What does the next generation think of today’s issues? The Big Smoke’s Next Gen program publishes Australian students mentored by TBS writers. Today, Giselle Atlas (12) puts forward the case that High School Musical is the greatest film trilogy of our time.



Student: Giselle Atlas (12)
Mentor: Valerie Buhajiar
Topic: Why Disney’s High School Musical is the greatest film trilogy ever!

Whether you were a parent in 2006, or if you were born in the early 2000s, you have to have watched High School Musical at least once. If you haven’t, I beg you to stop and go watch it, you’ll have the time of your life. But a lot of people do not like High School Musical because of its songs, characters, storyline, the fact that it’s a Disney channel film or that they will seem “not cool” if they admit to liking it. But I beg to differ. High School Musical is a trilogy that deserves to be put on a cinematic pedestal – today we are going to be analysing why High School Musical is one of the most amazing movie trilogies of all time.

Let’s start with the first film. It opens with a karaoke bar setting and a bunch of high school kids who we can assume are in year 11. The second film is all about their summer holiday and of course the third film is relying on the fact that it is Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Kelsey, Chad and Ryan’s senior year. Then as you will know, Troy and Gabriella are picked at random out of the crowd to sing karaoke together, and they sing the song Start of Something New, the first of many great details in the series.

If you read or just listen to the lyrics you can hear:

This could be the start of something new
It feels so right to be here with you, oh
And now, looking in your eyes
I feel in my heart (I feel in my heart) the start of something new
Oh, yeah.

This song sets up the whole story. It is beautifully written, just to drop an Easter egg of sorts as to what will happen throughout the rest of the films. But, I hear you say, “it’s so cliché and predictable”. And yes, it may be cliché, but this song is written like someone has gone into the future of the series and seen Troy and Gabriella’s fate and knows that they will “thank him someday”. Now does that quote ring any bells? If you have watched the film as much as I have you’ll know that quote is from the guy who picks Troy and Gabriella out of the crowd. He could have only known if somehow he had seen their future.

Let’s move on to the middle and ending of the first film. One of the most well known songs in the movie is Stick to the Status Quo. In this song we hear Zeke, Martha and “Skater Dude” talk about things they enjoy that are not normal and could possibly hurt their reputation. This song is not only amazing because of the choreography, portrayal of actual things that happen in schools (minus the dancing) and great songs, it adds to the feeling of “why can’t I do this and that?” which Troy has throughout the series. We can see that a lot of the students are afraid to break out of their shells because they fear what other kids will think.

Then in the end we see that Troy decides he doesn’t care what others think. He follows his dreams and performs with Gabriella, showing the other kids that they too need to be themselves. Now that is a great message. All my life my dad has been talking to me about being myself and not caring what other kids think. Sadly, it sounds a lot better when Troy says it.

And at the end of the film they all band together to sing We’re All in This Together and then we move to the second film.

The second film is the least important in the trilogy (they always are aren’t they?), but it is critical in some respects. First, it’s a great escape movie, in the sense that if you have had a bad day you can watch it and escape from your troubles. Secondly, it helps paint Sharpay as the villain and show how her actions of promoting Troy and giving him opportunities affects his relationships with Gabriella and his friends.

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Next, the main event: High School Musical 3: Senior Year! This instalment, of course, follows Troy, Gabriella, Chad, Sharpay, Ryan and all their friends as they try to grapple with the concept that is their future.

In the first scene we see Troy and the Wildcats at their final ever basketball game for the seniors against the West High Knights. They have 16 minutes left on the board to win and Troy decides to let “Rocket Man”, an underdog, onto the court. “Rocket Man” scores and therefore makes the Wildcats number one. The first message of this film is do not underestimate people.

Throughout the film we see that Gabriella decides to move away to Stanford, therefore being away from Troy. Gabriella feels as if Troy will be upset so she says she’ll study at the University of Albuquerque. Troy tells Gabriella to not stop following her dreams because of him. So we can assume that Gabriella goes on to be successful throughout her life.

High School Musical is not just a Disney channel film with amazing choreography, music and cast: it sends a message to kids, teens, adults, people of all ages. The message? That you don’t have to stick to the status quo, you can break free and find your calling, not just be what society wants you to be.

It does this without CGI, Yoda, Dumbledore or even some wise inspirational “seize the day” type teacher. It shows young people just basically working it out for themselves. Oh, and it has a happy ending – who doesn’t love that?

And that, my friends, is why High School Musical is the best movie trilogy of all time.


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