Well, it finally happened, I got bitten by the High School Musical bug. Those who know me well probably aren’t surprised. I saw it all the way through for the first time tonight, and after the first song I was hooked.
I know there are many who have scoffed at it for its sugary-sweetness, but that is one of its most endearing qualities. Most people these days can’t stand a bit of sweetness, which is why the more successful films have anywhere from a hint of darkness to nothing but. I won’t quote The Matrix again, but things just seem more real when there’s some darkness or bitterness or anger or tragedy. Anything without that is just cheesy. Well you all know that I like cheesiness (you should see me cry my eyes out in Hook if you don’t believe me). High School Musical is one of the cheesiest things I’ve ever seen, and in a good way.
I’ve often heard variations on the expression “so sweet I could puke”. This movie is one step short of that. The best comparison I can come up with is Halloween night. Everyone knows the feeling of eating so much candy you make yourself sick with all the sugar. This is like stopping one piece of candy before that point. It’s that feeling of being so completely full of sugary goodness that you practically glow, being completely content and happy, knowing that if there were any more you’d just burst. And it is a wonderful feeling.
Having said that, HSM is one of the most unrealistic movie I’ve ever seen. For me, high school was the worst time of my life, full of mean, hateful, spiteful, evil people. And while a bit of that is touched on, especially with the wonderful song, “Stick to the Status Quo”, it’s still from a school where no one drinks, does drugs, or even kisses (not even the romantic leads), and in the end everyone ends up friends and is that much the better. Now I know part of this is the oblivious point of view of the adults producing and directing this film, and part of it is just classic Disneyfication. However, is it too much to hope that high school, kids, and people and general could really be like this? That we could actually learn to Love Everybody?
Yeah, I’m an idealist, but I’m proud of it, more so than anything else about myself.
It’s interesting that I also saw Children of Men today, a movie about a world with no children. And while I feel bad calling the kids in HSM children, being only 5 or 6 years removed from them, it’s easy to see how a world could loose hope without the sound of their voices. HSM can show us what we all have the potential to be; good, pure, loving, honest, sweet… and happy.
Children of Men * A *
High School Musical * A *
I was also going to write a tirade on how ridiculously stupid high school athletics is, but decided it wasn’t worth the effort, and I might just be rather biased about it anyways.
I also want to add that the character I like and identify with the most is the composer of the musical Kelsi. She has the best moments in the entire movie (check out her enthusiasm for rehearsing with Troy and Gabriella when they get the callback, or the moment when she kicks the piano bench during “Breaking Free”).