December 20, 2007 by Marshal Rosenthal
Sequels sometimes score big if they: 1) don’t take too much of a leap away from the first, 2) manage to showcase some originality, and 3) maintain the charm that made the first outing successful. That’s certainly true here and even if summer vacation is intruding upon High School hijinks, there’s little doubt that music and romance will rule the day. Of course singing and dancing teenagers isn’t what I remember from high school, but you can get your reality dosage outside so let’s just sit back and enjoy, OK? The romantic leads are bright and bubbly and besides it’s fun to pretend that things could ever be like this. And hooray for family fair that doesn’t completely reject the different age groups seated before the screen.
Every character sparkles in this film and each scene is packed with color and a brilliance that really pushes towards the kind of quality “view” that you’d expect to find in the theater. The Blu-ray package has the kids jumping out at you excitedly and the production values do the same - considering its made-for-cable roots, you wouldn’t expect 1080p resolution to be so in your face, but there’s no complaining because it truly emphasizes the exuberance that you can now view at home.
Certainly you need a dynamic audio track to push out the performances, and it’s provided here with plenty of oomph - although most probably won’t be using analog outputs to transfer the PCM tracks and will be relying on HDMI to do the deed or just rely on Dolby Digital (sweeten your settings to favor the vocals but don’t pull back on the subwoofer). Those who persevere will gain a wider soundfield and the kind of surround ambience that is deserved here. It just adds to the fun.
The extras revolve around the musical themes. There’s games and karaoke mated with music videos and a blooper reel - my favorite addition being the “Rehearsal Cam” for watching footage of the dance rehearsal in sync with the film. One extra is disguised; a musical scene which was only seen as a rehearsal in the broadcast now integrated into the movie. It’s a nice touch that again shows that Disney goes the extra effort rather than just “tossing” in the extras on their discs.
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Disc Specs and Credits
Format reviewed: Blu-ray
Disc Size: N/A
Aspect Ratio: 1080p, 1.78:1
Audio: PCM 5.1
Director: Kenny Ortega
Starring: Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Mark L. Taylor, Bart Johnson, Robert Curtis Brown, Jessica Tuck, Alyson Reed, Chris Warren Jr., Ryne Sanborn, Olesya Rulin, Kaycee Stroh
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
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