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High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Deluxe Extended Edition
(Blu-ray)

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: G

Running Time: 117 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: $39.99

Features: Extended Version, Senior Awards, New Cast Profiles, BD-Live, Cast Goodbyes, Deleted Scenes, Bloopers, Night Of Nights, It's All In the Dress, Cast Goodbyes, Sing Along With The Movie, Digital Copy

Specs: 1.85:1 Widescreen 1080p High Definition, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection (17 Scenes), 3-Disc Set

Released: February 17th, 2009

 

 

"High School Musical 3: Senior Year" is presented in 1080p high definition, with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. This installment of the series was made for the big screen, and had a hefiter budget (in comparison to the first two), and you can definitely tell with this transfer. The film-like appearance is enhanced by a fine amount of film grain, that feels just right and doesn't come off as distracting. At the same time though, this is a low-budget family film, where lighting can be on the flat side, so perhaps the image doesn't "pop" as much compared to some other movies. 

Still, there's a lot to like about this transfer. Detail is really quite excellent, especially in the exterior backgrounds and in meta-musical numbers, where you can catch a lot of little bits of the dancers and sets. Color saturation is bold, and often pops with the multitude of colors in some sequences (and Sharpay's over-the-top outfits, of course). However, at times colors do smear a little and appear a bit unrefined. Fleshtones come off well too, but are also slightly flawed - sometimes the actors do have a pasty glow. Black levels are solid though, and the print used for the transfer appears blemish-free. In all, the overall picture quality is sharp and quite detailed, and does a good job of bringing the viewer into the world of East High. 

 

"High School Musical 3: Senior Year" gets the DTS-HD Master Audio treatment, in all its 5.1 glory. The music is definitely the high point of this track, and all the catchy pop tunes and ballads are done justice. The songs are given a lot of breathing room, and all the music is mixed creatively through the channels. Still, sometimes the sonic depth isn't quite there, as there is a lot of broadness in the mix - but it doesn't completely diminish things or the ambience. The music comes off loud enough to capture you, but not to the point where it overwhelms you. In short, what's here is effective and gets you into all the singing and dancing. 

Other than the music, surround effects deftly fill the channels at times - be it talking within the school halls, or the crowd at the opening basketball game. Even the junkyard song number brings in a few discrete effects. Dialogue is very crisp, clean and always easy to hear - none of the speaking dialogue gets lost within the track. Dynamic range is spread nicely and appropriately, while fidelity is rather high. Also, subwoofer use comes off as nice, and not too bombastic. This is a fitting track, and should certainly please all fans and viewers of this Blu-ray disc.


Also included is a standard 5.1 Dolby Digital track in Spanish, plus subtitles in English and Spanish.

 

There are a few supplements, all in high definition, which should please all fans of the movie. In addition to an Extended Version of the movie (which I know some of you are excited about, since there's a few more minutes to spend with your beloved Wildcats), the Blu-ray edition features a few exclusive supplements. Senior Awards looks back upon the cast of characters we've grown to love by awarding them a little something (i.e. Best Hair), while New Cast Profiles highlights the actors of the new characters, who are sure to be the center stage of the upcoming HSM4. Also, with BD-Live, you can chat with those you know, plus also post your own pictures. 

Sure to delight fans too are seven Deleted Scenes, with an introduction by director Kenny Ortega. Ortega doesn't really say much other than that cuts needed to be made for pacing reasons. The scenes total about 6 minutes, and there really isn't much here other than a few small moments between characters. Keeping the moments in the film wouldn't have hurt it, let alone dragged out the running time too much, but what's seen and said here is pretty much established elsewhere in the final cut. If you're a fan though, then I'm sure you'll go through the scenes multiple times.

It wouldn't be a DVD/Blu-ray without Bloopers, and there are 2 minutes and 45 seconds worth here. Some flubs are worth a chuckle, and that's it. Night Of Nights runs nearly 7-and-a-half minutes, and has the cast talking about one of the major events of high school: prom. Everything you know about prom from the movies, and also perhaps your real life, is spoken about here: finding a dress! Asking someone out! (But no "American Pie" style antics, of course.) From there, the cast and choreographers take us through the prom-inspired dance number and actual prom scene, and some uncomfortable movements that took place. Well-rounded, and as usual, the kiddies should love this. It's All In The Dress has costume designer Caroline Marx discuss and show the prom gowns made for the movie (with the female cast members, and Ortega, chiming in). This lasts a mere 2-and-a-half minutes.

Finally, there's Cast Goodbyes. Lasting nearly 6 minutes, Ortega and the cast reflect on the last chapter in this trilogy and the journey they went on together through the past several years. Some of the cast waxes meta - not just with the final shot of the curtain closing, but since they've grown together, how it felt like an actual graduation. Footage from the first two movies is briefly shown, but a bulk of this featurette has footage from the last day of shooting. Much of the cast discuss their sadness and how they'll miss everyone, but like the viewers who grew up with them, it's on to different things.

Also in this Deluxe Extended Edition is a Digital Copy of the film that can be played with iTunes or Windows Media, and a standard DVD copy of the movie as well.

 

If you own a Blu-ray player, and do enjoy or have someone in your family who enjoys the "High School Musical" franchise, then this is the way to go for this third entry of the series. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is pretty rocking, while the high definition transfer is pretty superb. Supplements are a bit on the light side, but fans of the series should eat them up anyway (plus, there are a few extras that are Blu-ray exclusive). And not only do you get the Blu-ray disc, but also a Digital Copy and copy of the film on standard DVD, too. In all, this is a solid package for families and HSM fans alike where you get plenty of bang for your buck. Goodbye for now, Wildcats... until the next generation of them arrives for the already-in-the-works fourth installment.