Top positive review
on 6 March 2008
So much has been said and written about this movie I wasn't going to even bother writing a review... but then I couldn't help myself.
I could describe the plot to you, but that has been done. I'm mainly I'm going to explain why I selected 5 stars, when in comparison to truly great movies it...well it would hardly share the same category. I'm a believer in judging a movie or TV show by its intentions and the success of carrying them through to the end result, not neccessarily by its place in the Cannon of film. HSM2, as with HSM intended to entertain with great acting, great dancing, a good plot and of course, the Disney morals. With this in mind, it succeeded.
Clearly, the brains behind the franchise realised that the target audience of the tweenies were not the only demographic drawn [almost unwillingly] to the first movie. The sequel certainly shows this realisation and also the growth of the actors and the gentle change in styles.
Loving musicals, but only expecting to get a little fix, I bought the first and was hooked, (though it kind of stands out next to Rent, Moulin Rouge, Chorus Line, Cabaret, etc.). When the sequel arrived, I bought it without a second thought. Surprise, surprise, I loved it. It certainly has a slightly more mature and complex style in the characters' behaviour/interactions with each other, (even their tone of voice) and dialogue. It has a much more complex structure within the music and even more so in the dance, without moving to far away from the established style.
The talents of the actors are shown more clearly with greater respect. Lucas Grabeel, (Ryan) is allowed to shine through his voice and amazing dancing abilties, stepping out from Ashley Tisdale's, (Sharpay) shadow. Particularly in 'I Don't Dance' with Corbin Bleu (Chad) who also gets the same chance. This movie isn't purely the 'Troy and Gabrielle Show', which being amazed by Lucas's talents especially, was refreshing.
It's a musical, [obviously] and that genre can provide a realistic look at life. Although I don't honestly think HSM2 does this, I again go back to intent. This movie gives an impression of realism of American teenagers, close enough for the target audience to relate, but far enough away to escape and dream. As for anyone older watching this movie, I'm not so sure realism actually matters and perhaps its lack of total authenticity is what appeals to us; perhaps we only want the sunny, rosy escapism.
This movie is cheesy, yes. It doesn't stretch the imagination in it's plot or film making, (cinematography, set design, costuming, etc.) though Kenny Ortega's choreography is renowned outside his involvement in this movie and he never lets you down. It is not a work of excellence, in cinematic terms, but there is just something about this movie that has the world in a craze. Perhaps it is simply because the talent is so blatently thrown in front of you on screen. That is something I don't know how anyone can doubt. Dislike the film, fine. Hate the film, ok. But why doubt the talent or the intentions; or the successful executions of them?
This is one of those movies that 'is what it is'. Once you get that, the reason for its seemingly surprising broad appeal is not so hard to understand. It does what it does and it does it with flare.
(Though I'm still kinda embarrassed that I like it so much...or at all.)