High School Musical (2006 TV Movie)
Abandon cynicism, all ye who enter here.
24 September 2006
"High School Musical" is corny... it's about as realistic as "The Bash Street Kids"... it's never going to be mistaken for a classic...

...and I adored it.

Just as anybody watching "Prison Break" and expecting it to be "The Glass House" or "Oz" is grasping entirely the wrong end of the stick, so anyone watching this expecting "Jesus Christ Superstar" will be inevitably disappointed. True, the songs aren't exactly Menken & Ashman; yes, some of the singing sounds treated; and for sure, some of the lip-syncing (especially Vanessa Anne Hudgens') is Hall of Fame poor. But everyone proclaiming this the Worst Musical Ever really needs to take a look at something truly inept like "From Justin To Kelly," and then come back and apologise to everyone involved with this TV movie; unlike that misbegotten vehicle, "High School Musical" overcomes its limitations and emerges as what it wants to be - a charming little diversion.

Zac Efron and Miss Hudgens make up for their involvement with "Summerland" and "Thunderbirds" respectively, but Alyson Reed as the cellphone-hating drama teacher and Ashley Tisdale as the egotistical would-be scheming ice queen of the school are the standouts (I say would-be because the movie's biggest roadblock in the way of our heroes isn't actually placed by her); the movie's extremely eager to please and doesn't have a mean bone in its body, and Kenny Ortega's improved as a director since the stodgy "Newsies" - this is great fun throughout, and the characters are likable and sympathetic (and, it has to be said, very attractive, which is hardly a minus for this kind of thing).

Its message about it being okay for people to be who they are may be obvious, but it's harmless and appealing - it's aimed squarely at younger audiences, but not all older viewers will be squirming... I say not all because my older sister is 38 (two years older than me) and likes "Grey's Anatomy," but if it was a choice between an hour with boring old Meredith Grey and watching Troy and Gabrielle breaking into "Breaking Free," I know which one I'd go for. "High School Musical"'s a delight, which is more than can be said for quite a few Disney movies made for the BIG screen lately.

This could be the start of something big indeed.
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