HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR – DELUXE EXTENDED EDITION (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
February 8, 2009 by Dennis Amith
“With a bigger budget, better production and awesome set and costume design, ‘HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR’ is easily the best of the three ‘High School Musical’ films. The transfer to Blu-ray is excellent in picture quality and audio quality and is fully loaded with special features and easter eggs! Highly enjoyable, catchy music, exciting choreography and all-out fun!“
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TITLE: HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR – DELUXE EXTENDED EDITION
DURATION: 117 minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48kHz/24-bit), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
RATED: G (General Audience)
Release Date: February 17, 2009
Directed by Kenny Ortega
Produced by Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush
Written by Peter Barsocchni
Executive Producer: Kenny Ortega
Director of Photography: Daniel Aranyo, AEC
Production Designer: Mark Hofeling
Film Editor: Don Bruchu
Costume Designer: Caroline B. Marx
Choreographed by: Kenny Ortega, Charles Klapow, Bonnie Story
Music by David Lawrence
Co-Produced by Don Schain
Zac Efron as Troy Bolton
Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella Montez
Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay Evans
Lucas Grabeel as Ryan Evans
Corbin Bleu as Chad Danforth
Monique Coleman as Taylor McKessie
Bart Johnson as Coach Jack Bolton
Alyson Reed as Ms. Darbus
Olesya Rulin as Kelsi Nielsen
Chris Warren Jr. as Zeke Baylor
Ryne Sanborn as Jason Cross
KayCee Stroh as Martha Cox
Matt Prokop as Jimmie Zara
Justin Martin as Donny Dion
Jemma McKenzie-Brown as Tiara Gold
The Wildcats awesome celebration is better than ever on Blu-ray Disc, with mind-blowing visuals, theater-quality sound and bonus features you can’t see anywhere else! It’s the greatest High School Musical yet, complete with an exclusive, extended version of the film, DisneyFile digital download, bloopers and much more!
It’s almost graduation day for high school seniors Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Chad, Ryan and Taylor – add the thought of heading off in separate directions after leaving East High has them thinking they need to do something they’ll remember forever. Together with the rest of the Wildcats, they stage a spring musical reflecting their hopes and fears about the future and their unforgettable experiences growing up together. Will their final show break them apart or bring them together for the greatest moment in Wildcat history?
Your favorite characters come alive on Blu-ray Hi-Def! Fresh from the big screen, this fully loaded edition is nonstop entertainment the whole family will love.
An enjoyable, fun film courtesy of a bigger budget, better production, stage and lighting, this is the best “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL” film of the three. The transfer on to Blu-ray is excellent in picture and audio quality and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment really went all out with this “Deluxe Extended Edition” release.
With the previous two films debuting on the Disney Channel, “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR” was the first of the three films to go on the big screen and eventually having the largest opening weekend for a musical film ever earning $42 million in North America and $40 million overseas in its first three days of release. Opening at #1 and also having solid sales with its musical soundtrack.
The film follows a group of friends who attend East High School in New Mexico and sport their Wildcat pride. They are:
Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) – The star jock of the Wildcats Basketball team. In previous films, his interest in Gabriella Montez leads him to become part of the drama class and eventually becoming both a jock and drama star. Now in his Senior Year, everyone is preparing for life after high school and he is not sure if he wants to continue with playing basketball or focus on acting. Especially when his name had been submitted to Julliard.
Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) – Girlfriend of Troy and has always been an intelligent student at East High and also the lead actress in the school plays. Has been given an opportunity to attend the University of Stanford but her love for Troy makes her want to stay in New Mexico and attend the UofA.
Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) – The rich girl who has always wanted the top spot and looks at Gabriella as a rival. Likes Troy but has always been unsuccesful getting close to him. Her twin brother is Ryan. One of the people submitted for Julliard consideration.
Ryan Evans (Lucas Grabeel) – In the beginning, has always tried to help her sister in her schemes but starts to become really dedicated to the musical and gets involved. One of the people submitted for Julliard consideration.
Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu) – Troy’s best friend and the other star of the East High Wildcasts basketball team. Believes he and Troy will go to UofA together to play basketball. Dates Taylor.
Taylor McKessie (Monique Coleman) – Gabriella’s best friend and always involved in school and her future. Intelligent, conservative and independent. Dates Chad.
Coach Jack Bolton (Bart Johnson) – The head coach of the Wildcats basketball team and always thought of his son Troy playing in college basketball at UofA.
Ms. Darbus (Alyson Reed) – The dedicated drama teacher and always interested in taking her stars of her musicals to the highest level.
Kelsi Nielsen (Olesya Rulin) – Known for composing the music and creating the lyrics for the musicals. One of the people submitted for Julliard consideration.
Zeke Baylor (Chris Warren Jr.) – The tall basketball player but also known for his cooking. All he wants is to go to the prom with Sharpay.
Jason Cross (Ryne Sanborn) – A Wildcat basketball player who tends to get himself in trouble and is trying to graduate East High School.
Martha Cox (KayCee Stroh) – The enthusiastic and peppy friend and cheerleader.
Jimmie Zara (Matt Prokop) – The freshman who idolizes Troy and joins the basketball team and also becomes Troy’s understudy for the musical.
Donny Dion (Justin Martin) – A freshman and Jimmie’s best friend.
Tiara Gold (Jemma McKenzie-Brown) – A rich girl from England who becomes Sharpay’s assistant.
The title of “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR” marks the graduation of the main characters who have graced all three films and also a passing of the torch to the new characters. The musical is about high school senior angst. The emotions that come of applying to several colleges, finding out what one wants to do after graduating high school, knowing that relationships in high school do not continue afterwards and knowing that everyone will go their separate ways.
This year’s musical theme is “Senior Year” in which the group will be playing themselves. From winning the basketball championship to high school prom and then graduation, “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3” is a culmination of the experiences and emotions anyone may have had in their senior year.
There is a storyline which focuses on Troy and Gabriella. Gabriella having this perfect opportunity to go to the University of Stanford but her love for Troy and knowing that graduation and college will be the end of their relationship is too difficult for her to even bare. Thus she feels she needs to end their relationship and focus on college immediately. For Troy, it’s angst of not knowing if he wants to play basketball or to become an actor.
One can say it’s the typical teenage angst that we saw from the first previous two films but what makes “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR” so much better is the higher production values. The film features one of the most ambitious sets, choreography, costume and stage designs, lighting and uses of color in a musical.
And because the higher production values, it definitely heightens the enjoyability of the film. From performances in the basketball court, outdoors at a college campus, a junkyard and more, the cinematography is really solid.
And of course, everything translates well on Blu-ray.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR” is featured in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1) and the picture quality is excellent. In one musical segment titled “I Want it All” featuring Sharpay and her twin brother Ryan Evans, I was just amazed by the sudden shifts of color and how amazing it looked. The colors were just vibrant and after watching the film on Blu-ray, I had to see how different the experience of watching it on Blu-ray versus DVD. The Blu-ray colors just were amazing and on DVD, it was good but not in the same vibrancy as the Blu-ray. This segment just was a great example of good colorful choices on costume design and set design and there are many instances that really stick out in the film. Even in the non-musical segments, the outdoor and indoor segments were colorful and looked great on Blu-ray.
As for the audio, the audio quality is of course music-driven and music really comes alive with the English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. I did notice a few instances of rear channels being used during scenes with a lot of people but in most part, the film is dialogue and music driven and overall audio quality is also great.
So, picture and audio quality for “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR” is fantastic!
And this is probably where Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment really went all out in this DELUXE EXTENDED EDITION release. You get a total of three discs, the first being the Blu-ray which is the extended version of the movie, the second being the Digital Copy and the third being the DVD copy of the extended edition movie. Having not watched the normal theatrical version, I do know that the original had 112 minutes and this extended version is 117 minutes long.
As for special features, this is where the Blu-ray shines. Included are:
- Senior Awards – The crew felt that with the talent graduating from “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL”, a yearbook was created with photos from present but also the cast having the ability to vote for “Best Dressed”, “Best Comedian”, “Best Couple”, etc.
- New Cast Profiles – This segment features the passing of the torch to the new characters: Matt Prokop (Jimmie Zara), Justin Martin (Donny Dion) and Jemma McKenzie-Brown (Tiara Gold). With clips from their video reports, from beginning when they first started and eventually making friends with the original cast and interviews about the three becoming part of the popular trilogy.
- Disney Live Network – The ability to include your photos into the “EAST HIGH SCHOOL” yearbook ala BD-Live and more.
- Cast Goodbyes – Interviews with the cast and Director Kenny Ortega and everyone saying goodbye and being emotional during the final shot and much more. The cast reflecting on their last chance to be with each other as a group.
- Deleted Scenes – About eight deleted scenes with an introduction by Director Kenny Ortega who mentioned it was done because of pacing and how difficult it was to cut some of these parts.
- Bloopers – These are not the same bloopers shown at the end credits, these are totally different.
- Sing Along with the Movie – By enabling the sing along subtitles, you can watch certain songs and sing to them.
- Night of Nights – A featurette on the prom and having to prepare for the number and learn the choreography.
- It’s All in the Dress – Creating the dream prom and the ideas on the prom dresses for the actresses.
- Table of Contents – Similar to a year book, this section features photos and you can skip pages but also access certain special features and Easter Eggs. You can go to previous or next page via remote, if you press up on each page with your remote and select on the photos for each page, you either can access a special feature (that is also listed on the special feature section) or get a East High Wildcats claw.These claws are hidden short video segments featuring behind-the-scenes footage not featured in the special features section. The hidden claws can be found on the following pages and you can access the following Easter Eggs:Page 2 – Crazy improv segment
Page 3- Tiara vs. Sharpay segment
Page 4 – Choreography segment
Page 5 – Basketball rig triggering
Page 6 – Basketball dance choreography
Page 8 – Two Easter Eggs (prom advice from the cast and Ashley Tisdale and Chris Warren choreography)
Page 12 – Two Easter Eggs (graduation dancing scenes)
Page 13 – Ashley Tisdale/Sharpay easter egg
Overall, I was quite impressed with this Blu-ray disc releae of “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR”. On the extended version of the film, I was quite amazed by the production values from the stage, set and costume design, the cinematography, the lighting and the Blu-ray disc transfer of the film and seeing how beautiful and colorful the picture quality was and how clear and live the music sounds, fans of the film and have a Blu-ray player are truly in for a treat.
And to celebrate the “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR”, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment included the extended version on DVD and a digital copy disc as well.
And the number of special features and Easter Eggs were also another positive of the Deluxe Extended Edition.
If you enjoyed the previous two “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL” films, one thing you felt when watching those films are “Disney” musicals. Something you expected to see on the Disney Channel. With “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR”, because of the high production value, the film really looked extremely well and after watching the special features, you learn that the cast really had to go all out in learning the choreography and with this film being the cast’s final film together, they went all out.
Now, how did I feel about the music in this film? I think with every “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL” that I’ve watched, there were always numbers that I enjoyed and numbers that tend to stick in your mind. But I have to say that this third film, the music was quite solid. Also, I think that the cast felt more at ease and were much more comfortable with their surroundings and were not as stiff in the choreography. The songs were sung well, the choreography was great!
But thanks to the higher budget and better production quality, I believe that director Kenny Ortega had much more freedom and again, with this being the final film for the main cast, everyone gave their best and it showed!
A fantastic Blu-ray release and a must-own for “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL” fans!
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