Essential viewing for fans of the band... also really bad
I discovered this movie because I'm a huge Oreskaband fan, and I was gradually overwhelmed by the sheer bizarreness not only of the film's existence, but also by its connection to High School Musical, one of the biggest franchises around when I was younger. From my perspective, it's a curiosity from the band's past, and that's probably the most significance it'll ever have, but in that sense I'm glad it exists. But it's also really bad. Not "so bad it's good". Just bad. You would think all these people connected to HSM could do this kind of thing pretty well, even if it's not my kinda film, but no.
The best things about this movie are:
Lucas Grabeel - I was never into HSM as a kid but even with this movie's dreadful script he brings a lot of genuine personality to things and is kind of the saving grace of the cast.
Joan Jett - she's in it.
Oreskaband - I love this band so I'll refrain from talking about their acting, but they're plenty likable, at least. More importantly, their songs are great. They had a couple albums' worth of material out at this point, and while it doesn't match up to their more recent stuff it's great, upbeat ska. All the good songs in the movie are Oreskaband songs taken from their releases up to this point.
The worst things about the movie are:
The title - In case you haven't realised yet, because it's literally that absurd, yes: it's literally just the old bit about how Japanese people get "L" and "R" mixed up.
Voices - I suspect this might have something to do with the ambition to release this in both English and Japanese, which is something that I'm not sure ever actually happened, but the band switch between subtitled Japanese and poorly-synced English overdubs. I have no idea whether the English voices are actually them or not, but it brings the presentation down a few pegs.
The scene where they're on a plane and it switches into this weird deconstructed set as they play their song Papaya and everyone dances. I've had to train myself not to think about this scene every time I hear this song.
The original songs - Basically, all the original songs are Disney-style offcuts that kind of tie in to the story. They're dull and nowhere near HSM-calibre stuff. What, in my view, is worse, is how jarringly these pedestrian-paced knock-off Disney songs contrast with the band's own style, which at this point which was almost exclusively extremely uptempo. It comes across like they wrote these songs without knowing who was going to perform them, because the arrangements also struggle to do anything with the horn section that comprises half the band. I think it's genuinely unfortunate that someone seeing this without knowing the band could think these are their own songs. Also, for the finale, the band's song Chuck, their only English-language song up to this point, was somewhat rewritten to make the English lyrics make a bit more sense, but again it seems to have been done by people who haven't heard the music.
In short, for me this film could get away with just being bad, except for the fact that it's a musical film where everyone involved in its creation besides the band themselves seems utterly uninterested in the music. I'd say that's kind of an unforgivable sin for a musical.
If you're an Oreskaband fan, watch this. You'll have fun, though it'll hurt a bit. Possibly also if you're a Lucas Grabeel fan. If you have neither preexisting investment, steer clear, though I encourage you to check out Oreskaband's latest releases.
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