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Walt Disney Home Video presents
High School Musical: Remix Edition (2005)

Gabriella: Well, you sound like you've done a lot of singing too.
Troy: Yeah, my showerhead is very impressed.

- Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: January 18, 2007

Stars: Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens
Other Stars: Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grebeel, Alyson Reed, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Bart Johnson, Olesya Rulin, Chris Warren Jr., Ryne Sanborn
Director: Kenny Ortega

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (wholesome antics)
Run Time: 01h:37m:40s
Release Date: December 05, 2006
UPC: 786936722918
Genre: musical


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+AB D+

DVD Review

When I saw commercials for the January premiere of High School Musical on the Disney Channel (Yes, I watch the Disney Channel. No, I don't have kids. Shut up.), I thought it looked just dorky enough to TiVo, but I never got around to actually watching it. Looks like I was the only one—it has since become the channel's most popular program ever, attracting more than 10 million sets of eyeballs with subsequent re-airings and producing a soundtrack that has sold more than a million copies. At one time, its songs made up over half of the top ten iTunes downloads. A version has already been written for school theater groups, and plans are underway to send it to Broadway. Not bad for a relentlessly cheery, squeaky-clean tween take on Grease.

The plot is about as straightforward as the title. Adorable teens Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) meet at a party on New Year's Eve and are pushed into singing a karaoke duet, sealing their romantic comedy fate. The fact that they are from different states means little, since Gabriella is coincidentally transferred after Christmas break. They're kept apart not by social barriers (the Mouse is colorblind, you know), but by their commitment to extracurriculars. Troy is leading the basketball team to the championship and Gabby is running "math drills" for the academic decathlon.

Troy and Gabby are drawn together by, you guessed it, the high school musical, even though Troy thinks rehearsals might hurt the basketball team's chances (though I don't see why he cares, since the team's practices involve elaborately staged song and dance routines anyway—"You gotta get-cha, get-cha, get-cha, get-cha head in the game, and don't be afraid to shoot the outside J!"). Then there are the villains of the piece, siblings Sharpay and Ryan (Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel), who are used to being cast as the headliners in every musical (As romantic leads? Ew.), and vow to take down the lovebirds.

Directed and choreographed by Kenny Ortega, who has helmed episodes of TV shows like Gilmore Girls and served as choreographer for the trashy '80s time capsule Dirty Dancing, High School Musical never quite lets you forget it's a made-for-TV affair, but the production numbers are pretty neat, and the cast of Disney indentured servants is suitably chipper. Though they don't resemble any high school students I've ever encountered—everyone acts like they're in an orange juice commercial ("Hey, Sunny D! Thanks, mom!").

Who can say why the show has caught on? The songs are certainly catchy enough, with on-the-nose lyrics ("Everyone is special!") that tweens won't mind, or probably even notice, and the jock-brain romance is sweet, but it strikes me as no better or worse than most of what the Disney Channel produces (it's certainly got its share of non-humor "humor" cribbed from old sit-coms). But they know their market, and the tween crowd will no doubt lap up the forthcoming sequel(s). Meanwhile, look for the original on stage at a middle school near you.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Made for TV, High School Musical was shot full frame, but the transfer is still really nice looking. Colors are very bright and detail is good. The image is clean, free of print defects, digital artifacts, and edge enhancement.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The DD 5.1 audio does a good job of opening things up. The front soundstage handles most of the action, but the surrounds kick in to provide atmosphere and give the musical sequences some punch.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Music videos
  2. Dance-alongs
Extras Review: Hey, didn't you just buy your tweens High School Musical on DVD? Yeah, you did. But a few scant months later, Disney is re-releasing it in a "Remix Edition," not to be confused with the original "Encoure Edition."

So what does the double-dip get you? Not a whole lot. There's a seperate version of the film with a karaoke-style pop-up subtitle track, in case you really want to focus on the poetry. There's the Learning the Moves featurette from the other disc, as well as five "music videos," none of which run more than two minutes.

On Disc 2, you'll find most of the new stuff, which doesn't amount to much. The two-minute World Premiere advertises the first DVD release (sigh), A High School Musical Reunion features six-minutes of the cast reflecting on the film's success, Bringing It All Together is a nine-minute making-of that's heavy on the fluff, and Disney Channel Dance Alongs (16m:37s) stars really annoying kids who teach you dances they assure you are totally awesome.

You'll also find the usual Disney trailers, including one for, wait for it, High School Musical 2. Will it top Grease 2? Only time will tell. But... it wouldn't be too hard.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

High School Musical is fun and all, but I can hardly praise Disney for the way they've milked its surprise success. Releasing a gimmicky special edition/marketing ploy mere months after the first DVD is never cool, sending it out sans extras to at least justify the double-dip, less so. If karaoke is your thing, there's always subtitles.

 


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