High School Musical Misgivings?
August 29, 2007 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I loved the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I sometimes catch myself humming the tune to Adelaide's Lament from Guys and Dolls. Elaine Paige's version of Memory from Cats reduced me to tears the first time I caught it via YouTube. What are the chances I'll enjoy watching the original High School Musical?
posted by The Confessor to Media & Arts (20 answers total)
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I also love musicals and I have seen both HSM and HSM2. The first one has an outlook and worldview more rosy than any 50s era musical. The music is OK and the acting and singing are also OK.

The second one is much worse as the songs are tremendously overproduced and not as catchy.
posted by bove at 1:34 PM on August 29, 2007

Well, based on the selections you have provided, I would say it is unlikely you would enjoy the music in "High School Musical". The music in HSM1 is pop-style, and the lyrics are bland. I love showtunes, and I didn't care much for it. The music in HSM2 had more of a hip-hop, funky edge to it, and the lyrics were far superior; I bought the soundtrack and I can't stop playing it. Both movies were good clean fun, if you like that sort of thing (and I do), so I suggest you give them a try.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:36 PM on August 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

Maybe I should add a little detail. What I love about musicals is hearing extremely talented singers, sing great songs. It is a treat for me to hear people who can really sing. HSM is filled with cute young kids who are decent singers. None of the songs really stretches them vocally and is meant to be as emotionally moving as in the musicals you mention.

I don't think you will hate it, but I don't think you will make any kind of emotional connection. Especially because the plot and setting are so intentionally light and cheesy that it makes it very difficult for anyone over 14 to really care about it.
posted by bove at 1:36 PM on August 29, 2007

I too really enjoy musicals and watching talented performers stretch their legs.

I just tried to get through HSM last weekend, wondering what all the fuss was about.

I didn't make it past the hour mark.

Based on what you have said, I don't think you will like it.

I'm not really seeing a whole lot of risk involved with trying to watch it and deciding for yourself. If you hate it, turn it off.
posted by Sheppagus at 2:39 PM on August 29, 2007

I love musicals, but couldn't get through more than about 10 minutes of HSM2. But it was on TV, so was a pretty risk-free thing to try. I haven't tried the first one yet.
posted by EllenC at 2:41 PM on August 29, 2007

One thing that struck me about High School Musical is that it is a cable TV movie, and it shows. It looks about as good as Saved by the Bell.
posted by smackfu at 2:47 PM on August 29, 2007

Look at all the haters! I'm a grown woman who likes musicals and I really enjoyed the first HSM. (Haven't seen the second yet.) Lyrically it's not up there with some of the great songs you mentioned, but it's catchy and cute, and hey, if it gets more people interested in seeing musicals, I'm all for it. (This is also the reason I gave my grudging approval to Chicago starring squinty-eyed no-talent Renee Zellweger.) Anyway, I'll confess that as far as HSM goes, it helps if there's a part of you that is still secretly a nerdy 14-year-old girl who thinks Zac Efron is just dreamy...
posted by web-goddess at 2:57 PM on August 29, 2007

I watched HSM the very first time it came on with my friends while I was in a musical theatre Conservatory. So far all of my musical loving friends hated high school musical. My non-musical loving friends are entranced with it. I am quite confused about the whole phenomenon.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 3:01 PM on August 29, 2007

What did you think of Grease?
posted by mendel at 3:07 PM on August 29, 2007


I was tricked. It's cable-tv level pap. Akin to That's So Raven, the Musical. Worse than Grease, worse than Newsies.

Go rent Reefer Madness, The Musical, instead.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:39 PM on August 29, 2007

I saw it, expecting it to be about the same level as Grease, and was disappointed. The characters were insipid, the songs ranged from boring to cheesy, and the singing was mediocre.
posted by Soliloquy at 4:01 PM on August 29, 2007

I loved it! go watch it! whats the risk?
posted by unsurmountable at 4:30 PM on August 29, 2007

All my girlfriends' daughters love it (ages 8-12), they HAVE to have the HSM backpack for school. So I'm thinking, ah, NO. (although I do love Grease)
posted by wafaa at 4:38 PM on August 29, 2007

Also, three words...The Music Man... oki'mdone...
posted by wafaa at 4:42 PM on August 29, 2007

The second one had the audio quality intentionally downgraded by Disney when they broadcast it. Struck me as stunningly stupid. My daughters didn't notice, but as a parent trying to sit through it, I felt that it really harmed it.

My daughters naturally enjoyed the first and second one. I enjoyed HSM (for what it was) much more than HSM2, which felt much more forced both musically and in terms of plot.
posted by idb at 5:20 PM on August 29, 2007

I listened to High School Musical two nights a week for a year (the Theater on Ice class that I shared space with was performing it). While I now recognize the show when I hear it, I could not for the life of me hum a single line from it. It may be fun, but it is utterly forgettable.

On the other hand, if it turns people on to the great old (and the great new) musicals, I'm all for it.
posted by nax at 5:28 PM on August 29, 2007

Hmmm, I love stage and screen musicals. HSM is only entertaining if you make fun of it along the way. It's not a great musical at all. If it introduces kids to musical theatre/film, that's the only worthwhile thing it does... as long as they recognise that HSM is not a good example of its genre.
posted by crossoverman at 7:38 PM on August 29, 2007

My 11-year-old sister made me watch the first one - it was painful and I refuse to see the second.

(And I even like Newsies, sort of. Christian Bale is significantly dreamier than Zac Efron though).
posted by naoko at 8:07 PM on August 29, 2007

I usually only like Sondheim musicals, but I LOVED High School Musical. It's not that good, but it is adorable and fluffy, like puppies in a karaoke booth.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:30 PM on August 29, 2007

High School Musical is one of those things that you either love or you hate. I love it for a catchy movie that you can sit down and not have to think about - but if you want any more from it you will most probably be disappointed.
posted by cholly at 3:04 AM on August 30, 2007

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