A Review of The High School Musical Movie Franchise


Sydney McCabe and Addison Smitley

High School Musical is a fantastic work of art that will be forever cherished and beloved in the eyes of Sydney McCabe. Addison Smitley, on the other hand, is overall neutral and maybe a little bit negatively biased toward the 3 movie franchise. We both believe this will leave a balanced rating between the 2 of us because we cancel each other out a little. Hope you enjoy our viewpoints and opinions. (Sydney would also like to add if you disagree with her opinions you’re immediately invalid because HSM is and always will be a cinematic masterpiece.)

We’d like to start by sharing our ranking system, so you can understand what we mean. We are rating the following elements based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best and 1 being the worst. The elements are plot, characters, acting (including lip-syncing and singing), dancing, and songs. We will then give our unbiased opinions on why we ranked them the way we did. Then, we’ll state the overall (average) score. Finally, we’ll share our very biased opinions and rank the movies from best to worst overall.

Starting with the first movie, High School Musical 1, came out in 2006 starring Zac Effron (Troy Bolton), Vanessa Anne Hudgens (Gabriella Montez), Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay Evans), Lucas Grabeel (Ryan Evans), Chand Danforth (Corbin Bleu), and Olesya Rulin (Kelsi Nielson). Addison rated the plot 10/10, characters 6/10, acting 5/10, dancing 10/10, and songs 7 /10. Overall, Addison ended up with a rating of 6/10 for the first movie. She especially enjoyed the dancing and the plot with them being her top scores. Sydney rated the plot 8/10, the characters 6/10, the acting 6/10, the dancing 5.5/10, and the song 10/10. Overall 7.1/10, Sydney believes the lip-syncing isn’t good, specifically Gabriella’s. Troy’s dad (Bart Johnson) is a fairly good actor, she thinks; his character is very believable. The playmaker analogy greatly annoys her considering she plays basketball and the analogy doesn’t make sense.

Then, the second movie, High School Musical 2, came out a year later. Sydney rated the plot 9/10, characters 10/10, dancing 10/10, songs 9/10, and acting 7/10. Overall, the movie came to an 8/10. Sydney especially loved Ryan’s character development. She thinks Zac Effron’s acting greatly improved as she almost started to hate him when he became rude. It felt believable that he was changing. “Bet On It” is an amazing song that definitely makes the cut for most playlists; even if the whole scene is a little cringe-worthy. Sydney claims she doesn’t recall the “Hawaiian” song or the talent show almost at all even after seeing all the movies hundreds of times. Addison’s ratings are the following: plot 6/10, characters 7/10, dancing 10/10, songs 10/10, and acting 5/10. The overall score was 8/10. Her ranking was increased by 2 from the last. Where the dancing and songs come out on top. That was because they were enjoyable and at one point popular enough to be heard by her at least 3 times a day on social media.

Finally, the third movie, High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Addison’s thoughts and rankings are as stated: The overall score for the rating was a 4/10, and the dancing, songs, and plot were ranked the lowest. The characters were the best out of everything else, ranking around an 8/10. The only thing that was kept neutral was the acting, which came out to a 6/10. The dance was rated a 1/10 because personally, she thought it was all around the place. The songs were a 5/10 with no specific reason, other than the fact that they didn’t fit her taste. The plot was also rated a 5/10. Again, nothing stood out to her, and the plot didn’t seem to draw her in. Sydney’s numerical conclusion was that the plot was a 10/10, the characters 9.5/10 (Ryan is still awesome), the dancing 8/10 (there wasn’t as much as the first movies), the songs a 10/10 and the acting a 10/10 (almost entirely for Zac, he was great on the third movie!) Overall, the average score was 9.5/10. Gabriella’s acting was not great, and there’s a reason V. Hudgens mostly does Hallmark movies now; no hate for her because she was great at the height of her career. Sydney hates the scene where Chad (Corbin Bleu) asks Taylor (Monique Coleman) to go to prom with him. He was clearly uncomfortable and trying his best and being really sweet about it. Taylor was rather rude and inconsiderate. If she wanted a whole ordeal, she should’ve said something.

Before we conclude, Sydney likes to mention some random thoughts and opinions. She specifically liked that time felt relevant and that the characters had lives outside of school. They went home and slept and did things real humans do, like eat. Sometimes in movies, it feels like everything happened in one day when months were supposed to have passed. She would also like to mention how good-looking Chad is, at least during the movie series; now, however… we’ll just say he had a glow down, and he needs to bring the afro back. She also never considered herself a Zac Effron fan, but the 3rd movie changed that a little. She’d like to point out he’s fine too, especially back then. Sydney loves Sharpay’s outfit in the third movie when she confronts Troy by his locker about Gabriella’s Standford Honors Program.

Also, there’s a fourth movie that we’ve never heard of! Sharpay got a spinoff titled Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure! How could a die-hard HSM fan like Sydney go 14 years of life without hearing about this? It’s insane to think that she was deprived of a fourth, probably not as good, movie. Addison assumes that Sharpay’s spinoff will be amazing because she is blonde, Addison loves blonds.

All-in-all, Sydney enjoyed the movies, and they’ll always have a special place in her nostalgia-loving heart. Watching them again felt like looking through a scrapbook of all the past times she’s watched it. It was a great experience. Sydney believes they’re great movies that every kid should watch at least one time. Addison thinks that the merchandise and franchise are kinda sucky. No other comments, except that they should try a little harder and stop making the blondes the cliche mean popular girls.