High School Musical 3: Laguna Beach!

August 18, 2009

High School Musical 3
Directed by Kenny Ortega
Written by Peter Barsocchini
Starring Zac Efron, Vannesa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, etc.
2008, Walt Disney Studios/Productions; 112 minutes.

***

VIVE LA NEPOTISMEDisney’s magnum opus. A masterful culmination of modern pop-culture, revealing its true face. Unfortunately, behind the mask, pop-culture is looking pretty busted.

Disney’s reputation was intially built on high-quality, hand-drawn, animated features. But in the past 20+ years they’ve ditched the association with cartoons to become a powerful pan-media conglomerate: a Pixar production firm, a Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli butcher-shop (check out Ponyo to hear Miley Cyrus’ little sister and Jonas Brother X’s voice-acting debuts), a tween-pop stable for breeding child actors into adulthood — whose financial souls are, early on, signed away for the rest of their lives (note the pink Mickey Mouse ears that always surround the Jonas Brothers’ official logo).

As you might have surmised from your own detective work, this movie caters to teenage girls. The film snares its audience with blatant emotional appeals of high-strung romance — not unlike the Disney interpretations of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, but contextualized within a modern high-school setting that looks like it could be real (if you’re super-duper rich, white, straight, and good-looking) but is not at all possible within the social laws of the universe. So we have this weird fantasy imposed upon the most confusing social environment most of us ever had to navigate, with the novelty of being a pop-song musical.

It seems to be a continuation of the way traditional Disney movies always venerated the white princess fantasy: the love story is only about ditzy, straight, white people — the ubermenschen whom the inferior folk respect and serve because they’re the only beautiful creatures who deserve to be happy. Black, gay or nerdy characters in this high school are like Sebastien the crab and Flounder the fish in The Little Mermaid — sidekicks to be abandoned once the goal of human metamorphosis is achieved (are you following me here?). Love conquers all because it grinds all other relationships into the mud.

To cater this film to the basest insecure female high-school fantasy is logical, because it’s nailing two birds with one rock. As we all know, most young guys compromise their personality and interests in order to appeal to attractive girls and get in their pants. Thus going to see High School Musical 3 in the movie theater is a mandatory activity for any boy catering to a teen girl’s interests. It’s something no teenage boys are going to disagree with attending; it’s a necessary base to round on the way towards a jailbait home-run. Who can disagree with that logic? No one can even if they want to, because it’s science.*

On the other hand, this movie markets shitty fake high school so much, I figured it must be some kind of intentional self-parody or else it would be openly inviting violent outbursts from all the miserable grade-school students it alienates (if any of them still have a soul after seeing this). I’d say more on the subject, but South Park already isolated that point in a funny episode, so my super-heroic social polemics have already been taken care of.

However, I was non-ironically entertained throughout the film, though I felt afterwards like I had just eaten a bag of candy.

@ Amazon
@ IMDb

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2 Responses to “High School Musical 3: Laguna Beach!”


  1. revealing~!

    what brought you to this movie out of curiosity?

  2. moviemasher Says:

    HBO at 5 am, brah! I got the subscription.


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