Plot: Originally created for the Disney Channel, High School Musical is like Grease for the present time. Two high school students, Gabriella and Troy, come together from seemingly different worlds to make music together. They also happen to like each other a lot too. Gabriella is smart, pretty and being courted by the students in the scholastic decathlon to join in the competition. Troy is captain of the basketball team, his father is the coach, and they are training for a championship game. Troy and Gabriella both break out of their expected roles by trying out for the lead roles in the school musical; they even get called back for a second audition. Gabriella’s friends don’t want her to be in the musical, they think she should concentrate on her studies. The basketball team – and coach – think Troy needs to keep his “Head in the Game,” (“Keep Your Head in the Game” is also the name of a song from the movie). Throughout it all, musical numbers with upbeat music and dancing periodically express some of the feelings the characters are dealing with. Will Troy and Gabriella be able to break out of the roles that others have defined for them? Will they be able to be friends, even though their friends think they area wrong for each other?
Review: Though the characters are in high school, this is a movie with major tween appeal. By high school, this movie will likely be uncool. There are a few worthy messages that this movie conveys: be yourself, follow your heart and dreams, accept yourself and others. Being a Disney movie, the serious issues are addressed in a fairly superficial way; however, significant concepts are put out there and could stimulate critical thinking about peer pressure, cliques, and fitting in. The music is an eclectic mix, mostly pop, with some hip-hop and Broadway influences. The dancing is lively and upbeat. Everyone is a little too beautiful and things tend to work out a little too well, but, then again, if this were just like real life, tweens probably wouldn’t be interested! Parents and Guardians who do not like commercialism be warned: High School Musical swag comes in almost every shape and form; this is Disney, after all.
Reading/Interest Level: 7-11
Available in: DVD, Blu-ray, there are many books and other accompanying materials, including CD’s of the music from the movie, remixes of the movies, High School Musical, the Concert DVD, and much more
Subjects: high school, cliques, peer pressure, friendship, family, dreams
Series Information: There is also High School Musical 2 (2007), and High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2009)