BY THOMAS WOOD
At the beginning of January in 2006, The Disney Channel was in its prime creating original movies. This was when the channel was at its most popular, and it shows through the ratings and viewership at the time. In the midst of this popularity, they released the first High School Musical movie. It was received very positively, ending up as the most commercially popular Disney Channel Original Movie ever produced. Let’s see if that holds up 17 years later.
Our movie stars the protagonist duo Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez. The movie is essentially a struggle for these two to participate in a school musical. Many things are against them: popular theater kid Sharpay wants the lead role and sees Gabriella as competition, and the leaders of Troy and Gabriella’s clubs fear this play will take away from their activities. In the end, Troy and Gabriella are able to bypass these obstacles and make the lead roles of the musicals.
The main pulls of this film are the musical numbers. For good reason, too. Most of these songs end up getting stuck in your head, as they’re nice and catchy. Each and every song in this movie is iconic, making for an extremely pleasant watch. My personal favorites are “Breaking Free” and, of course, “We’re All in This Together.” Most of these musical numbers are also choreographed with extremely talented dancers, which is fun to watch. It’s also amusing to see these musical numbers break out in the middle of a populated high school. It’s the complete opposite of what you might expect from a typical high school setting, and subverted expectations usually make for an exciting setting.
The plot is a bit lacking, but it’s just cheesy enough to work. It’s a classic high school romance plot, meaning there’s a lot that’s already been done with the concept. However, the movie seems self-aware of this and plays into its tropes well. Sharpay, for example, is a token popular girl, to a comical level. This makes the plot less boring and more amusing.
All in all, High School Musical is a solid movie. It makes sense why it ended up as the most popular Disney Channel Original movie, as it’s a movie I’d rewatch in a heartbeat. It’s an all time classic, and it’s family friendly too.
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