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High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Deluxe Extended Edition) Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 February 2009
ImageWell, there’s not much else to say about this saga once the first two films are done.  The success of the first two films warranted this third film to be released in theaters nationwide.  It did quite well for a teen drama, grossing over $90 million at the box office in the US.  Most the moviegoers were probably female teenagers going for Zac Efron, and possibly some male teenagers going for Vanessa Hudgens.

“High School Musical 3: Senior Years” is obviously the close of the saga for Disney.  The film wraps up the gangs final year of high school.  Gabriella (Hudgens) is still together with Troy (Efron).  She has been accepted into Stanford, with the possibility of an early honors program acceptance on the way.  Of course no one knows of her early program other than best friend, Taylor (Monique Coleman).  After winning back-to-back basketball championships, Troy is recruited by Albuquerque State to play basketball.  However, both Troy and Gabriella are having doubts about moving on.  It is only natural for high-school students like Gabriella and Troy to be afraid of the future.  They have friends, love and success in high school.  The future is uncertain and scary.

Meanwhile, the gang is forced into the final school musical, which is based on the final weeks of senior year.  The music is once again being composed by Kelsi (Rulin) and choreographed by Ryan (Grabeel).  Sharpay still hasn’t learned to share the stage and is destined to ruin Troy and Gabriella’s perfect song number.  At the start of rehearsals, Darbus, the drama club professor, informs Kelsi, Sharpay, Ryan and yes, Troy that they are up for a scholarship to the Julliard School of Music.  However, only one of them can get the scholarship.

Troy begins to doubt his future as a basketball star at Albuquerque State.  Gabriella doesn’t want to leave Troy behind.  They even know the exact distance between Albuquerque and Stanford.  I believe it was 1,053 miles.

The rest of the film plays out slowing.  As the audience we know where the story is going, we just want it to get there.  The musical numbers in the film are so-so.  They are not as catchy as most Disney films, but are better than the first film’s musical numbers.  “The Boys Are Back” has some punch to it.

Eventually, Troy finds out that Gabriella was accepted to the early honors program and tells her that he doesn’t want to be the thing that holds her back.  One musical number later and time has fast-forwarded to Gabriella’s house all packed up and her and her mom driving off to Northern California.  The deal is that Gabriella would miss the final school musical, but would come back for Senior Prom and Graduation.  However, plans change once she gets to Stanford.  She calls Troy and tells him that she can’t have her some in and out of her life.  She cannot handle coming back to Albuquerque at all.  Hopelessly depressed, Troy takes off to think.  The rest of the film is the only real interesting part, so I won’t spoil it for you. Even with the lack of an interesting story, the film could have still been great if the musical numbers with kick butt.  Unfortunately, they were not.  Perhaps the teens like them, but adults will find no value in the film.  Other than vocals, my biggest problem with film number three is that there are not early honors programs that would start while the candidates were still in high school.  Sorry, but that just doesn’t happen.  They may start in the summer session of a few weeks before normal freshmen year, but not during the end of senior year of high school.

The video is once again presented in a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode.  The transfer is better than and worse than the original film.  The second “High School Musical” still remains the best image transfer.  In this third film, the contrast is oversaturated in order to present vivid colors.  The colors are lush and beautiful.  However, the side effect of crushed blacks is too much to bear.  There are no details available in the blacks.  Shadow delineation is non-existent.  The blob is either black or bright.  Gabriella’s hair constantly looks like a black blob.  The skintones are decent, but there is a lack of texture visible.  Details are good.  The many shots of plants and trees display clearly visible branches and individual leaves.

The audio is better than the first film.  Disney gives us a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.  The dialogue is always audible.  Largely, the mix is front heavy with ambient sounds spreading into the rear channels.  Localization is poor, but a few of the song numbers have good envelopment.  “The Boys are back” presents the best use of the sound field.  The LFE is sparse, but kicks in during a few of the song numbers.  Ultimately, the dynamics are unbalanced.  The bass frequencies overshadow the high frequencies at times.  Once again, the vocal talents of the actors have not improved.  All three films contain tremendous Melodyne and Auto-Tune correction.  It is about all I can hear when they start “singing.”  Sorry Zac, Vanessa, Sharpay – stick to acting.

“High School Musical 3” is presented in a three-disc deluxe extended edition.  The first disc is the Blu-ray disc, which contains the film and special features.  “Senior Awards” is a look at the typical awards presented to seniors at the end of their high-school career.  “New Cast Profiles” takes a look at the new students to join the cast of “High School Musical 3.”  The BD-Live function of the disc allows you to post your own yearbook photos.  “Cast Goodbyes” covers the main cast members’ thoughts on their time as “High School Musical” stars.  There are a few deleted scenes, which don’t offer much.  The bloopers section is quite uninspiring.  There is a Sing-Along track, as per usual.  “Night of Nights” has the cast members talking about the choreography of the dances.  “It’s All in the Dress” is a featurette on costume design.

The second disc in the collection is the standard DVD version of the film, allowing those without Blu-ray players to still buy the Blu-ray version of the film for upgrade later.  The third disc is the standard Disney Digital Copy of the film.

“High School Musical” was a great trilogy for the Disney Corporation.  Sadly, it is not going to stand the test of time.  It is already cheesy and somewhat annoying.  Still, teenagers will find it charming.  The video quality has its ups and downs, and the audio quality is fairly good.  Still, this disc is only for you if you have teenagers or youngsters.

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