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Reckoning

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HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR

SYNOPSIS:
East High seniors Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) are facing the prospect of being separated from one another as they head off in different directions to college. Joined by the rest of the Wildcats who have just won their basketball championship, they stage an elaborate spring musical reflecting their experiences, hopes and fears about their future.

Review by Louise Keller:
With an effervescent burst of red and white, this joyful and energetic musical set in the senior year of high school explodes onto the big screen in fine style. From basketball to prom night, it's all just an excuse for the talented young cast to sing and dance in imaginatively choreographed and spectacular routines. There's a likeable freshness about the entire production in the capable hands of director Kenny Ortega; and Zac Efron, with looks that understandably prompt young girls to overheat, is star material in his central role of Troy.

It is not hard to notice Efron's appeal from the first scene in which he is shown in tight close up, dark hair tousled and baby blue eyes imbued with sincerity. He is on the basketball court with the other Wildcats, sweat pouring off his athletic frame. As there are only 16 minutes left for the team to make their bid for the trophy, it is reason enough for the first extravagant dance routine, complete with cheerleaders and wildly enthusiastic spectators. We quickly learn that Troy's heart belongs to the lovely Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens, appealing), the girl with flowers in her hair, who wishes everything would slow down. They sing sweet nothings to each other in a tree-house, waltz on the rooftop in the teeming rain and make take-away pizza look romantic.

The story is not original, but by focusing on issues that all teenagers know only too well (such as career choices, friendships and finding that special person who inspires them), it is accessible. Corbin Bleu is splendid as Troy's best friend Chad Danforth (they dance up a storm together) and I especially like their lively caryard routine, leaping on bonnets and surrounded by old tyres and cars. Ashley Tisdale is also commendable as the bitchy, ambitious blonde in pink, Sharpay Evans, whose running animosity with Jemma McKenzie-Brown's Tiara Gold provides good fun. I felt quite energised after watching this contagious, colourful and uplifting musical that merges fantasy and reality together with such zest that we suddenly feel the sky is the limit - and a blue sky at that.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR (G)
(US, 2008)

CAST: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Bart Johnson, Alyson Reed, Olsya Rulin, Chris Warren jr, Ryne Sanborn, KayCee Stroh, Matt Propkop

PRODUCER: Bill Borden, Barry Rosenbush

DIRECTOR: Kenny Ortega

SCRIPT: Peter Barsocchini

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daniel Aranyo

EDITOR: Seth Flaum

MUSIC: David Lawrence

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mark Hofeling

RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: WDS

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 4, 2008







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