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October 2008

by Wilson Morales


Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Kenny Ortega
Screenwriter: Peter Barsocchini
Starring: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Matt Prokop, Justin Martin, Jemma McKenzie-Brown
Genre: Musical, Romance


Disney's biggest TV franchise, which has made millions of dollars from CDs, DVDs, concerts, and other items, is now on the big screen with 'High School Musical 3: Senior Year'.

The familiar HSM gang (Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman) makes the cut. There are some new additions (Matt Prokop, Justin Martin, and Jemma McKenzie-Brown) in the film, and despite its cheesy premise, HSM3 is poised to bring its fanbase in droves to the theaters to watch their favorite characters one more time.

As with the previous films, the setting a high school in which the students are gearing up for another musical production. This time it's senior year and they want to make it a special one. There's also the very real anxiety and drama that many seniors face when leaving friends for new ventures.

Troy (Efron), has to decide whether to go with best buddy Chad and attend the U of A, or pursue his dream of attending Julliard. At the same time, their respective girlfriends, Gabriella (Hudgens) and Tayloy McKessie (Coleman) are set to go to prestigious schools such as Stanford and Yale. Unfortunately, Stanford is asking Gabriella to attend early for honors courses. This further complicates Troy's life since his girl may not come back to school or the play. The play is being chereographed by Ryan and his sister Sharpay who would do anything to be the center of attention.

With plenty of musical numbers in the film, including the opening which has Efron singing while playing basketball, director Kenny Ortega has injected some zest to an old formula. Having helmed the previous two small screen efforts, he's done a remarkable job of making the transition to the big screen.

While the plot and the dialogue is set for TV land, Disney knows a hit is in the making and critics are not needed to generate a buzz. Efron is clearly the standout as he gets some of the best songs in the film, but his song with Corbin Bleu in which they sing about the past and future is also a good one. If you've seen the previous films the third will not deviate from the tried and true. Even new viewers won't feel like they're wasting their time.