Disney // 2007 // 75 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Cynthia Boris (Retired) // June 25th, 2007
"High School Musical Cast: the Real American Idols"
-- Hollywood Reporter
Two years ago, the cast of High School Musical were starving actors, waiting tables and working at the mall, hoping for that one big break. For love or for money, they were cast in a low budget romantic musical for Disney. They came, they filmed, they went back to their lives. Then a crazy thing happened, the soundtrack to this barely watched made-for-cable TV movie went quadruple platinum. And nothing was ever the same again.
The six young leads were suddenly the hottest tickets in teen-town with their faces on t-shirts, posters and magazines and while a sequel movie was in the works they were sent on a tour of 40 cities, each time playing to sell out crowds.
Reminiscent of the "Fame" concert tour back in the 80's, the High School Musical concert crew draws them in more on name than on talent. Not that these kids can't sing, but let's face it, in this case it's all about the package.
High School Musical: The Concert was filmed during a single performance in Texas. The majority of the concert is a song-by-song recitation from the movie and as is the case of "Stick to the Status Quo," some of the vocals come from the recorded soundtrack and not those performing live on stage.
The stage and the staging -- is a problem. These young actors fill up a movie screen just fine but they absolutely disappear on the enormous sweeping auditorium stage and poor costuming has them often blending in to the video screen background. A stage this large needs a huge compliment of back-up dancers but rarely are there more than two people on stage at a time and even the finale lacked the punch it had in the movie.
And as much as I loved the movie's choreography, there's very little of it here and constantly changing camera angles makes it difficult to follow even the simplest routine.
Musically, it's a nice listen. The show has a fun mix of peppy pop tunes and romantic ballads from the movie, rounded out with three new songs meant to push the solo albums of the performers.
Ah, the performers -- that's the other problem. The movie's star, Zac Efron won't be found on this concert DVD. He was off filming the new movie Hairspray. Ironically, the actor who takes his place, Drew Seeley, is a much better singer than Efron but that's not likely to pacify teenybopper fans with I Love Zac T-shirts. (Pssst, here's a secret. Seeley's voice was actually mixed with Zac Efron's on the original movie soundtrack to create a richer sound.)
As for the rest of the cast, much of the heavy lifting is done by Vanessa Hudgens (Gabriella) and she fairs better than expected. Lucas Grabeel (Ryan) excels at host duties but he and on-screen sister Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay) are more actors than singers so they're mostly there for laughs and sweet Monique Coleman (Taylor) is completely lost in the shuffle.
The real star of this DVD is versatile Corbin Bleu (Chad). He sings, he dances, he jumps rope! Great stage presence and a lot of fun to watch.
The extras on this DVD include music videos starring opening act Jordan Pruitt, a ridiculously short "Sneak Peek" at High School Musical 2, and a completely confusing "U Direct" interactive feature. On the upside is the "On the Road" featurette. This home movie style video really shows the not-so-glamorous side of touring and it has a personal feel that fans are sure to enjoy.
The court would like to remind you that We're All in This Together, and you can't just Stick with the Status Quo. You want to Bop to the Top you gotta Get'cha head in the Game.
Review content copyright © 2007 Cynthia Boris; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Jordan Pruitt
* High School Musical: On the Road
* U Direct
* Sneak peek at High School Musical 2
* High School Musical 2 Mini-poster
* The Musical Website
* Official High School Musical Site