I must confess that I wasn't really sure if I wanted to see the third installment of the High School Musical franchise since there are better movies to see. I wasn't sure at first since the first two movies were free to watch on the Disney Channel and yet I asked myself, "Why does Disney want to make more money when it already created a phenomenal in terms of the actors, music and ideas?" If you get my drift, then you know that High School Musical not only brought out the relationship of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens but at the same time created concerts from ice rinks to national tours where most of the actors performed on stage and a reality show on ABC was created.
But another part of me wanted to see the films because of the characters we can relate to from Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), the athlete with a heart of gold and a talent for singing and acting. Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens), the smart Latina who's caught in the middle along with choosing what's right in her mind and in her heart. Even the snarley character Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) is someone that most people can relate to in which she isn't a "bad person" but wants everything to herself. Yet, there is a character that most people can relate to. Plus, the music is rockin'.
"High School Musical 3" is the last installment for the original cast members (Efron, Hudgens, Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, etc.) where it's senior year and everything is winding down before graduation as the seniors must do something together as a team one last time. That's when the school's pianist Kelsi (Olesya Rulin) writes down everybody's name on a piece of paper for the upcoming school play where she fears that Sharpay will hog up the fun like usual, but it leaves all the other seniors in an uproar due to the fact that they have big commitments from yearbook editorial, college applications, prom, final exams and other stuff to get out. But it's Gabriella and Troy that convince the others to do so. Speaking of Troy and Gabriella, time is winding down for their relationship since Gabriella has been accepted to Stanford University while Troy has been undecided where he wants to go and do since everybody from his father (Bart Johnson) to Chad (Corbin Bleu) pressure him to be in basketball at the University of Albuquerque; yet Troy has his mind set in theater since he loves to sing. Gabriella is ready to let go, however, it's Troy who doesn't want to say goodbye to the best thing that happened to him at East High.
While the original characters are worried about high school aftermath, new characters are introduced. Jimmie "Rocketman" Zara (Matt Prokop), Donny Dion (Justin Martin) and Tiara Gold (Jemma McKenzie Brown) are the latest additions where they're recycled versions of Troy (Jimmie), Chad (Donny) and Sharpay (Tiara). Jimmie idolizes Troy Bolton like a brother and hero while Donny is Jimmie's best friend and sidekick. Tiara is a transfered student from London, England who serves as a personal assistant to Sharpay and has her eyes on something close to Sharpay's heart that I will not say in this review.
While most people care for the characters, the breakout of any musical is the music. With High School Musical 3 in a bigger production compared to the first two, everything is much more dazzler and wild. Some of the songs from HSM 3 like "Now Or Never," the film's first song at the basketball game; "Right Here, Right Now" is a duet between Troy and Gabriella; "I Want it All" is Sharpay's second bitch anthem theme where it plays in the tradition of a Bob Fosse production with bright lights and high energy; "The Boys are Back" takes place in a junkyard where Troy and Chad sing; The song "A Night To Remember" is probably the funnest song in the film itself where it shows the kids singing about prom.
Yes, I love the songs! In terms of acting, I confess that Zac Efron was better this time around compared to High School Musical 2 where he actually has spoken words to make him convincing rather than a guy that nods and show off his perfect body. Vanessa Hudgens brings the better version of her character unlike the first sequel where all she did was squeal with delight and sounded like a bratty teenager; she sounds like a strong and confident chica (girl). The breakout star in all the High School Musical movies is no other than Ashley Tisdale's as the snobby Sharpay Evans in which despite the fact that her character was less this time around, she manages to make me grin and wonder what will happen next. Unlike most of the other actors from the previous films, Tisdale is the one that never breaks character and will remain my true favorite wildcat.
High School Musical 3 isn't a four star or three and a half star movie to go around, as it was already bashed by moviegoers (fans and non fans of the series) and critics. Most critics such as Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) would rather watch a movie where America should crash and burn while Richard Corliss (Time) would prefer the old musicals such as "Mary Poppins".
I, on the other hand, had fun watching this film. It doesn't beat the original flick, but it is better than HSM 2 as I said that third time would be a charm, and it was. And with this being the last installment for Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Monique Coleman, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Olesya Rulin, KayCee Stroh (Martha Cox), Ryne Sanborn (Jason Cross), and Chris Warren (Zeke Baylor), I congratulate the actors where they will move on to bigger and better things in their entertainment careers.