Following the phenomenal success of the original High School Musical on The Disney Channel two years ago, which was further cemented by the equally popular made for TV High School Musical 2 last year, the decision to bring the third and (supposedly) final chapter of the HSM trilogy to the big screen as a theatrical release was still a risky one for Disney.
As evidenced by this summer’s dismal ratings flop reality series (High School Musical: Get in the Picture), not all things HSM are sure things. However, with the chart-topping box office returns this past weekend of High School Musical 3: Senior Year, all has been righted in the world, this world that will continue to be gripped (at least for the immediate future) in the throes of Wildcat fever.
But how does HSM3 stack up to its predecessors? Not too shabbily, as a matter of fact. While the by-now tried-and-true HSM formula (Troy and Gabriella once again face teen angst-y problems that may rip their true love apart, Sharpay schemes to keep her self-deluded stardom on the rise, all is made happy through peppy pop songs and delirious dance numbers) is very much apparent … so much so that if there is a HSM4 (as rumored), I suspect it will collapse into self-parody.
Nevertheless, by the time the diplomas are handed out in a frenzied finale, director/choreographer Kenny Ortega and screenwriter Peter Barsocchini will have you as wrapped up in the celebration as much as if it was your own kin standing there in cape and gown.
Click here to continue reading my Toon Talk review of High School Musical 3 on LaughingPlace.com.
UPDATE: High School Musical 3: Senior Year is now available on DVD and Blu-rayfrom Amazon.com.