Category Archives: High School Musical 2

High School Musical 2 Nitpicks – The Questions 17+ Million Should be Asking

Okay, so in case you haven’t heard, High School Musical 2 debuted on the Disney Channel last night to 17.4 Million viewers. That is, just so we’re clear, gigantic. In fact, it is the highest rated cable broadcast in American history. These astronomical numbers are, however, only one particular way of measuring the film’s success.

I’ll be honest: I can’t help but analyze this particular film from a critical level. While I know it is designed for pre-teens, and I get that it isn’t supposed to be “good” by my standards, I still want it to make sense. I have to wonder how many of those viewers will be sticking around for encore viewings: will it be deemed a disappointment by so many fans that its staying power won’t last?

But for now, I can’t help but think that the large number of parents forced to sit through High School Musical 2 had to have realized what I did: that this film, especially in its conclusion, just didn’t make any sense. At all. And, well, here’s some questions I had after watching it.

Why did Troy Become Self-Conscious?

In the first High School Musical, it’s Troy who helps Gabrielle through her big number with his humble charm and bravery. So, then, why is it here that he becomes all “Oh, I’m not a singer” and fumbles his way through everything? While I know he also had issues to get over, I’d think he would have solved that.

Why did Troy’s Voice Change?

I actually know the answer to this one: Zac Efron didn’t actually sing in the first film, but decided to actually do so for High School Musical 2. I figure that the hope is that pre-teen fans will just think his voice changed. A lot. I much prefer it, though, to be honest.

How Quickly can these kids learn Music?

Twice in this film the lead characters learned entire songs within seconds of seeing them. It was frustrating not because it was unbelievable, but because it was inconsistent: in some scenes they were reading from sheet music, and in others they didn’t need it at all. Even if they had read sheet music every little while it would have worked for me. But then in the finale, the song was learned in thirty seconds, at most. Just, no.

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Filed under Disney, High School Musical 2, Television

Losing my HSM Virginity: Reviewing and Liveblogging High School Musical 2

I have never watched High School Musical. I have thought about it, perhaps many a time, but never have I actually thought about it in a serious fashion. However, with the sequel airing tonight and being a bit of a cultural phenomenon, I figure I should jump in feet first, if you will.

And, well, jump in I did. I’ll be honest in saying that although I have all sorts of various problems with the film’s construction, High School Musical 2 features some strong choreography, some strong musical numbers and what I can only guess to be a decent continuation of the first film’s successes. And, as a result, it is not a failure of a film by any means. However, I think this is a key area where, rather than poor writing or directing being at fault, it may just be the fault of the original film’s success that we have a frustrating, frustrating piece of filmmaking.

Focusing so much of the film on Zac Efron makes perfect sense from a business perspective: he’s a huge draw in film, he’s a teen heartthrob, and he’s a pretty good dancer. The problem is that Troy is a character who needs to be the movie’s hero, but also display some level of emotional diversity…and Efron didn’t do it. Sure, the writing basically killed him, but Efron is not a star: he is a supporting player.

And there’s the thing: he really is not someone I would peg as a star. I fear for Footloose, the remake in which he is starring, simply because I don’t see how he can do anything beyond his admittedly great dance skills. I just don’t see it happening, because what we saw here was an overwrought and overbearing performance of a character who, in my book, couldn’t be more unlikeable.

The problem is that Troy and Gabriella, the ostensible star-crossed lovers, are one-dimensional and boring. Ryan and Sharpay, heck even the rest of the Wildcats, all seem to at least offer some level of either coherent thought or actual character development. The film’s musical numbers were its highlight, but when the film slowed down to look at Troy and Gabriella’s plot it slowed to a crawl. I liked all of these characters, and felt they were spending time with my least favourite, and with the least compelling in non-musical settings.

But that’s not what this is about, and I won’t deny that it succeeds at being a song-and-dance festival like no other Disney Channel television movie ever before. However, forgive me, but I am just curious as to whether its priorities were in the right place. I’d rather have a musical where Sharpay and Ryan have a meatier role, and it’s less the Zac Efron show. I wonder what a sequel to the film would be like if he hadn’t exploded onto the scene, and if the first film hadn’t been such a monsters success.

Perhaps a better film would have resulted. Regardless, that’s that. Here’s my LiveBlog commentary of the film, for those who want to basically read my every thought. That would render you somewhat insane. I’m okay with that.

9:00pm: It’s East High School, and I’d say it’s summer: mainly because it’s empty and really Kenny G like music is playing. This always, in my view, indicates summer. And there was also an illuminated moon. And…now we’re in a classroom and there’s a really annoying teacher who is…well, it’s kind of annoying.

9:01pm: What do you do when you’re annoyed by a teacher talking about summer? You start a song and dance number. And it appears that Troy and Gabriella (I think that’s their names, I won’t know any more of them) are looking forward to a summer of awkward team love. Meanwhile, their rivals (Sharpay and…Ryan? I don’t know yet) get a far more satisfying verse but unfortunately get shafted in the bridge.

9:04pm: Wow, okay – there’s some rather insane choreography going on here. It’s actually ludicrously complicated.

9:05pm: Troy just said “I gotta make bank.” Sharpay, meanwhile, makes a complete and total fool out of Gabriella.

9:06pm: Holy crap, he totally just branded her! I mean, seriously, could it have been something less obnoxious than a T? That’s unfortunate. Meanwhile, Sharpay hatches the obvious plan to bed Troy in order to establish herself as the Queen of East High while Ryan tries to put on a brave face. And then everyone fances out of the school as we get our first reprise of the opening number. I expect more to follow.

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Filed under Disney, High School Musical 2