High School Musical (2006) (part 12 of 12)
Kelsi starts playing, and Gabriella takes the mic. There’s one last snafu, however: Gabriella gets a deer-in-the-headlights look, and can’t sing a word. Thankfully, a girl out in the crowd helps out the slow children by yelling, “She has stage fright?!”
She tells Troy she can’t sing with “all these people staring at me!” Terrific. And I’m just imagining Troy standing at the free throw line going, “I can’t do this with all you people staring at me!” Suck it up, Gaby!
Gabriella wants to bail out of there, despite the massive Rube Goldberg-like scheme that got them to this point. But Troy tells her to think back to the first time they sang together. He adds, “Like kindergarten.” See how it all comes together neatly in the end?
Kelsi starts playing again, and somehow, somebody backstage knows that they really mean it this time, because a painted backdrop is lowered, with a nighttime city skyline. I wonder if the stagehand is the same guy who operates the bell.
And strangely, Troy is the one who sings the first line. So… why was Gabriella the one starting things off last time?
Troy sings that they’re soaring and flying. And the first few lines are definitely Zac and not that other guy. You can tell by the douchey enunciation: “We’re soooar-ehhhn, flaaaay-yehhhn!” He sings that “there’s not a star in heaven that we can’t reach”. Gabriella jumps in with her part, and this duet is fully cheesy in all aspects: the singing, the lyrics, the dancing, the little twinkly stars in the backdrop, it all adds up to one huge stinking pile of hideous.
The song is called “Breaking Free”, and according to the lyrics, “the world can see us in a way that’s different than who we are”. Also, that same world creates “space between us”, making them “separate hearts”, and none of it makes any sense, but they are in fact soarin’ and flyin’. And as soon as they hit the chorus, a whole invisible band comes out of nowhere, complete with drums and guitars and everything. And now the whole crowd is rocking out to the moderate tempo beat.
Troy and Gabriella are now soarin’, flyin’, as well as runnin’, climbin’, and breakin’ free, all in one song. Troy does totally unnecessary moonwalking. I mean, seriously, why? They get to the bridge, and out in the crowd, Chad actually stands up and starts clapping along to the beat. Stop that, Chad. Please. It’s for your own good.
Coach Dad enters and watches from the shadows like Darth Sidious. MILFy Mom also enters, and looks on from the back of the auditorium as well.
Now Troy and Gabriella are really breaking free, and their psychological state is dramatized via a big crescent moon descending from the rafters. Because you can’t really break free until you get a special visit from Mac Tonight!
Now Gabriella is spinning, as well as soaring, and the whole crowd is rocking out, and even Darbus is busting a move in her own Hepburn-esque way.
According to the lyrics, Troy and Gabriella are really, really breaking free, and they are totally serious about it. Breaking free from what, I have no idea. They end on a quiet note, and the crowd goes wild. So, I guess this means they… got the parts? Or did everybody forget that this is actually just an audition?
This seems a tad bit unfair. Nobody was there to see Ryan and Sharpay bop to the top. And regardless, that was a much lamer song. Shouldn’t auditioners have to, I don’t know, sing the same song?
Troy kisses Gabriella for the first time, but only on the cheek, of course. Kelsi takes a bow, and then motions to a stagehand in the wings. He pulls a rope, and in one of this movie’s few artiste moves, the backdrop lifts up to reveal the basketball court, where the team is already back in the game. Did you catch the clever, inspired transition there? Bravo, Mr. Ortega! Bravo!
After maybe half a minute of this, Troy makes the game-winning jump shot. And I’d say I couldn’t care less, but it seems the movie cares even less than me, because almost nothing is made of this moment. Sure, there’s the expected celebration on the court, but it doesn’t last long. After all this buildup, I think we at least deserved a slow motion shot of the ball flying through the air, and slowly circling the rim before going in. But nope, we get nada. No es suave!
Coach Dad suddenly has a trophy that looks like a huge Golden Globe, and he gives it to Troy to triumphantly raise over his head. A few guys lift Troy up on their shoulders, and give us one last “What team! Wildcats!” chant, and at long last, our final, 35th occurrence of “Getcha head in the game!” Wow! I survived to count them all! It’s a miracle!
Of course, this chant doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, given that the game is over. If you ask me, Troy should really be getting his head into getting wasted and/or laid tonight.
Coach Dad hugs him. Ms. Darbus teleports in, and congratulates him. And up runs Gabriella, now in a hot little red dress. Sheesh. Like Troy doesn’t have enough going for him at this particular moment. And when did she find time to change? And why would she?
They frolic together and nearly kiss, but the camera yanks us over to Chad and Taylor. Out of the blue, Chad asks Taylor out. Well, at least I can’t accuse the film of heavy-handed foreshadowing here. So there are some positives.
Instead of saying yes or no, Taylor immediately runs over to Gabriella, and pulls her away from Troy to share the news. By the way, this whole scene is going at a breakneck speed, as every second and third-tier character needs to run in to wrap up his or her plot thread.
Sharpay enters and gives Gabriella sincere congratulations. Meaning, of course, that her soul has finally been redeemed.
And then Zeke hits on Sharpay again. She ignores him again. He tries to impress her with some cookies he baked, but Ryan intercepts the bag of pastries. Yoink! No love for Zeke.
And now Kelsi comes in. She’s also changed clothes, and yowza. She’s showing off quite a bit of skin right now. Did I call it or what?
Troy hands her the “game ball” and says, “You deserve it, playmaker!” And the crowd goes wild! Kelsi walks away with the ball, and Random Basketball Player comes up, and whips the bowler off her head to let down her hair and make her all hot. He then helps her shoot the ball, and I have to amend my earlier comment about HSM fanfic. As it turns out, this guy (named “Jason”, like I would ever know that from the movie) is the one who actually hooks up with Kelsi in fanfic. It seems Troy/Kelsi is totally off-limits, because as everyone knows, Troy and Gabriella are the OTP.
And now the drum squad starts playing the beat from “Hollaback Girl”. Meaning it’s time for the last big group singalong/dance number! Everybody in the gym gets into formation, and they all dance and sing about how awesome it is to be together, and how they’re always here for each other.
Troy sings that it’s “time for celebration”, and their “dreams have no limitations”, and he dances with every girl in sight. Gabriella sings about how they all “make each other strong” as she dances with the entire male half of the school. She sings that they’re all “different”, but “in a good way”. Not like those sexual deviants over at West High.
Now everybody’s in lockstep, singing that they’re “all in this together”, and they’re “all stars”, and so forth. The title of this song, as you might have guessed, is “We’re All in This Together”.
Ryan is up in the bleachers, doing some very strange pelvic thrusting. By which I mean, it’s only strange if you haven’t already been exposed to Ryan’s dancing. To everyone else, it’s par for the course. And then he jumps in with his own solo, singing about how they’re “gonna rock the house”. If it hasn’t happened yet, I’m not holding my breath for this house to get rocked in the final three minutes.
Then things get weird. Ryan basically stage dives into the crowd, and they all hold him way up in the air, forming a human tunnel for Sharpay to pass through.
Sharpay gets a solo, singing about how “we stuck together”. What does she mean, “we”? She stops being a bitch with ten seconds left on the clock, and now she’s suddenly taking credit for everybody being stars and sticking together? Sharpay is like a coolness carpetbagger.
But again, they’re all in this together, and they’re all stars, so why be judgmental? And then they break things down in the middle. They start chanting that the Wildcats “really got it goin’ on” and that they often do various positive things, including but not limited to “wav[ing] your hands in the air”. And that, my friends, is the way they do it.
And now the chanting stops, so we can watch everybody dance in pairs, so they can all show off how they do, in fact, really got it goin’ on. And then comes the final chorus of the song, where they just repeat everything, only with more people on the court, and people waving streamers in the background, etc.
At the end of the song comes a total musical theater move: Everybody pairs up, and they all walk off “stage” arm in arm: Gabriella walks off arm in arm with Troy. Ryan links arms with Sharpay. Chad walks off with Taylor, Kelsi with Random Basketball Dude, Random Girl with Random Dude, and then, I guess they run out of pairs, because everybody else just starts freestyling all over the place. Well, mostly just Fat Nerd Girl. Thankfully, the world didn’t kill her popping and locking spirit, after all.
During the credits, Ms. Darbus dances with the school mascot. Hilarious!
Also in the credits, we learn that the songs were written by about six different teams of songwriters. No surprise there, really. I wasn’t exactly hearing the presence of the next Rodgers and Hammerstein in this movie’s book.
One of these songwriting teams includes Robbie Nevil, and for you young’ins, Robbie had a couple of dance hits back in the ’80s, most notably “C’est La Vie”. But now he’s fully sold his soul to Disney, and he even co-wrote the theme song to Hannah Montana.
And that’s the end of the movie. Well, except for a Monk’s Reward scene where Zeke is standing alone in the gym. In a long shot, Sharpay comes running into the gym and screams, “These cookies are genius!” I like to scream that myself, too, sometimes. It lets off a lot of stress.
She also screams, “The best I ever tasted!” What, does she want to start a franchise? She asks Zeke to make more cookies for her, and then she charges at him with a crazed look in her eyes, running through a big pile of balloons to get to him.
He replies, “I might even make you a crème brulée!” And the guy practically winks at the camera, just like Inscrutable Sulu. And I’m almost positive there’s some kind of sexual innuendo to be extracted from the phrase “crème brulée”, but I haven’t figured it out yet.
And that’s it. There’s the production credit for “Salty Pictures”. Ew. Is that the best name they could think of?
And there you have it: the launching of a massive, multi-million dollar franchise.
I won’t say much about High School Musical 2. It’s really not necessary. It has almost the same plot, but instead of Troy having to decide between basketball and singing, he has to decide between basketball and his friends. Can you guess which one he chooses? Hint: It’s the wrong choice. Sharpay turns evil again, despite her redemption. And regardless of the title, the second movie doesn’t even take place at the high school—it involves the Whole Gang working at a summer resort.
But the second movie was surely just a warm-up for High School Musical 3: Senior Year, where all the real questions will finally be answered. Specifically: Can Troy’s hair get any shinier? Can Gabriella’s face get any blanker? Is it possible for this cast to get any more all in this together-er? Can they all be all stars-ier? The anticipation might just kill me.