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High School Musical 3: Senior Year - Movie Review

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High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Photo © Disney

MPAA Rating: G
Genre: Drama/Musical/Family
Age range: Ages 8 and up
Runtime: Approx. 112 minutes
Starring: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, and Monique Coleman
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: October 24, 2008

High School Musical 3: Senior Year - Summary

It's their last year together, and high school seniors Troy and Gabriella are facing the prospect of a soon-to-be long distance relationship; but with so much to think about before the year's over -- the big basketball game, prom, the high school musical -- they still have a lot of memories to make together. When Gabriella convinces all of their friends to join in the school musical, it becomes a way for everyone to work together and share their fond memories of East High. To add further excitement to the big show, the kids find out that representatives from Julliard will be in the audience to decide on a scholarship for one of four candidates: Sharpay, Ryan, Kelsi, or...Troy will be extended an offer to come to the prestigious school.

Even with all the excitement, though, the upcoming life changes and the pressure of big decisions weigh heavy on the high school friends. Gabriella is accepted into an elite Stanford program, and she is forced to make a choice sooner than expected. Meanwhile, new possibilities have Troy grappling with his own decisions and how they will impact his friends and family. Sharpay knows exactly what she wants, and as usual, she is more than willing to steal Gabriela's show to get it.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron in 'High School Musical 3: Senior Year'

Photo © 2008 Disney. All rights reserved.

The Wildcats sing the familiar tune, "We're All in This Together," but the time has come for them to choose their own destinies and follow their own courses in life. Troy, however, is unsure of what his future holds. He has always been a guy who goes after what he wants, but with so many conflicts, will he ever find a way to have it all?

High School Musical 3: Senior Year - Guide Review for Parents

I was watching HSM3, thinking that the movie just couldn't get any cheesier, when I had to remind myself to consider the audience. To me, getting this dramatic about a high school musical seems silly, but to kids (as it was for me way back when), being a high school senior is the culmination of life as they know it, and the door beyond opens to a big world full of endless excitement and possibility. For kids and tweens who love High School Musical, this movie is a big deal, and their anticipation will be rewarded. High School Musical 3 follows the characters kids love as they make the life decisions kids dream about, and it is chalk full of romance and drama that will make all the girls sigh.

Parents also have at least one thing to like about the movie -- it is rated G. It is a rare thing these days that a G-rated theatrical release attracts throngs of kids, tweens and teens. The movie is heavy on the romance, but it doesn't cross the line. The most kids will see is a couple of romantic kisses.

Sharpay is up to her old tricks, but this installment focuses less on her antics and more on Troy and Gabriella's relationship and the way in which they deal with difficult yet exciting choices about their futures. Speaking of antics, though, there is one scene in the movie where Troy and Chad play a joke on two of the new characters (a typical high school movie joke involving stealing a couple guys' clothes out of their lockers, leaving them running around in towels to chase after their duds).

Although Sharpay wears a couple of revealing outfits in her dance numbers in this movie, and some girls have fairly short prom dresses, the main protagonists retain their status as good role models for kids. Troy is very respectful of Gabriella, and they both consider what is best for their own futures and for others they care about as they deliberate about these big decisions in their lives.

High School Musical 3

Lucas Grabeel and Ashley Tisdale in 'High School Musical 3'

Photo © 2008 Disney. All rights reserved.

High School Musical 3 - Content Overview

The following lists a few of the most prominent examples of possibly offensive content in the movie (may contain spoilers):

Violence (Very Low)
- Some boys scuffle on the basketball court during a game.

Sex/Nudity (Low)
- Sharpay and other girls wear short dresses/skirts and costumes.
- Troy and Gabriella share romantic moments, hug, and share a couple of romantic kisses.

Profanity (None)

Alcohol/Drugs (None)

Bad/Disrespectful Behavior (Medium)
- Some boys steal two other boys' clothes and run around the school with the boys in towels chasing after.
- Sharpay tells the school a secret about Gabriella for manipulative, self-serving purposes. She also asks Ryan to take Kelsi to prom so that he can manipulate her into letting Sharpay sing the best songs.
- Sharpay's assistant, Tiara, acts loyal to Sharpay, but she is really just trying to position herself as the next drama queen.

Scary Scenes (None)

Sad/Unsettling Scenes (Very low)
- Troy and his father argue about Troy's college decision.

High School Musical 3 - Discuss the Movie

  • After watching High School Musical 3, kids may have questions about the following topics: boy-girl relationships, college, graduation, making your own decisions despite what others say.
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