We got High School Musical 2 for Christmas. I still had never seen it, as we don't have the Disney Channel at our house. I have had the entire soundtrack memorized since last August, however, thanks to my sister giving us a copy of it. I have been dying to see the movie, and, four months later, I finally got to.
I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I like it just as much as the first one. Too often sequels just don't add up to the originals, especially if the original shot to unexpected levels of fame and high ratings. (Pirates of the Caribbean II, anyone?) I worried that the newly famous actors, complete with scandals and tabloid appearances, would have changed the way they played the bubbly, virginal characters we all came to love in HSM1. Or, that the director would have played up the cheesy, oh-so-very-Disney musical aspect, which was already just teetering on the border of too much for me in the original. But, with a few exceptions, it was fairly cheese-free.
Here's what I loved:
The music. Isn't that the very heart of HSM in the first place? At first I didn't think the songs were as catchy or addicting as the first one, but after listening to it several times, I was singing along with my very best scoops and forced vibrato. Favorites: Of course the obvious, the give-me-a-toothache-sweet duet between Troy and Gabriella, "You Are the Music in Me." And I love the second duet they sing (although I'm usually not a big fan of the gospel choir endings), "Everyday." My guiltiest pleasure on the soundtrack is Troy's "Bet On It," which has my inner hip-hopper fighting her way out to pop 'n lock. But my very favorite is Gabriella's break-up anthem "Gotta Go My Own Way." If I was a pre-pubescent girl, I'd be sobbing into my Hello Kitty handkerchief.
Troy and Gabriella. Finally past the "Are They or Aren't They?" stage, I was so relieved to see their relationship was more realistically high school than, say, Saved By the Bell, which is to say, they actually spend time together outside of school. Gabriella was the same giggly, doe-eyed sweetheart to whom I don't relate at all, and Troy, well, he's just swell. We love Troy. We love Zac. He's a great actor, great singer, great dancer, great looking. (And is it just me, or would he not be a great Edward?) He's probably the only guy that could play Troy and still maintain his heterosexuality. And the fact that he hasn't been able to get more than ten minutes into either HSM movie without having to turn it off just makes him all the more appealing. Come on, wouldn't you be a little worried if he loved tween musicals?
Ryan. A likable, minor character in HSM1, he evolved into a fully funny, lovable character in HSM2. Best line: (Ryan's dad) "Have you been working out, son?" (Ryan) "Yoga."
The scenery. Suddenly Albuquerque is at the top of my list of places to live. But only if it's at a country club with a lush, green golf course and a pool with a rock waterfall.
Things I could have done without:
Troy's dance number to "Bet On It." My hubby told me about a spoof on YouTube they did where they put that scene to "The Hills Are Alive" (Sound of Music). I never saw it, but watching this scene made me laugh, just picturing it. I can totally get where their inspiration came from.
When Troy touches Gabriella's nose as they sing their final duet, and she responds with a giggle, her 55th of the movie. I was choking down the bile.
Seriously, could they not put Troy in anything other than blue? I kept track during the movie. He wore two shirts (of about 12) that were not blue. We get it, he has amazingly blue eyes. I half expected Chad to show up in a scene wearing one of his expressive t-shirts that said "Troy has amazingly blue eyes." It would have been less obvious.
Claim To Fame:
The coolest thing about High School Musical 2 is that my awesome cousin Jen and her husband, Cory, are in it. They walked on as extras and made the final cut. In the talent show scene at the end, they're sitting behind Ryan and Sharpay's parents, smiling and clapping. (Cory is the really tall guy.) It's so cool, and I still can't get over it when I see them sitting there. I'm trying really hard not to hate Jen for being in a movie before me, but who can hate Jen?
So here's hoping HSM3 brings just as much great music, sweet romance, and a polychromatic wardrobe for Troy.