Sunday, April 08, 2007

High School Musical

It's about time I ripped into this one.

My (a bit less than four-year-old) daughter has been watching this at her daycare since about the middle of last year. It's been the source of some amusing songs as she figures out the lyrics using her vocabulary, e.g.:

The real lyrics: It's hard to believe
that I didn't see

Her lyrics: Believe to believe
under the sea

Enough of Kids Say the Darndest Things (or Old Black Comedians Never Shut the Hell Up) - my daughter got a DVD of High School Musical amongst her 40,000 christmas presents.

So, I've now seen it about a dozen times at least, I only watched it all the way through from start to finish last week.

A lot of people call this the modern Grease. There are some parallels: it's set in a high school; it's a love story between two people from different cliques; it's a musical. However, there are also some important differences: HSM's stars are actually teenagers (or thereabouts); it's Disney, so there is no sex at all; I wasn't forced to sing a medley of the songs at intermediate, so I don't feel like blowing my brains out every time I hear one.

The plot is . . . well, it's a musical, so the plot's pretty much irrelevant. The acting is fairly unexceptional, aside from Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay Evans, who rules the movie. The singing's pretty good, but not mind-blowingly fantastic.

The messages in the film are cliched but good: embrace difference; work as a team; don't worry about what other people say.

So, I like it, but possibly more through familiarity than anything else. Not really a recommendation then?

Well, if you get a chance to see a stage version of it, go for it. My daughter and I saw Hamilton's Fraser High School's production of High School Musical a couple of weeks ago. It is far better suited to the stage than the screen. There are many subtle differences which make the whole thing work much better, and there really is nothing to compare to songs sung live by a full complement of singers.

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