High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Starring: Zac Efron ... Troy Bolton
Vanessa Hudgens ... Gabriella Montez
Ashley Tisdale ... Sharpay Evans
Lucas Grabeel ... Ryan Evans
Corbin Bleu ... Chad Danforth
Monique Coleman ... Taylor McKessie
Bart Johnson ... Coach Jack Bolton
Alyson Reed ... Ms. Darbus
Olesya Rulin ... Kelsi Nielsen
Chris Warren Jr. ... Zeke Baylor
Ryne Sanborn ... Jason Cross
KayCee Stroh ... Martha Cox
Matt Prokop ... Jimmie Zara
Justin Martin ... Donny Dion
Jemma McKenzie-Brown ... Tiara Gold
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Synopsis: It's the end of the Wildcats' championship basketball game against the West High Knights, where team captain Troy (Zac Efron) immediately rallies their spirits ("Now or Never"). With the team’s spirit raised, they win, thanks to the winning shot from their newest team member Jimmie "The Rocket" Zara (Matt Prokop). Later, at Troy's after-match party at his house, Troy and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) are seen thinking about their future and wishing that their last few months at East High would not end ("Right Here, Right Now"). Meanwhile, Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) meets Tiara Gold (Jemma McKenzie-Brown), a British exchange student whom she hires to be her personal assistant...
When drama teacher Ms. Darbus (Alyson Reed) notices that there were so few sign-ups for the spring musical, Sharpay suggests she could do a one-woman show. This alarms Kelsi (Olesya Rulin), who is writing the show, so she signs up almost everyone in the class for it instead. This results in Ms. Darbus announcing they will create a play about their final days at East High. In addition, she reveals that Sharpay, Ryan (Lucas Grabeel), Kelsi, and Troy have all been considered for a scholarship at Juilliard, but only one of them is to be chosen. Sharpay becomes desperate to win the scholarship, and knowing that Kelsi will give the best songs to Troy and Gabriella in the musical, she gets Ryan to try to persuade Kelsi to give them a song, by predicting her (and Ryan's) future ("I Want It All").
The next day, Gabriella and Troy meet on the rooftop and she teaches him how to waltz ("Can I Have This Dance"). Chad (Corbin Bleu) then asks Taylor (Monique Coleman) to go to prom with him. She initially refuses due to his lack of enthusiasm, but later agrees when Chad proves he can put in some effort and asks again in front of everyone in the school. The group rehearses for the musical, a scene about their prom night ("A Night to Remember"). Meanwhile, Ryan walks in on Kelsi composing ("Just Wanna Be with You") in the music room, and performs it with her, and then he asks her to prom halfway through. While Troy and Chad reminisce about their past ("The Boys Are Back"), Sharpay and Tiara discover that Gabriella has a chance to go to college early. Sharpay later convinces Troy that he is the only thing keeping Gabriella from her dream, ("Right Here, Right Now (Reprise)"). Troy talks to Gabriella about this over pizza, and after sharing an awkward goodnight, Gabriella ("Walk Away") leaves for college the next day.
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Troy's dad, Jack (Bart Johnson), talks to him about his academic future. Troy becomes angry, confused, and runs away, storming around East High confused ("Scream") until he finally screams at the top of his lungs in the theatre. Ms. Darbus is in the theatre and reveals that she sent in his application for Juilliard, as she knew how comfortable he was on stage and how much he liked it. Troy takes no offense and thinks about the advice given to him. Troy later gets a call from Gabriella saying she will not return to Albuquerque, as she is too used to being away. However, on the night of prom, Troy visits Gabriella at Stanford and convinces her to return, as everyone is not the same without her, ("Can I Have This Dance (Reprise)").
Back at East High, Jimmie receives a text from Troy to tell him to cover for him onstage because he is going to be late. The Juilliard representatives are there, and watch as the show seems to go well, ("Senior Year Spring Musical"). During the opening number, Kelsi and Ryan debut. While during the second number, Chad, Jason (Ryne Sanborn), Zeke (Chris Warren Jr.) and Martha (Kaycee Stroh) debut, Ryan does his number with the many chorus girls; Jimmie then performs with Sharpay, receiving his own standing ovation. Troy and Gabriella appear during the second half of the show and sing their duet together. Tiara then betrays Sharpay and tells her how she is going to take over next year in the drama department. Sharpay finally learns how it feels to be humiliated, but does not wish to go down. While Tiara performs, Sharpay immediately crashes her performance and shows her up.
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Ms. Darbus reveals that both Kelsi and Ryan have won the Juilliard scholarship ("We're All in This Together (Graduation Mix)"). Taylor will go to Yale University; Sharpay will go to University of Albuquerque along with that she will also assist Ms. Darbus in running the drama department in the fall. Troy decides to go to the University of California, Berkeley, where he can play basketball, study drama, and be close to Gabriella. After learning about Troy's decision, Chad runs offstage and into the school gym. There he and Troy work things out and learn that their college's basketball teams will play each other the upcoming fall.
At the graduation ceremony, Troy gives the class speech. Throwing their caps in the air, the graduates form a giant wildcat before breaking out into song and dance ("High School Musical"). The six friends walk down the field where a curtain closes off the graduation ceremony and turns into a stage. The six stars do their signature jump and then the camera does a close up of each actor. They take their final bow as the curtain closes.
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Review: By Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
If you aren't aware of the phenomenon that is High School Musical, it's a safe bet that you're over the age of 15 and don't yet have any children or grandchildren under that age. For its target demographic – mostly girls in their "tweens" (roughly 8-14) – High School Musical is like Harry Potter, Barbie and Pokémon all mixed together and combined with a serious sugar rush. It seems that they just can't get enough of this wholesome franchise of sickly-sweet, unbelievably innocent films, where pristine teenagers sing and dance about the joys of young love, close friendship, and being true to yourself.
With such themes at its heart, you can probably guess which company masterminded this new form of kiddie catnip – yep, good old Disney. It's yet another re-jigging of the tried and tested Disney themes that we've seen countless times down the years – only this time successfully updated for the modern age.
Perhaps it's an indication of Disney's own loss of confidence in the relevance of its old product that the first High School Musical movie, which only came out less than three years ago, was never intended for the big screen. That's right – the original film was a TV movie, made for the Disney Channel and first screened back in January 2006. Disney, it seemed, had been reading too many tabloid newspaper tales of feral youngsters roaming the streets in gangs, getting in fights, smoking, drinking, having underage sex, and generally going to the dogs. Surely the children of today wouldn't be interested in anything as old-fashioned and uncool as Disney's traditional brand of family values and decency?
Well, Disney was wrong. The film pulled in an impressive 7.7 million viewers for its premiere, despite only being available on cable TV. By the end of the year, it had been shown repeatedly on the Disney Channel worldwide, even making it on to the BBC during the key Christmas season, winning over legions of new British fans, while its soundtrack became the best-selling album of the year in the US in 2006. Somehow the old Disney magic had returned without them even realizing it. DVD sales, in turn, were immense – with 1.2 million copies sold in its first six days, the first set a sales record.
And so, in the last three years, High School Musical has snowballed. A concert tour of the Americas was running by the end of 2006, there were numerous singles released, a stage play version, a version done on ice, swiftly followed by a TV movie sequel (which has in turn spawned a stage play), not to mention the six computer games and countless books and other bits of merchandise that the franchise has spawned to date. Not bad for a film whose budget was only $4.2 million.
In other words, it was only a matter of time before the phenomenon hit the big screen – and now, with the third movie, it has. The only odd thing is that the cast – and characters – are now getting a bit old for High School, so this latest outing revolves around their hopes and fears for the future as they approach their move to university. How to deal with such worries? Why – let's put on a show! It's hardly original, but fans of the series are unlikely to care. And though it would be easy to criticise a film that's so sickly sweet and, well, nice, let's face it – if they enjoy it, why not let the kids maintain their innocence while they can? Rather this than all the sex and violence that's so endemic everywhere else.
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