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Pattaya Daily News

26 January 2009 :: 14:01:43 pm 22144

High School Musical: Senior Year: Mostly Harmless

High School Musical: Senior Year is not about complex visuals, inventive editing, or daring cinematic vision, but excessive simplicity. This vigorous and up-tempo musical, creates a bonding way to celebrate being young and in love and part of a group. It also proves that something bigger doesn?t always mean better, especially when it comes to a pop culture phenomenon built on unabashed innocence and a tribute to abstinence education.?
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The plot, if not nonsensical, is simple, to the extreme. In their final months at East High, in Albuquerque, sweethearts Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) face the awful prospect of going to college a thousand miles apart. King heartthrob singer Troy is best friend with the Chad (Corbin Bleu), who himself is dating class overachiever Taylor (Monique Coleman). Now that it’s senior year, with graduation approaching, the kids have to face their futures, while planning for the spring musical, the prom and graduation. Troy’s dad Jack (Bart Johnson) assumes he’ll attend his alma mater on a basketball scholarship but Troy has other ideas and some other offers. As the adorable couple ponder their future, basketball star Troy is torn between going to college on a basketball scholarship and an acting scholarship to Julliard in New York.

This dilemma is complicated by the prospect of separation from true love Gabriella, his eternal leading lady, a supposedly Stanford-bound brain who never opens her mouth unless it will better allow her to smile in a self-conscious manner. The trouble in paradise is that Gabriella has been accepted to Stanford and goes to this one-month early orientation program there that causes her to miss the musical. She’s accepted that they are going to have to say goodbye, but he hasn’t. Then she decides to stay in Stanford, even after the program is over, because she doesn’t want to have to go back to high school, only to leave again. Apparently, she forgets that her final exams are required to get her high school diploma. Pampered aggressive narcissist prima donna Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) is anxious to oust Gabriella from her leading part, so she perpetually tries to break Troy and Gabriella up, and her flaming twin brother Ryan (Lucas Grabeel).

In keeping with the franchise’s consistent issues of overcoming divisive stereotypes, through a mix of impulsive song and dance as part of a performance, its stories and songs have also dealt with themes such as finding your own identity, challenging platitudes, and embracing the value of friendship. And for the most part, that same tradition pretty much continues the third time around. The story raises questions of who we are, what we want, and what we value most. More than just any few weeks, their final days at East High are a time of saying goodbye to what they must leave behind and making the choices that will lead to their futures. As the first step away from a life that has been, up to this point, essentially lived on a predesigned course, their next steps will be about finally having the choice to truly define themselves, their lives, and what they want them to be. Though it is about the past, its reminder of the adventurous dreams they once held as boys is almost a push for both them and us to know that the possibilities for life truly are wide open.

Of course the story line is instantly forgettable. However, the story is not the point when you have 14 musical numbers to squeeze in. At the same time that it is exciting, it is also daunting, confusing, and overwhelming. Most songs are just forgettable, with a heavy synthesizer so that it can obscure the limited singing talent of the cast.

You may seriously doubt songs and acting have much to do with teen life today. Reprising his role as Troy, Efron actually does have some leading-man charisma even though the script forces the character in some awkward scenes, and he still gets a little goofy when he does his solo numbers. Yet while Efron’s still got fine comic timing, the same cannot be said of his castmates. They lose all rhythm when faced with a joke rather than a two-step, and are a bit more limited. The dancing is not that stunning, and the songs are not so catchy. The voices are too thin, the music and lyrics too simplistic, and the production values are too television-oriented.

As far as the story goes, it’s only skin deep. Because this is Disney, it’s probably meant to be a fantasy of what high school is not. The movie give us a false idea of what high school is really like. (Usually jocks goes out with cheerleaders, not the nerd.) No high school in this real world resembles the high school in the movie. No element in it is based in a real-world setting, in today’s time period. The couples cannot have more intimate relationships, and a character or two cannot use drugs, underage drinking cannot be uncommon in this story. That will make you realize everything here is so childish and completely unrealistic. No character here has any idea about real life.There’s no problem so big it can’t be sung or danced away.

Old-fashioned, not in the best sense, the film is mostly harmless. Though thin on plot, High School Musical: Senior Year offers energetic, benign family entertainment. High School Musical: Senior Year is not for everybody. Just think twice before being caught up in the hype because you may feel like blowing up a high school when the credit rolls.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Lifestyle

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