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High School Musical 2

review by Zach B.

 

 

TV Rating: G

Running Time: 111 minutes

Starring: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Mark L. Taylor, Bart Johnson, Robert Curtis Brown, Jessica Tuck, Alyson Reed, Christopher Warren Jr. Ryne Sanborn, Olesya Rulin, Kaycee Stroh, Tanya Chisholm

Written by: Peter Barsocchini

Directed by: Kenny Ortega

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Bloopers, Exclusive Scene, Music Videos, Rehearsal Cam, Sing-Along Track, Karaoke Track

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Scene Selection (20 Scenes)

Released: December 11th, 2007

 

 

Just as it aired on The Disney Channel, "High School Musical 2" is presented in 1.33:1 full screen. (Though if you're an adult fan, you might be happy to know that the movie is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen on Blu-Ray disc.) This isn't a perfect transfer, but then again, I don't think the kids will care. Contrast is turned way up here, resulting in lots of noise that is quite distracting. Everything else is merely adaquete, including detail and fleshtones. Color saturation is a bit better than those elements, but not by much. The movie has a bland brightness, but only here and there do the colors pop out. Overall, this is a watchable and good transfer - but nothing quite glorious. And again I ask: will a single child notice or even care about any of this?

 

I have to say, the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track was much more flat than I was expecting. The movie's key selling point is the music, and it seems like for the most part, all the songs were mixed on an even level. I didn't detect a lot of aggressiveness or bounce within the songs, as a lot of the music's power came from the front channels. I felt like a lot of the musical elements in the songs weren't divided well enough between the channels, and that everything sorta mismashed together. Maybe it's all because this is how the iPod generation is used to the songs already?

As shockingly unsatisfying the music is on the track, things don't get much better. There isn't a lot of subwoofer use, and surrounds weren't existent. Dialogue in the speaking portions were clear and easy to hear, however.

Also included are 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks in French and Spanish, and English subtitles.

 

Not too much. There's a 4 minutes worth of Bloopers, which are really just line-flubs or choreography that doesn't pan out. There's the Exclusive Scene, which is a cringeworthy musical number that was thankfully cut. Also on board are four Music Videos, all from different regions: two are of "You Are The Music In Me" - one for the USA and the other for Mexico, and there are Canadian-English and Canadian-French versions of "Gotta Go My Own Way." This is a great way to see young talent in other countries being exploited.

The most interesting feature on the disc is the Rehearsal Cam, where you get to see behind-the-scenes footage of every song from the movie (even the cut one) being rehearsed. These last a few minutes each, and viewers learn from these snippets that putting together song-and-dance routines for low-budget TV movies can be hard and repetitive work.

Finally, even though they are listed as extra features, I'm really not sure how much they count: two sing-along versions of the movie. Both have subtitles while the songs play, yet one track has the cast's vocals and other track does not (karaoke, essentially).

You just know that this is the first of many "High School Musical 2" DVD incarnations. So unless the kids are clamoring for it, you may want to hold off. Then again, I'm sure they'll want to own every version, anyway.

 

"High School Musical 2" is critic-proof, even from someone like me. (Shocking, I know.) I'm sure as I write this that the DVD has already sold millions, and as a whole, this disc is nothing extraordinary: the presentation is pretty decent, and the bonus features are fluff. Basically, the target market of this movie should be thrilled with what's here, and I'm sure they'll be even more thrilled when another DVD edition of the movie gets released down the line. Too bad Mom and Dad won't have the same enthusiasm when they come to the realization they'll be buying the same movie twice.