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Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better with a little more effort!, 10 Dec. 2007
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This review is from: High School Musical 2 - Extended Edition [DVD] (DVD)
I had high hopes for this film, I enjoyed the first one, but it could have been so much better. I'd seen a few clips on the trailers for the second one, and it looked far more interesting.

After looking at the first one again (can you believe it's a year already?) I was left with similar feelings of disappointment with this one too.

As with the original, it's not that there was anything particularly wrong with it, it just didn't really seem to pull together, and it could have been so much better had they put a bit more effort in to making it.

With this being a sequel, it had a few things working in it's favour, budget should have been less of an issue, since they already knew how well the original had done last year. Second, and in some ways more importantly, the lead, Zac Efron actually got to sing himself in this one, as opposed to the original where he had to mime all but a couple of lines. Apparently his voice wasn't high enough for the age he was playing (a little confusing since I thought he was playing pretty much his own age)

But I digress... The advantage was, Zac's voice seemed to blend much better with the rest of the cast than the person doing the singing in the original, plus he seemed to have a much stronger voice, giving him more presence on the power ballad numbers.

The other advantage was the songs. Most of them were far superior to those in the original film, better lyrics, more meaning, just better all around. That's not to say they are world class songs, because they're not, some did get a bit repetitive and you were wondering if they would ever end, but other than that, a big improvement.

I only watched the film last night, and already I've found myself singing a couple of the songs today, which is always a good thing for a musical.

Now for the down sides.

The choreography. I don't know what it is about this and the original, but some of the choreography is truly horrible. The group numbers aren't so bad, but some of the solo/duets, particularly the ones given to Zac Efron were just painful to watch. They make him look all leggy, and full of cheese, and having seen Hairspray a week or two ago, he can dance much better than that.

There was one particular routine, he is supposed to be highly emotional, angry, upset, etc. (trying not to give the plot away here) Anyway, cue angry musical number which he then sings, working of steam and figuring out who he is.

Now it may just be me, but given the situation and the music, I kind of expected the routine to be more aggressive, something like a martial arts based dance routine, beating up a punchbag, maybe even running at full tilt trying to get away from it all. But no...

It had to be the weirdest choreographed routine in the entire film, leggy dancing, air grabbing... In fact, pick a cheesy dance routine cliché and it was probably in there. It was just plain weird, and totally unconnected with the moment.

But then there seemed to be a few points like that.

And now we come to the biggest negative of the whole film... The plot.

The problem was there really wasn't one. Or at least not enough to fill out a 100 minute film. Even with all the song and dance numbers, it was just dull. A bit like the first film it ends with them putting on a performance for a talent show. Didn't we see pretty much the same thing in the original film?

There were several other comparisons in plot to the original film, but I don't want to mention them and spoil it for anyone.

Suffice it to say the film would have been far better with a different writing team! The acting was reasonable, songs improved, and if they'd just got a decent writing team and shot the choreographer they could have had something great, especially when you consider that the humble musical is still in strong demand, and unless you're going to head to the theatre, there just aren't any new ones around...

The film will appear to the younger audience, just like it's predecessor, and will probably appeal to any musical fan who is happy to switch off their brain for an hour and a half and just enjoy the mindless cheesefest.
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