Friday, August 17, 2007

HSM2: Instant Review

Fosco just finished watching "High School Musical 2." Some thoughts:

  • there are several very catchy songs--at least two to rival HSM1. "The Music in Me" is the standout.
  • just like HSM1, there was almost an hour of dead space in the middle of the movie. I really expected the pacing to be better.
  • Zac Efron is indeed unpleasantly bronzed. Two delicious shirtless scenes for him, though.
  • the black girl had even less to do in this movie than in the first.
  • Lucas Grabeel as Ryan Evans was gratifyingly more central to this movie than the first; unfortunately, his character couldn't quite handle the increased depth.
  • kudos to the writers and to Disney Channel for refusing to fix the clearly proto-gay Ryan up with any of the stray girls in the script. I was worried throughout the whole second movie that there would be a "happy ending" in which he becomes interested in a girl. And more kudos to portraying his relationship with his father as supportive and playful. There is good anti-stereotype work here.
  • boos to the sound mixing. All of the vocals in all of the songs clearly had the electronic tang of Pro Tools. Obviously, occasional electronic help is necessary for most artists, but the work here was purposefully obvious. I suppose the music producers thought it made the songs sound more hip-hop or whatever, but it's going to make these performances sound dated by, oh, tomorrow.
  • What is wrong with Ashley Tisdale? Her voice sounded extremely weak--much weaker than in the first movie. And after her hilarious "Fabulous" number (around minute fifteen), all the fun drains from her performance. She played the villain with such elan in HSM1, but can't pull it off here.
  • the climax: a talent show that is crashed by the resort employees. Hmmm. "Dirty Dancing?" I love a movie that isn't afraid of cliche...
  • and what about that moment where Zac Efron's character hugs Vanessa Hudgens from behind and puts his forearm completely across her breasts (as opposed to under her breasts). Do you hug people like that? And isn't that a bit racy for a movie that prevents the main couple from kissing until the final resolution?
  • For the most profitable franchise in Disney Channel history, the special effects were laughable. I've seen better effects in Ed Wood films.
  • the most enjoyable moments: the wacky family dynamics in the Evans family. There could have been more.
On the whole, I would rate HSM2 as enjoyable, but not nearly as good as HSM1.

Now Fosco has to learn all of the songs before the special "sing-along-at-home" version airs on Sunday night.


John Mackey said...

But is HSM2 as good as Grease 2? Grease 2 is one of my favorites, with classic songs like "Cool Rider," "We're Gonna Bowl Tonight," "Let's Do It for our Country," and "Reproduction."
Plus, it has Michelle Pfeiffer, in -- I think -- her first film role. Everybody is asking - will Zak Efron be the next Michelle Pfeiffer?

FOSCO said...

And don't forget that Grease 2 helped to launch the career of one of our greatest actors, Adrian Zmed!

John Mackey, will you ever write a musical?

todd said...

You're making me want to finish writing the musical adaptation of They that I started years ago.

John Mackey said...

I was honestly dying to write a musical of "Pillow Talk," the 1959 Rock Hudson / Doris Day movie. I challenge you to watch that and not constantly wonder why there aren't any songs. It would be a blast to write that musical. Oh well.

FOSCO said...

How can a movie called "Pillow Talk" not be a musical? I think you have a mission, John Mackey.