The introduction of the High School Musicals. The beginning of the plot, the cast, the embarrassing teenage life and struggles. The beginning of Gabriella leaving and coming back. The tales of East High School. From the beginning. All the way back to 2006 where they look so young, so many baby faces. The beginning of the High School Musical craze. It was a craze much alike to the one of ‘Frozen’, yet a craze I was young for. I can’t say I never knew all the words to every song in this movie, because that would be a lie… To be honest, it’s an enjoyable film, and I definitely loved it as a child, and I watched it recently, still knowing most of the words, and embarrassingly remembering parts of the final dance… However, a new development to this film for me was the discovery that it’s not actually Zac Efron singing in this film! Well he sings like an occasional line, but apparently due to this voice being too low or something, it’s actually Drew Seeley singing, and I apologise for saying so because it is so obvious once you know the truth… Although, it’s back to full Zac Efron in the other movies, don’t worry.
As the first High School Musical, there is the introduction of the cast. The cast we get to know so well from all the other films. Beginning with Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) of course. At a “young adults” party, they are forced to sing together during a New Year’s Eve karaoke. Meeting each other in the weirdest circumstance, and what happens next when school returns? Well only Gabriella is transferred to the same school as Troy, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at East High School. We are then introduced to the other characters, all in their particular group and when Gabriella joins the school, she upsets the status quo. As apparently everyone must only be able to do one thing; Troy’s singing is frowned upon by his friends, Zeke’s (Chris Warren) dreams of baking the perfect crème brûlée are denied, even Martha’s (KayCee Stroh) hip hop dancing is discouraged. Anyway, we meet the basketball team; most significantly, Troy’s best friend, Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu), and Coach Bolton, Troy’s father (Bart Johnson). This film is the beginning of the discovery of Zac Efron’s basketball playing. Then in a different group heading towards the Scholastic Decathlon, we meet Taylor (Monique Coleman). Finally, the drama club, meeting the Evans twins, Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) and Ryan (Lucas Grabeel). Of course, the drama club is a major part of the film, with the Spring Musical, one we actually never know what it’s about, but with a mix of extremely different songs and random props… The composer Kelsi (Olesya Rulin) and the teacher Ms Darbus (Alyson Reed), two great additions as well. As you can see a full cast and a wide range. The best thing is the cast have a great chemistry and do work well together, even if you hate High School Musical.
Personally, I enjoy the songs, they’re upbeat and fun. But I guess it is one of those films you either love or hate and that goes with the songs as well. But I guarantee those who have seen this film would secretly have a song stuck in their head, whether it’s ‘We’re All In This Together’, ‘Bop To The Top’, ‘Stick To The Status Quo’, ‘Breaking Free’, or ‘What I’ve Been Looking For’. There’s a combination in this film of when the songs appear. Because of the Spring Musical, there are songs within the plot, but additionally, there are songs outside the plot, when they all break out into song like a musical does, at the most random places. But who doesn’t love that? Random singing and dancing during lunch time, why not?
I have to admit, this is a cringe-worthy film. The embarrassments and struggles of teenage life, I guess. There are moments of awkwardness, but regardless there are moments of comedy, stupidity giggles. Or even bafflement that Sharpay couldn’t see Gabriella in the girls’ toilets at school when she was hiding behind a wall Sharpay looked behind… Anyway… Ms Darbus is a great character, her blunt harshness is funny; her character should be appreciated. There are some interesting outfits in this film. I was about 10 when this film came out, and there were some interesting fashion choices… Glad that’s evolved now. The film resembles an adorable (yet cringey) school romance between Troy and Gabriella. And the first film is the origins of Sharpay’s crazy jealousy and the introduction of her self-absorbed character.
Yes, this film is cheesy. So cheesy! Like overboard. But you know what? It’s enjoyable. It’s a small escapism with some great poppy songs and original couple goals from Troy and Gabriella. Yeah I get it splits the audience, but it’s one of those films and I appreciate that. But hey what’s wrong with a little bit of a cheesy film now and again? It’s the original one! You can’t watch the others without this one! Besides what team?! Come on, I know you know…