Archive for the ‘High School Musical 4’ 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.
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