musical film. I still don’t think a fourth installment is necessarily needed, nor do I think it will progress the theme of saying goodbye that the second and third films did such a great job of conveying. But it will keep the musical genre alive for a little bit longer (hey, all you Jonas Brothers fans) and will keep millions of families entertained. And that’s what it’s all about.

And as for that nostalgic look back at the first three High School Musical productions? Stay tuned . . .

By Blake; posted March 8, 2009. All images (C) Disney.

DVD Review – "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" Extended Edition DVD Review

February 23, 2009

The international musical phenomenon of the decade concluded with a spectacular grand finale in October, but its DVD leaves room for improvement.

By Blake

Originally posted February 22, 2009.

Soundtrack release, movie release, international mania, DVD release with several bonuses, more mania, special edition DVD release with more bonuses, even more mania, sequel.

That’s been the pattern for both the first two High School Musical films, released in January 2006 and August 2007, respectively. As the third movie, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, makes its way through its release process, that pattern seems to be continuing yet again. The soundtrack was released on October 21, 2008, the movie was released (in theaters this time) on October 24, international mania followed, and now we’re up to the film’s DVD release. Although there’s definitely more mania ahead, I don’t know if we can expect a sequel or not. And as for another DVD release? Probably, especially when you look at the contents of the new DVD, which was released last Tuesday, February 17, 2009.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year Extended Edition DVD

Total approx. disc running time: About 180 minutes (about 3 hours) (includes bonus features)
Highlight of Disc: Feature film
Highlight Runner-Up: “Cast Goodbyes” featurette
First of all, the movie itself is sensational. All of the East High Wildcats return for thirds and are getting excited as the milestone events of their senior year approach, including the prom, graduation, and preparing their own musical (which the audience gets to see this time). All in the midst of this, each of them must decide where their future lies as they prepare for college, a concept that each of the six main characters Troy (Zac Efron), Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale), Ryan (Lucas Grabeel), Chad (Corbin Bleu), and Taylor (Monique Coleman) finds very pressuring and uncertain. Each of them is unsure whether to stick together or to follow their own individual desires, while at the same time staying true to themselves. Of course, there are a few cheesy moments, but overall the film deserves its spot on the silver screen as opposed to the television set format its two predecessors had. The music and dance sequences are on a more vast scale, the characters reach new heights in the depth of their personalities, and the emotion of the film is on an entirely different level than the two other High School Musical films. These components make Senior Year blossom into much more than the small Disney Channel franchise that High School Musical once was.

Zac Efron as Troy Bolton and Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella Montez in High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

Release

However, the great movie that’s also the show-stopping conclusion (for now, at least) to the High School Musical phenomenon arrives on DVD with no real excitement, not even on its two-disc Extended Edition. I gave in to the Extended Edition version, thinking I would be getting two discs’ worth of bonus features. However, just like with November’s release of Wall-E, I was tricked into believing something that wasn’t. Here, two discs means one disc for the movie with a few bonuses and one disc for the digital copy of the movie for your iPod, not two discs of material. With Wall-E, that was OK because in total it was a three-disc set (I was thinking there would be three discs of material, instead there were two). However, with High School Musical 3: Senior Year, the set is labeled as a two-disc compilation, and technically it is. Unfortunately for consumers, with the introduction of the DisneyFile digital copies, purchasing a DVD has now turned into a question of what we’re really buying. Which makes me uncertain as to whether next month’s release of Bolt will turn out the same way.

Anyway, the bottom line here is that there’s the regular, standard version of High School Musical 3: Senior Year, which includes one disc that features the movie and one bonus feature, and there’s High School Musical 3: Senior Year Extended Edition, which includes one disc that features the movie with slightly more bonus features and one disc for the digital copy of the movie.

Bonus Features

The one bonus feature that’s included on both versions is also the most worthwhile: “Cast Goodbyes” (about six minutes) is a featurette that includes interviews with the cast about not only their characters graduating from East High, but also on themselves graduating from High School Musical. Emotional and teary, I’m glad Disney included this in the set – it was definitely the highlight of the bonuses and to see how the performers of this wild phenomenon said goodbye to three years of their life was something really special.

Zac Efron (who plays Troy Bolton) and Vanessa Hudgens (who plays Gabriella Montez) on the set of High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
That’s the only bonus feature that the standard DVD offers, though the Extended Edition includes several other bonuses. Though to be called “Extended,” there’s nothing really added on to the movie itself at all. I was half-expecting a new musical number like the one that made High School Musical 2’s DVD “extended,” but here I suppose the word really means the inclusion of deleted scenes (which, played together, are about six minutes). All together there are eight deleted scenes, most of which seem too short to even consider being deleted at all. The most memorable, though, is one where Zeke asks Sharpay to the prom.

Continuing through the bonuses are additional bloopers (about three minutes), which are always a pleasurable inclusion.

Next is Disney’s Song Selection, which allows viewers to play all the songs in the film consecutively or by themselves. If you choose to play them all, they’ll total about forty-eight minutes. Personally I prefer to skip to my favorites instead of watching them all.

Lastly, under Backstage Disney, is the aforementioned Cast Goodbyes, as well as two additional featurettes focusing on the prom. The first, called “Night of Nights” (about seven minutes) mostly involves the rehearsals and hard work that went into the choreography of the “A Night to Remember” and “Can I Have This Dance” numbers. The second featurette is called “It’s All in the Dress” (about three minutes) and deals with the costume design of the prom dresses for Gabriella, Taylor, Kelsi, and Sharpay. When played together, these three featurettes offer about fifteen solid minutes of behind-the-scenes entertainment from several different areas of the film as a sort of mini-making-of that should please fans of the movie.

From left: Corbin Bleu as Chad, Monique Coleman as Taylor, Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella, and Zac Efron as Troy in the “Can I Have Dance” number from High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
The absence of more similar featurettes hint that another DVD release is on the way in the future, possibly with an additional disc of bonuses that would further continue these entertaining featurettes. We can hope for an audio commentary, too, though that’s unlikely. Another DVD release would certainly make sense, especially since the first two High School Musical films did exactly this, and it would follow the aforementioned cycle that appears to be patterning with these films. However, for the record, no announcement, confirmation, or declination of a future DVD version of High School Musical 3: Senior Year has been released by Disney.

Menus

The menus of the Extended Edition are themed to the East High yearbook, and with all of the pictures, “autographs,” and other items placed on the screen, it’s often difficult to see where your selection icon is. This is primarily the case with the bonus features sub-menu, where the underline that serves as your remote control selection is red, and the background is a different shade of red.

Wrapping It Up

High School Musical 3: Senior Year is probably a film that Disney fans or families that have kids in the elementary- and middle-school stage will be wanting to have on their shelves. If you want to know the truth, the smart thing would be to hold off about a year to see if another, more elaborate release of the film is coming. However, that decision to hold off is likely not to happen due to the impatient nature of today’s generation, including myself. For now, you’re better off with the standard, single-disc version of High School Musical 3: Senior Year. The two additional featurettes and deleted scenes included on the Extended Edition are nice, but I don’t think they justify purchasing the more expensive option, unless you really think you’re going to use to the iPod copy of the movie that’s also included on the Extended Edition. I’d advise the standard version – you’ll get the great movie, as well as the better bonus feature, for a reasonably low price, especially if buy it at a discount store like Wal-Mart or Target. Because High School Musical 3: Senior Year really is a special film, and this time it’s not the start of something new, but the end of something great.

How do I rank High School Musical 3: Senior Year Extended Edition DVD? (Bolded is my choice.)
Very good movie + good bonus features =
  • Aaaah!
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

High School Musical 3: Senior Year Extended Edition DVD will most likely please: Disney Fans – Musical Fans – Kids (ages 5-7) – Older Kids (ages 8-10) – Tweens (ages 11-13) – Teenagers – Parents

By Blake; posted February 22, 2009. All images (C) Disney.

Disney Talk – Sneak Peek of "High School Musical 3"

January 17, 2008

Some details about the Wildcats’ upcoming big screen adventure have been released.

By Blake

Originally posted January 17, 2008.

I’ll be brief, because there’s really not a lot to say about this topic other than what Disney has JUST released about the upcoming sequel in the ever-popular High School Musical franchise. This time, however, the film will not debut as a Disney Channel Original Movie, but under the Walt Disney Pictures label. Meaning, yes, it will be a THEATRICAL RELEASE. On January 14, 2008, Disney officially announced that the film’s six main stars (including Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, and Monique Coleman) are all signed on for the next round of HSM.

And, according to Disney, the plot will surround Troy and Gabriella getting ready for college and setting up a spring musical. So, as it turns out, we thankfully WON’T be seeing the rumored “Haunted High School Musical” Halloween-themed film that was originally in the works.

And, if the release date isn’t pushed back, the movie will be released theatrically October 24, 2008. If this is true, then that will be one of the biggest weeks for the Walt Disney Company ever. Why? Well, not only will HSM3 be released, but just four days later the highly-anticipated, direct-to-DVD movie Tinker Bell, where the classic Disney fairy finally earns her voice, will be released. Additionally, just a few weeks prior to that, Sleeping Beauty will be released for the first time in five years on DVD, with a hoopla of bonus material to fill up two discs. With Sleeping Beauty, HSM3, and Tinker Bell all consecutively, October 2008 is going to be one month of entertainment that you won’t want to miss.

By Blake; posted January 17, 2008. All images (C) Disney.