There are a number of films on my “to watch” list before the end of 2008 yet I can’t seem to build the energy to sit through them. I think I’ll go and by the end of the day, I’m too drained to concentrate on much of anything. Mid-day yesterday, I threw away plans to finally watch Synecdoche, New York (our review) and decided instead to let myself vegetate for a few hours in front of High School Musical 3: Senior Year. It’s all Kermode’s fault; he said it was good.
It started off well enough with Troy Bolton’s (played by tween heartthrob Zac Efron) dance antics on the basketball court in the last game of his senior year. Admittedly, I was dazzled by the show: complicated dance sequences inter-cut with footage of the make-or-break basketball game. Not exactly heart pounding stuff but entertaining enough but then things got a little prickly with the first duet. Troy and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) sit in a tree house, looking longingly at each other and singing a too-sweet song about their longing and how they’ll always be together. It was at this point that I started to really wonder what I was doing there. I started to wonder if maybe Kermode is a closet masochist. And then I started to wonder how I’d ever missed that fact but as the musical number came to a close and story picked up at school, I found myself interested again and all thanks to a little waltzing.
Outside of documentaries, when have you ever seen teens waltzing and, to my untrained eye at least, well? I was mesmerized by the moving feet, the careful twirls and lifted heels and it was at this moment that I completely fell into the movie. The musical numbers get bigger, from the catchy “I Want It All” featuring Sharpay (toodles!) and Ryan (Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel) contemplating their takeover of the entertainment world to the closing “High School Musical”, and more theatrical. It’s like a fairy tale brought to life: the problems are small scale and of course it’s going to end well. Was there any doubt? Paleaze! I was more interested in the next dance number than the dilemma of “follow dad’s plans” vs. “what I want to do”.
It’s not real; it’s never meant to be and the kids who watch it know that They go to school and deal with cliques, bullies, crushes, broken hearts and god knows what other world shattering events affect their lives on a day-to-day basis. This candy coated sweetness is a minor distraction. One could do worse.