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High School Musical 3: Or Why Zac Efron is the Truth

Zac Efron is the future. Just get ready, because girls are gonna be swooning over him until he decides to do some serious acting. And once he makes that transition, he’s going to be damn good at it too. In the High School Musical films, we’ve got bland plots, catchy but corny songs, choreography ranging from pretty good to mediocre, and nothing new to report. The reason why these movies succeed so well? (Aside from the Disney promotion machine?) It’s Zac Efron. He’s a natural.

If any of you have seen these films, you’d be aware of the silly stuff that he has to do for 90-minute increments. He not only does them with a straight face, taking it totally seriously, but he sells you on it. There’s a number in HSM3 that begs to be mocked, where he struggles between a life of basketball and theatre, as he dances around his abandoned high school at night while thunder and lightning flash through the windows. You could say what he’s doing is cheesy, sure, but his sincerity shines through, and somehow, regardless of how ridiculous it is, you buy it. You never truly sit and get sucked into his story, but you can admire the skill on display, and you find yourself, shockingly enough, caring at times. As a jaded movie buff, it stuns me to report that I was tapping my toes and laughing at some jokes.

The reason why High School Musical 3 is the best of the bunch is not simply because Zac Efron continues to get better, both in execution of skill and his sense of sincere fun, but it’s crystal clear at the end of the film that this movie is not only the characters’ graduation, but the actors graduating from the parts. There’s a feeling of urgency, a last hurrah, that gives this film that extra push of honesty. The final moments, where the main six step in front of a curtain and wave goodbye, both as their characters’ graduations and their own graduations as actors from this franchise, one gets the sense that they’re no longer acting, but just revealing their actual emotions before the camera. Plus, I was surprised that it doesn’t simply seem like a big-budget TV movie; they use their money well, and take their choreography, camera work, and sets to a larger scale.

Regardless of your feelings on the films themselves– I’m sure they’re not the cup of tea of 98% of people who would read online movie criticism blogs– I just wanted to let those of you who haven’t seen Zac Efron before know that he really is quite good at what he does. He’s going to do the boy idol thing for several years, yearn for credibility, do a few transitional projects where he plays drug addicts or people with diseases (and play them well), then he’ll be a marquee star again as an adult, as a real actor. It’s not merely the idol status that draws comparisons to Leonardo DiCaprio… it’s the fact that this guy at a young age is earnest and immensely watchable, both of which point to a terrific career.

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~ by russellhainline on November 16, 2008.

One Response to “High School Musical 3: Or Why Zac Efron is the Truth”

  1. loves him

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