High School Musical 2 is a burst of joyful exuberance.
Winks towards adult audiences have their place, but so do productions where a kid isn't talked down to or expected to grow up too fast. Every single participant has to be a Triple Threat.
Disney's been great at soundtracks but they'll have to do a lot better for part 3.
Aside from the opener and a baseball game/swing number, there's not much to enjoy this time around, once again due in part to the removal of the high school locale.
The straight-up theater pop of the first has been replaced with more of a Hip-Hop/ Arena Pop edge. Plus, the mythological task of defeating high school cliques has been replaced with simply earning a check for the summer. But that's part of the fantasy of the first film: making the audition, giving it your all, and gaining the applause and support of your peers.
The movie wants to feel bigger than the last, but it's actually more intimate. The cast goes through some drama this time around, and some changes are made, character-wise. Disney Channel could have simply done a rehash of the first film, but everyone involved truly did a great job. What's great about this second movie is, really it's about the reverse of that. Losing yourself in search of something you don't really need, not yet anyway.
But by default, it is less fun, just a smidgen less, than the original.
To its credit, it isn't stale (the new setting keeps it fresh), but Disney Channel, Ortega, and all company involved will be hard pressed to create a three-quel that's just as fun, lively and CHOCK FULL OF 90' S POP as the original. As for the songs themselves, let's just say I've been fair enough to comment that I enjoyed the MOVIE for what it was.
Why there are ice shows, stage productions (amateur and pro), karaoke CDs, and karaoke DVDs to boot. You see, the 1990s gave birth to NSync, Backstreet Boys, the Spice Girls, Britney, Christina, Jessica, what have you. High School Musical was the Reset Button, if you will, setting kidz-bop-pop back in its rightful place. The sequel does a great job of avoiding the urge to fix what's unbroken, but instead to polish it. More attitude, and even more confidence (if that's hard to imagine).
Adults have their music, their innuendos, their profane-angry-paranoid-hurtfully honest songs. This film is strictly for A) kids, and B) people who not only remember but enjoyed being kids.
I forgot that, as corny as the premise - the whole franchise - is, these guys can really act. It's a good message: The future will come soon enough.
Enjoy being a kid and being with the ones who love you while you still can.
At a music camp for gifted teens, a popular teen idol overhears a girl singing and sets out to find who the talented voice belongs to.