Back in 2006, our lives changed forever when one very special film was introduced to our television screens. A film that made every girl in the world fall in love with Zac Efron and that made every boy in the world wish they were Zac Efron. This film taught us to be true to ourselves and do the things we love. It taught us that opposites really do attract and that true love will always prevail. It introduced us to some of the catchiest and most heartbreaking songs our generation has ever heard and provided us with a soundtrack that we will continue to sing along to until the day we die. Three words, that is all it takes to transform a 21 year old into a 10 year old in a matter of seconds. What are those words, I hear you ask? High. School. Musical.
It has been 11 whole years since this masterpiece was bestowed upon the world. Unlike most cheesy teen movies, High School Musical has not just been forgotten about and left in the past. High School Musical lives on within the hearts of a whole generation. I would bet that the majority of people of our generation, born before the year 2000, can still remember every single word to the classic ‘Breaking Free’ and will struggle to choke back tears every time they hear ‘Gotta Go My Own Way’, which is by far one of the most heartbreaking songs to ever exist. So why is High School Musical still so iconic and relevant for so many people?
For a start, there is just something that separates High School Musical from all other Disney Channel cheesy movies. Not that there is anything wrong with those cheesy ones, of course, they just don’t get me in the way High School Musical does. It is the most successful release from Disney Channel Original Movies, and with good reason. Kenny Ortega, the living legend that he is, took things to a whole new level with the release of this trilogy, creating what many would describe as a modern version of the much loved classic musical Grease. Two high school students who meet over summer, thinking they will never see each other again. Until term time comes round and by some kind of miracle they are reunited! But of course, they are from different cliques, different worlds. They couldn’t possibly be together, could they? High School Musical was the perfect way to make a story as iconic as Grease, resonate with a young generation, and it did it perfectly.
We all fell in love with all the characters as soon as we met them. Troy Bolton was the guy we all wanted and Gabriella Montez was the girl we all wanted to be. Not forgetting
Sharpay Evans, who was of course the antagonist that we all know and love. Let’s be totally honest, we all hated her but at the same time, we secretly wanted to be her. Ryan Evans was just an absolute joy to watch, never being afraid of being his true self, a camp theatre lover amongst a load of macho basketball players. The ensemble of characters really do make the films as special as they are, with their on/off love stories, crazy adventures and teenage struggles, they sent us on a rollercoaster of emotions filled will laughs, smiles and on the odd occasion, tears.
The High School Musical soundtracks are genuinely three of my favourite movie soundtracks of all time, and I have no shame in admitting that. Not only are the songs unbelievably catchy and the absolute best to dance to, but a lot of them are also very relevant! Like any good music, you can genuinely relate to a lot of the tracks in these movies! Whether it’s Troy’s inner conflict during ‘Scream’ and ‘Bet On It’ or Gabriella’s heartbreak during ‘When There Was Me and You’ and ‘Gotta Go My Own Way’, we experience a whole rollercoaster of emotions during this musical and can all relate to the characters in different ways.
Of the three movies, my personal favourite would have to be High School Musical 2. Not only are Zac Efron’s eyes the most mesmerising thing the world has ever seen in this movie, but it also has the best soundtrack off all three films. It is not often that a movie sequel is superior to its original, however, in this case, the bar was seriously raised. In 2007, with 10 million more viewers that its predecessor during its premier on the Disney Channel, High School Musical 2 became the most viewed television movie to that date. This was also the first movie in which we heard Zac Efron sing, as his voice was blended with Drew Seeley’s in the first movie, explaining why it sounded so auto tuned. In my opinion, Efron’s voice alone sounds a million times better and I am very grateful that Seeley’s voice was ditched after the first movie.
So what has happened in the 11 years since High School Musical hit our screens? As we are all aware, High School Musical was the film that kicked of the career of Zac Efron, who is now one of the biggest actors in Hollywood. Since 2006, he has starred in a number of successful movies, including Hairspray, 17 Again, Bad Neighbours and most recently, Baywatch. He is a global superstar and by far the most successful actor to come out of the High School Musical franchise. Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale are still real life best friends, which is so lovely, and have since focused on their musical careers. However, Tisdale also starred in High School Musical spin-off ‘Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure’ in 2010. She has also appeared in a number of TV shows since her High School Musical days and has even tried her hand at producing. Hudgens has also starred in a number of movies, such as Beastly and Sucker Punch. More recently, she has appeared on Broadway and also played Rizzo in the well received Grease: Live, in which she was incredible! Corbin Bleu, who starred as basketball obsessed Chad, also appeared in another Disney Channel Movie, Jump In! in 2007, which held the record for highest rated Disney Channel Original Movie premiere, until it was beaten by High School Musical 2 later that year.
The iconic trilogy holds a very special place in my heart. I will gladly admit that my friends and I still stand in front of the TV trying to get to grips with the dances, throwing ourselves around like idiots. It is one of those movies that brings me so much happiness every single time I watch it. Watching the trilogy bestows upon me a sense of nostalgia, sending me back into the life of my 10 year old self when my only worry was the fact I would never actually get to marry Troy Bolton. In a way, it genuinely makes me feel like a child again, back when it was acceptable to belt out ‘Get’Cha Head In The Game’ at the top of your voice and dance around in front of the TV, without looking like a crazy person. If you’re in a bad mood, or just need a pick me up, nothing beats a High Schools Musical marathon with your mates. I’m 21 years old, and I am pretty certain that my love for these movies is never going to die. They really do hold a place in my heart that can never be replaced by anything else. They are not just cheesy teen movies, they are a portal to my childhood, a guaranteed pick me up, a complete rollercoaster of emotions and I love them so much! And I can assure you that I am not the only one…