Review Covers DVD & Blu-Ray Versions
Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
In this, their last year, the High School Musical 3 focus is on what else; graduation. As the cover conveys, the group of young (how old are they now?) teenagers is on their way out, and the celebration has begun. The cover is okay for what it is, with the main characters in red gowns and caps, throwing their hands in the air to coincide with their big graduation day. I would not expect much more from this type of film to be honest.
I usually go back and view the menus after watching the film, right before I right the review, but I have to admit that my step-daughter stole my DVD, and I was unable to have a second look. I seems to recall that the menu was not completely static, but I was not overly impressed with it. It must not have been too great, or too bad, as I have no specific recollection either way. It does say something that the DVD is being watched over and over again by a 16 year-old.
- Deleted Scenes – These are some deleted scenes that were not included in the final cut of the movie. There is some character development, but not a lot of substance in these scenes. As with most deleted scenes, they are left out for a reason.
- Bloopers – This short feature runs less than 3 minutes, and for those of us who are not HSM fanatics, it was really not that great, or funny. I imagine my step-daughter would disagree with my assessment.
- Night Of Nights – A 7 minute feature, the Night of Nights discusses many of the actors’ real life experiences with real life prom. The feature also discusses how prom was approached in the movie, and also shows some of the rehearsals for the prom songs.
- It’s All In The Dress Featurette – This is a little two minute short about the actual prom outfits that were featured in the movie. It has been so ling since I attended a prom that I think this was kind of lost on me.
- Sing- Along – Pretty much just what it says, this is a karaoke style set up for the tunes in the movie. I did not try to sing any of the tunes, which my family and dog appreciated. I can see this as a big deal for the younger crowd, who may want to belt out an HSM tune at a sleepover party, if that is still what they do these days. (God I feel old.)
- Cast Goodbyes – This is a sappy good-bye short that details the relationships and feelings that this group of actors has developed over the three HSM movies. As HSM 4 is set to see a new group of high school kids, this is apparently the last hurrah for the current HSM group, and they are sad to say goodbye.
- Digital Copy – Again, this is a digital copy that is included with the DVD. As usual, it is for one copy of either a Windows version of the movie, or an iTunes copy.
- DVD Version (Blu-ray Extra) -Disney not only give you a digital copy they throw in the standard DVD as well how’s that for value.
- BD-Live Photo Feature – Access to Disney’s BDLive network and an exclusive interactive photo feature with tons of shots of the cast. The Disney BDLive network is one of the best it even includes cool chat and games relating to other Disney movies.
The Movie: 6/10
For those of you who are not familiar with the High School Musical (or “HSM” for the cool kids) phenomenon, basically it revolves around Troy (Zac Effron), his girlfriend Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), and Troy’s best friend Chad (Corbin Blue). The HSM machine looks at their high school experiences, through song and dance. Troy and Chad are athletes who, after winning the state basketball championship for the second year in a row, are deciding where they will play ball at in college. Gabriella’s dream of attending Stanford forces Troy to ponder just where his priorities lie; acting, basketball or love.
The movie begins as Troy and Chad are again playing for the state title game, and of course, drama ensues. Of course our heroes pull out the unthinkable win, and the movie switches gears as the group is encouraged to sign up for the big year end musical number. The movie then focuses on the preparation of getting ready for the musical, as the high schoolers are constantly dealing with the pressure of deciding where their future path is leading each one.
HSM is definitely a movie destined to be adored by the younger female teenager crowd. The musical numbers are bigger and more choreographed than the first two HSM movies, and while the songs are not really great, they are not horrible either.
Sprinkled in with the three main characters are other secondary teenagers, each with minor roles, but all who represent the various types of students one thinks of when looking at the high school experience. Disney Channel mainstay Ashley Tisdale plays Sharpay, who is the “mean girl” who is out to make a name for herself on the stage, at the expense of anyone who gets in her way. Other secondary characters float throw the movie, and round out the experience without complicating the main plot too much.
It is amazing to me to see the HSM franchise churning out such big hits, which just goes to show that the whole Hannah Montana/HSM demographic was being sorely neglected before Disney came in and clobbered us with these types of Disney Channel original ideas. As much as I am not a fan (and not the demographic audience), it is nice to see that this group is getting movies and shows like HSM. The story is nice and while it glosses over the trouble and stress of high school, at least it is a positive examination of the time period, that gives these kids something entertaining to enjoy.
The movie is one that is hard to categorize for me. It kind of reminds me of a modern, younger version of Grease. The songs are not great, but the presentation adds quite a bit to the experience. I did not hate HSM 3, but I didn’t love it either. Then again, HSM is not made for me, and I can see how people would enjoy these movies, if this was their thing.
Audio & Video: 9/10
The standard DVD for HSM 3 is a visual delight for a film like this. The colors are deliberately bright and cheery, and the overall feel is light. The video is presented in widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and it really does look good.
The audio is even better than the video. Even if you are not a fan of musicals, this one is very well done. The use of the surround sound rear speakers adds a lot to the atmosphere of the film, giving a rich feel throughout the room during the musical numbers. There was no trade off in terms of the spoken bits either, as they were just as clear as the songs, which is needed in a film like this. Presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, it was perfect for a movie like this.
Audio & Video Blu-Ray Version: 9/10 (By Ascully)
The audio and Video on the Blu-Ray version are incredible (as all Disney HD releases are), I was lead to believe this was shot for TV not a theatrical release and you would be hard pressed to tell it’s not on film. Again Disney include 3 discs in the set the Blu-Ray version, the standard DVD and a Digital Copy this is something that should be applauded I wish more companies would do it. The video on the Blu-Ray version is presented in a 1080P 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and the audio is presented in DTS-HD 5.1. I found the audio to be quite lively but not as surround focused as Skwiddly mentioned on the DVD version. Overall your kids WANT this movie, even if they have not mentioned it yet what are you waiting for proud parents.
This is a hard one for me to put a value on, because this movie was not made for me, and I am in no way able to say that this is a great movie, but the kids (and few adults) who are into this sort of thing will eat this DVD up. I could say not to spend your money on this type of DVD, but if you have seen the first 2 movies, and enjoyed them, then chances are you don’t care what an old, unhip guy tells you about this movie. Those people will drop this into their DVD players and watch this over and over again. It is a well done, teenage musical that is sugary sweet and technically decent, so why not. If you like HSM, you better get this last one, like right now. As I said before, the DVD has been taken hostage by my 16 year-old step-daughter, who told me that senior year was “incredible.” Nuff said.
Overall Score 7/10