Monday, August 20, 2007

High School Musical 2

Well, they're back. It was inevitable. Zac Effron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, and Corbin Bleu reprise their roles from 2006's smash hit. High School Musical was the highest selling album of the year, and one of the most watched made for TV movies of all time. Despite my elitist moniker, it was not terrible. I wish I could say the same for the second one.

In the first one, Troy (Effron), and Gabriella (Hudgens) are a jock and a nerd respectively. Their two paths cross through music, and they end up stunning everybody by taking the leads in the school musical. At first this was much to the dismay of Troy's teammates- including Chad (Bleu), as well as the queen of the school- the unfortunately named Sharpay (Tisdale). Of course in the end everyone was happy, and it ended in an epic school wide song and dance number. The sequel starts several months later as school is letting out for the summer. The whole gang gets a job at a local country club where Sharpay, and her brother Ryan (Louis Grabeel) happen to be members. Sharpay tries to break up Troy and Gabriella's blossoming romance by helping get Troy promoted, and giving Gabriella a hard time. Troy then has to choose between his friends, and a potential scholarship from his new upper-crust connections.

The plot and the acting are awful (but then again as they were in the first one). This is generally acceptable in a musical, since it's often simply a vehicle for the music. This is clearly the case for this movie, as the first musical number starts up less than a minute after the movie begins. The problem is that the music just is not any good this time around. The first one at least had a strong batch of memorable songs. This time, they are forgettable at best, and most are worse than that.

In most musicals, the songs are integrated into the movie, and least have some relevance (i.e. the musical within the musical in the first one). At the very least, the music fits, and the people actually appear to be singing. In High School Musical 2, the music and vocals are so heavily processed, there can be absolutely no conception that they are actually singing on the spot. I actually found myself asking whether everyone could here the synthesized band, or just the people singing.

The bad acting isn't limited just to the singing. Hudgens gives an all smiles performance, begging the question: is Gabriella that naive, or is she just chronically happy? Effron, seemingly too wrapped up in his new role as a tween icon, conveys absolutely no conflict in this role. Tisdale does all right as Sharpay, but I have a feeling that's not a terribly difficult note to hit. I guess it's not all their fault, given lines like "She's got more moves than an Octopus in a wrestling match." Ugh.

Like so many movies in this genre, it climaxes in ::gasp:: a talent show. If only that's all conflicts were resolved in real life. Of course everyone makes up, and learns a valuable lesson by the end. Stay true to yourself, friends are important, etc. Everybody is happy, until High School Musical 3 that is. This movie wasn't good, but I'm sure it will be a hit among the same demographic as the first one. I would feel bad for the people stuck in this schlock. I would wager that they're going to be doomed to spending an entire career in Disney Channel movies (not everybody can break out like Shia Lebeouf). I need to stress that I would feel bad, except for the fact that these roles will probably lead to many albums, and many High School Musicals to come.

Watch the Trailer


No comments: