As seniors in high school, Troy and Gabriella struggle with the idea of being separated from one another as college approaches. Along with the rest of the Wildcats, they stage a spring musical to address their experiences, hopes and fears about their future.
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Anna Mae Wills
Troy and the gang of East High School are going through their senior year, facing graduating and going their separate ways. Coming to terms with the reality of it all, Troy wants to attend the nearby University of Albuquerque next year on a basketball scholarship, but Gabriella wants to attend Stanford University in California. Meanwhile, Sharpay, the school's shallow and spoiled rich girl, plots to go all out planning the school's final musical show with the idea to add music to her hopes and fears about the future. While Sharpay takes an up-and-coming British exchange student under her wing, her flamboyant fraternal twin brother, Ryan, has his sights set on something different after school. In addition, Troy's best friend and basketball teammate Chad, and Garbiella's best friend Taylor, all have their sights set on their plans after high school and come to terms with the reality of the real world. Written by
The stuff anorexia and high school massacres are made of.
I haven't seen the first nor the second film, but with films like Dirty Dancing, Footloose, even Grease in the back of my mind, it makes High School Musical 3 look like a propaganda film made by reactionary parents and the U.S. Department of Education. The film has been clinically cleansed of losers or people who are a bit unusual; and it's a great example of a pedagogical motivation-form based on fear. Fear of defeat; fear of inadequacy; fear of humiliation. There is no room for mediocrity or small ambitions; so straighten up while you are young and go to school, and "allow yourself to be great" as it says in the film This is the stuff anorexia and high-school massacres are made of. High School Musical makes me think of what one of the creators of South Park, Matt Stone, said about the American school system: "They scare you into conforming. If you're a loser now, you're gonna be a loser forever." High School Musical preaches that every moment is crucial for the rest of your life. And this is a 'wonderful' achievement pressure to put on children and adolescents. Let's take a few quotes to understand the rhetoric. In the changing room the coach says: "Make this moment last". Prom night is "A night to live forever", so one must hope one has a date that night. "This is our last chance to get it right", "This is our last chance to make our mark", "History will know who we are," etc.. This is the pupils last chance to write themselves into history; and they are just 17 years old.
Children and adolescents may be what they want to be, as long as the result of their efforts is, in one form or another, of absolute greatness; so the film tells us.
Rolecomposition is cleverly put together, so that the largest minorities with the highest purchasing power are represented: Blacks and Hispanics. It is, so to speak, uncontroversial and thoroughly tested minorities. Chinese and Indians are there however non of; those 'strange' minorities who uses ginger in their cooking.
You can of course choose to shrug your shoulders over a film such as High School Musical and think: "Oh, how kitsch and fun in a 'Beverly Hills 90210'-kind of way", but I don't think it's unimportant what we teach our children. I am not so concerned about the Danish children exposed to High School Musical. We have a strong Danish television and children's films tradition to counterbalance and tell the children that it is totally okay to fail. But I am nervous on behalf of American children. Because if this is an expression of a dominant American pedagogy, it is not the last time they will see a pupil formulate his or hers feelings of defeat with an automatic riffle. One can write oneself into history in several ways.
High School Musical gets 1 of 6 stars for trace amounts of enthusiasm in dance scenes and for references to better films.
:::This was a transcript written down and translated by me, Lau Pedersen, of Mikkel Munch-Fals, DR2, PREMIERE. I have their written consent to post this. DR2 is not affiliated with this post.:::
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