I’ve never been too big a musical fan, or so I say. I’ve always thought that there is something unbelievable about them. Somehow, I find cars that defy the space-time continuum more realistic and relatable. Not really sure why. Equally, I feel the same about high school movies. They never really represent what high school was really like. So far, the nerd has not gotten the girl.
With this week’s release of "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," the first venture of the franchise to the big screen, Disney elevates it to status of other classic musical movies set in high school. Here are just a few to start off with to understand how the "High School Musical" series started scoring all ‘A’s.
It’s not so unbelievable that a bunch of kids at The New York City School for the Performing Arts might sporadically break out into song, taking over the streets in synchronized movement and break dancing atop taxi cabs. Saying it’s the most believable of its counterparts doesn’t do this a justice -- these kids really do belong at the school they are attending -- but their struggle to prove themselves amazing is more of a focal point here than the average high school trudge. The “Hot Lunch” sequence is pretty hysterical to watch, but I don’t know how anything can beat the title song and dance ordeal. Try not to get up and dance and continue to watch the movie.
Kevin Bacon is told he can't dance?! Oh no they didn't. When Ren McCormack (Bacon) and his mother move from the dance capital of Chicago, to a town where dancing is outlawed, chaos ensues. According to the way Ren’s outlook, a teenager just can't be a teenager unless he/she can dance. The laws against dancing don’t keep the boy down though, not with Kenny Loggins playing in the background. After seeing this film, it only seems appropriate that for the rumored re-make, the lead to take on Kevin Bacon’s classic moves is HSM heart throb Zach Efron.
Different from the two films above, Grease sets its self back in time to the 1950’s with poodle skirts and leather bomber jackets. The quintessential high school musical movie continues its relevance today with constant reincarnations on Broadway and fittingly when the first HSM was in production the working title was none other than “Grease 3.” John Travolta and Olivia Newton John romp around as Danny and Sandy in the musical that is simply about high school love and drama.
The simplicity is what makes the story great, but the quality of the song and dance sequences elevates this film to classic stature. Cinematically the final song is the most radical and gorgeous as the kids frolic around the carnival, crazy in love. Greased Lightning though, looked more like a music video than a scene out of a musical, and in that same vein, the film overall re-invents the genre for a new generation. Quite possibly what "HSM" is doing right now...