"High School Musical" release poster. (Retrieved from imdb.com)

‘High School Musical’ soars high with clever writing and catchy songs

When “High School Musical” came out in 2006 on the Disney Channel, it was an international sensation. But does it stand the test of time? Well … yes and no. There are a lot of flaws, but for what it is, it’s pretty good.

If you have lived under a rock the past 14 years and don’t know the plot of “High School Musical,” here’s a crash course. It takes place at East High School, where new student Gabriella Montez develops feelings for the popular basketball team captain, Troy Bolton. They decide to audition for the play, but the flashy brother-and-sister drama kids, Sharpay and Ryan Evans, don’t like Troy and Gabriella threatening them for the lead roles. 

A lot of the writing in this movie is clever, and some scenes made me laugh out loud, rare in today’s dull comedic climate.

One of the best scenes is the audition featuring a variety of high schoolers interpreting the same song. One pair go on stage and do a strange form of dance and whispering that is hilarious. Ms. Darbus, the drama teacher, responds, “Well, that was just very disturbing — go see a counselor,” which is just the cherry on top.

Another great part of this movie is the incredible T-shirts of Chad Danforth, Troy’s best friend. You could watch this whole movie without sound, just paying attention to his T-shirts, and be entertained. It’s evident the costume designers were out of touch with teenage fashion due to the subpar slogans that no one uses. They are close to being jokes but just miss the bar. 

Here are some examples: “Worship Waffles,” “I Just Look Like Him” and “Easily Distracted.” 

Who came up with these? What does “I Just Look Like Him” even mean? Sadly, these questions will never be answered. 

One last thing that is great about this movie is the catchy songs. If you’re not singing along with every song, you are a madman. Also, the songs are just the right length to remain entertaining. If you don’t believe me, give “Breaking Free” or “We’re All in This Together” a try, and your life will be changed forever.

One major flaw in this movie is that large sections of the plot make you cringe and are illogical. 

For example, Chad convinces Troy to say Gabriella means nothing to him and only basketball is important. For someone who’s supposed to be Troy’s best friend, this is unrealistic. This scene gets even worse when Chad films the sequence with a secret camera and sends it to Gabriella. Though there is some meaning to this betrayal of friendship, it would never happen in real life. 

Also, Ryan and Sharpay perform a song that is definitely intended for couples and not siblings. Here’s a line from the song: “So lonely before, I finally found what I’ve been looking for.” I don’t think this was fully thought out before it was filmed, but I could just be reading too far between the lines.

Overall, “High School Musical” definitely has more pros than cons, and I highly recommend it. 


— By Dylan Margolis

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