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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (review)

It’s not Grease — the hundreds of six-year-olds screaming at an ear-piercing decibel at the screening I attended is an excellent indication of how much younger the High School Musical franchise skews. But Disney’s move to the big screen for its third installment is also an excellent indication of how enormously popular the movies are… and with good reason. All these all-singing, all-dancing high-schoolers are downright adorable, and without being annoying about it, either, which is perhaps the series greatest achievement, that even the anti-schmaltz, anti-bullshit cynic that I am does not want to strangle each and every one of them — I want to hug them. When I was in high school, I’d have been hiring hitmen to take out the likes of Troy Bolton (Zac Efron: Hairspray) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens: Thunderbirds): he’s a star basketball play and a star of the school’s drama program; she’s genius-level brilliant and the other star of the drama gang; they’re both gorgeous and popular and nice, which clearly would have marked them for death. Oh noes! How will they tolerate being separated after senior year, when she goes to Stanford and he goes to the University of Albuquerque? Which of their fellow stage students will win the coveted scholarship to Julliard? Perhaps bursting into song at regular intervals to express their adolescent angst will help! Yes, the songs themselves are simplistic, at best, but they are catchy, and the accompanying choreography is, I must admit, dazzling. Basketball as dance? Pretty darn brilliant.


MPAA: rated G

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
  • stryker1121

    I actually enjoy “I Want It All,” that catchy duet between Ryan and Sharpei (sp). Oh the shame! The shame I tells ya!

  • e

    Living in the city, I never got why high school musical was set in Albuquerque (I’m not generally a stickler like this, but thats the correct spelling of my hometown.) I think it’s filmed in Utah. I suppose it could be Albuquerque’s go to use as a random southwestern town thats fun to say, I’m looking at you bugs bunny.

  • MaryAnn

    Albuquerque

    It was just a typo. Sorry. I fixed it.

    Lots of movies are shot in one place but set in another. In this case, perhaps the filmmakers wanted to avoid any mental associations (conscious or unconscious) on the part of the viewer with Mormonism, which might not be avoidable if the series were set in Salt Lake City, where it was shot.

    I’ve never been to either Albuquerque or SLC, but I’m sort of astonished that one could substitute for the other. (Perhaps it doesn’t work for those who know either or both areas.)

  • E

    Having not actually seen the high school musicals, I couldn’t tell you. New Mexico has made an effort to attract larger productions, for both tv and film, mainly through tax credits. So it’s not new to have something filmed here for somewhere else (Tucson many times). But it’s weird in reverse, which is probably normal to New Yorkers seeing Vancouver on their screens.

    Breaking Bad is filmed here, and set in Albuquerque, as well as In Plain Sight. While Crash the Tv series (which i read is terrible), is filmed here but set in LA. I think the difference between west and east coast, is spacing. Much more flat, wide open space here, even within cities (fewer skyscrapers), so as long as you have that, details aren’t as important for an audience.

  • blake

    These things are so popular over here we now have our own, it’s called “Britannia High”.

    Now, look, I enjoyed Grease 2, more than the original,and even I thought Britannia High was kak.

    American producer types–STOP MAKING THESE!
    And if you do…
    Please don’t send them our way, I have a very low tolerance for normal teenagers – let alone, all singing and dancing, smiling constantly, jumping in the air types of teenager.

  • Paul

    I was sitting around having dinner in a mom and pop place and they were showing a movie about American teenagers, but dubbed into Chinese so I couldn’t hear the dialogue. I glanced at it everyonce in awhile, certain that it was probably that Brady Bunch movie that I never got around to seeing, because it was so wholesome and 1970’s looking; it wasn’t until a big musical scene that I realized it was probably High School Musical, 1, 2, or 3. How would I know which?

  • MaryAnn

    Well, duh: Was it sophmore year, junior year, or senior year? That’s how you’d know.

    Actually, it doesn’t really matter which movie it was. They’re pretty much the same.

  • shoop

    Actually, there is no “sophomore year.” The first one is junior year, the second is the summer before senior year, and 3, as the title indicates, is senior year. Another way to tell: how orange is Ashley Tisdale’s (Sharpay’s) skin? If bright orange, it must be either 2 or 3. So… if it’s largely set in the high school, and Ms. Tisdale’s skin is a normal color, you’re watching the first one. If it’s set at a posh country club during the summer and Ms. Tisdale has orange skin, you’re watching #2. If we’re back at the high school, but Ms. Tisdale has the orange skin AND a slightly adjusted nose, you’re watching 3. Got it?

  • MaryAnn

    Holy crap, you know way too much about *HSM*! :->

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