Senior Year is the third in Disney’s High School Musical series, yet the first to appear on the big screen. This means everything needs to be ten times as spectacular: the songs, the dancing, and most of all, the cheesiness… and although the first film will always be the classic, I think they succeed. Sharpay’s outfits hit a new high of ridiculousness, if nothing else!
There is a progression from the past films, with some semblance of a plot, and even quite a sad part near the end. But don’t worry – Troy and Gabriella still show no signs of being human, and there are plenty of songs which are clearly just excuses for Zac Efron’s posing. He has one particularly amusing solo number called Scream, with angst levels not seen since the fifth Harry Potter book. Worryingly though, Zac’s actually looking a bit less plastic and more handsome these days. Don’t tell anyone I said that…
Something that never changes is Sharpay’s continuous indecision between being hilariously fabulous and hideously annoying. This time around, she and her brother, Ryan, share my favourite of the musical numbers, while he gets a new love interest. I won’t give away who it is, but let’s just say these two won’t run out of hats any time soon. Gabriella remains sickeningly sweet and defiantly dull, but otherwise my only complaint is regarding the pointless new characters, bizarrely including an English girl as Sharpay’s new assistant. The producers need to think again if they’re expected to be the stars of High School Musical 4.
Whatever you thought of the previous films, you’ll think exactly the same of this one. If you loved them, you’ll love this, but to enjoy it certainly does require a very high tolerance for shiny, smiley, stage school starlets, and the ability to lose all pretences of cool for 90 minutes. This is not Oscar-worthy, but it was never intended to be – accept it for what it is and you might just find a new feel-good favourite!