It's the Disney Channel Principle of Equilibrium - if one or more elements of a movie/show are done particularly well, something else has to be done badly to compensate. Good writing, bad direction. Bad writing, good direction. Bad writing, bad direction, very good actors doing their best for a lost cause. And High School Musical is no different: Kenny Ortega and the team of actors who signed up for this movie were not given much of a script to work with. But work with it they did, so much so that they tipped the scale: despite the writing, this is a very good movie.
Easily the best part of the entire movie was the relationship between Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Anne Hudgens). I'm so sick of all the weird, hormone-infused, obsessive teen relationships that show up nowadays on WB dramas and the like, and this was a HUGE refreshment. You could just *tell* that they liked each other, they enjoyed being around each other, they loved the other's company. Chemistry is never something you can predict, but somebody did something right because this is some of the best chemistry on screen that I've seen to date. And I'd like to think I know what I'm talking about here.
The choreography was also very good, although I was probably already biased, having found out that the director was also the choreographer. The cinematography was also surprisingly good, and trust me, that's something I watch out for. As far as the music goes, I do have to admit that I'm not generally a fan of musical music, so I'm not the best person to ask. But some of the songs were pretty good, and "Breaking Free" was amazing. The last song was a bit heavy-handed with the cliché, but not unbearable.
The only part of the movie that really suffered was, like I said, the writing. Musicals like this tend to be over the top just by nature, and that's fine, but a lot of the writing was really stilted and - for lack of a better term - just plain bad. The character development was about as subtle as a tractor, with changes in character happening in sudden, surprising leaps. I honestly have no idea what made Sharpay and her brother change their minds at the end. It just didn't fit.
But like I said, somehow Ortega's direction turned that script into gold, so it wasn't just a bearable movie, it was a truly great one. And that's my final word on THAT.
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