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Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (10/24/2008)

Rated G.

Directed by Kenny Ortega (High School Musical 1&2)

Starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Matt Prokop, Justin Martin, Jemma McKenzie-Brown, Olesya Rulin, Bart Johnson, Alyson Reed, Chris Warren Jr., Ryne Sanborn, KayCee Stroh

Todd's Rating: Skip it

Tweeners rejoice…you have a clean, high-quality musical; unfortunately I’m not a tween.

Disney’s “High School Musical” phenomenon leaps onto the big screen in High School Musical 3: Senior Year, in which America’s favorite high school students (Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman) hit their senior year. Amidst a basketball championship, prom and a big spring musical featuring all of the Wildcats, Troy and Gabriella vow to make every moment last as their lifelong college dreams put the future of their relationship in question.

Recently my 10 year old daughter challenged me to an arm wrestling match in front of some of my jr. high guys. What a dilemma - if I lose to a 10 year old girl, I’ll be made fun of without mercy, on the other hand, if I win I’m a jerk for beating my own daughter. I’m facing the same dilemma writing a review for the most popular kid’s musical in history. But I’ll try to be as honest as I can and as nice as possible.

The movie opens with a close-up of a sweaty Zac Efron. I actually heard a girl in front of me say, “oh my gosh, he is so cute.” That was the first time I laughed, rolled my eyes and then looked at my watch. Believe me, there were countless more of those moments over the next hour and a half.

I get that’s it’s a musical and you need to remove any sense of reality, I get that it’s a movie about teenagers but made for tweens, I even get that in this world zits don’t exist, the home team always wins, the pretty boy always gets the pretty girl and all the universities (even Julliard) are fighting over you. All that being said, I found the songs forgettable (even though my kids loved them and were singing along), the choreography was typical and the story was weak.

As cheesy as it is, High School Musical 3 has made the improbable move from The Disney Channel to the big screen and done it impressively. It has found a way to keep its innocence, charm and fun. This is a “Theater Worthy” or “Worth Buying” movie for any tween, but since I’m 35, I’ll say “Skip It.”

Sharpay is a little meaner and her skirts are a little shorter; she sings a song with her brother called, “I Want it All” which is all about materialism and fame. Troy and Gabriella share a kiss after sneaking into her room, but it is mild compared to any other movie. Other than that, there is not much to make a fuss about.

If your kids don’t want to see this, count your blessings, but my guess is they have been begging you for about a month to take them. Although I didn’t enjoy the movie, I loved spending the time with my family and being a hero for the day.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?

  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?

  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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