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Movie Review

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Reviewed by: Dymphna Meeds

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Kids, Famiy
Musical, Romance, Drama, Sequel, Dancing, Family
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 24, 2008 (wide—3,400 theaters)
DVD: February 17, 2009
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures

Music in the Bible

Dancing in the Bible

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Featuring: Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Bart Johnson, Olesya Rulin, Chris Warren Jr., Ryne Sanborn, Kaycee Stroh, Alyson Reed, Matt Prokop, Jemma McKenzie-Brown, Justin Martin, Robert Curtis Brown, Raquel Goodsell, Brad Johnson, Noli McCool, David Reivers, Tia Robinson, Leslie Wing
Director: Kenny Ortega
Producer: Walt Disney Pictures, Bill Borden, Kenny Ortega, Barry Rosenbush, Don Schain
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“high school graduation”

Few shows have proved to be as popular with young children and teens as High School Musical. Nor have many proved as clean and family friendly. The biggest question in my mind as I walked into this movie was “Will this one be the same? Or will my whole view of the other ones be smashed?”

Starting off with a bang, we are thrown right into the movie from the first minute on. Troy (Zac Efron) the play maker for the East High Wild Cats team is taking a rough beating in his game. However, soon it becomes apparent that this game is just a small part of how much he is falling apart in his life. Although everyone expects him to go to University of Albuquerque and become a basketball star, Troy wants to consider other colleges. Meanwhile his brainy girlfriend Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) is struggling with saying goodbyes once again. Can the two work together to find a solution that won't tear them apart or will this goodbye be for good? Hmm… we wonder…


I was very thrilled that this movie was very similar to it's prequels in message and morality! In fact, it's probably the cleanest movie that has come out in theaters for a long time! No swearing, no sex, no violence, no drugs or alcohol, no magic, etc. If only real high schools were like this one!

The main message was to reach for the stars and your dreams. Don't be anyone else but yourself. As Ms. Darbus the Drama Teacher (Alyson Reed) says, “It is far easier to play a role on stage then to be yourself in life.” Slowly throughout this movie we see each character break out of their shell or stereotype to be the person they were created to be. God created us all to be certain unique people, not a second rate version of someone or something else.

Also prominent in the movie is taking this time for now. We hear this repeatedly in the movie. “This is last time to do this right! Now or never!” The lyrics sing. “Now is the best time to find yourself. Not in ten years.” Ms. Darbus wisely says. Gabriella talks about how everything in life is just too fast and wants it too all slow down. In the very beginning of the movie we see the boys being beaten at basketball. Coach Bolton (Bart Johnson) gives his team a pep talk. “Forget about the score board! You only have 16 minutes left. Make those count! Make sure you never regret them!” And that message isn't just for seniors in high school! We are living on borrowed time, and no one knows when God will choose to take you. The kids in HSM and we learn to grab each moment because we will never have that same moment again.

Kids taking responsibility for their own life is also a major issue. “It's up to us now!” is another inspiring line from the songs. Troy feels like his dad and friend Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu) are pressuring him to go to the UVA. Throughout the movie he struggles with what he wants to do with his life and what others want him to do. “You raised me to make my own decisions! Not to be pressured into doing something!” He tells his dad. Gabriella as well wants to make a choice of the right thing to do in her life even if it hurts.

Just like the first two, HSM3 provides a wonderful lesson about working together. To stop the spring “musi-cal” from becoming a one woman show staring prima dona Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), timid pianist and composer Kelsi Nielsen (Olesya Rulin)signs the whole class up to participate. Although they grumble at first they end up having fun and putting on a great show. Troy, Chad, Zeke (Chris Warren Jr.), and Jason (Ryne Sanborn) all form a strong team of leaders for the other jocks.

Troy allows a younger and less talented athlete, Jimmie Zara or “The Rocket”, to step in the last few minutes of the game. During that same game Troy throws the ball to Jimmie and allows the younger boy to make the basket instead of doing it himself.

Friendship plays a major role in this film. Even amidst tears and struggles, friends stay true to each other and help one another out. Although the lead characters might be confused about their future, Troy and Gabriella are willing to sacrifice for one another and want the best thing for each other. Later we see how Ms. Darbus, Coach Bolton, Taylor and Chad all feel the same way.

“You changed East High!” Troy exclaims to Gabriella. “You might be ready to say good bye to East High but East High isn't ready to say good bye to you.” We see how characters make a difference for the good (or the bad) to everyone around them.

Ryan Evans (Lucas Grabeel) is Sharpay's twin brother who is always being used by her. We see him try to break from that stereotype and be the wonderful person he was meant to be.

In several funny scenes, Chad learns the proper way to treat a girl. When he flippantly talks about ordering his tuxedo in front of Gabriella's smart friend Taylor McKessie (Monique Coleman) as a way of asking her to prom, she turns him down promptly. Finally he brings her flowers, stands on a table, and yells out over the whole cafeteria that he would like to take her to prom. Beaming, she accepts.

Sharpay is shown for what she is: selfish, cruel, and deceitful. And in the end like the other two she *poof* turns good!

Chad and Troy reminisce back to when they were kids and really “themselves”. In an old car/junk lot we see them using their imagination and realize how real little children are.

Theater and performance arts are shown in a good clean way. As Ms. Darus says “The stage is a wonderful place to find your true self!” But she also scolds two boys who run into the theater only wearing towels. “At the theater we discover ourselves. But always with our clothes on.”

Unlike most movies Adults are respected by the youngsters and are kind. Ms. Darbus and Coach Bolton offer words of wisdom to Troy.

Many other virtues are valued such as courage, breaking the status quo, and sticking up for the under dogs.

Possible Negatives

As mentioned before this movie was very clean. However, it had a few potential flaws.

The worst part is when Troy and Chad steal the clothes of two team mates. As a result, the two boys run around the school in towels. A picture is taken for the year book. However, nothing is implied or shown and the two boys get detention. However, Troy and Chad do not.

The costumes and dancing are a tad less clean the last time. Troy and Gabriella kiss several times on the cheek and then once on the lips. They both have picnic in her room without her mothers knowledge, but this is very innocent as well. We see Sharpay walking down the hall from the back and a bunch of boys fainting. One of the lines of a song is “Dancing to impress a boy.” We see Troy change shirts.

Jimmie intrudes regularly into Troy's space. Once he enters his room and takes pictures of it without asking. On the other hand, Troy tells him that Sharpay has a crush on Jimmie so he will go away.

When Jimmie and foreign exchange student Tiara (Jemma McKenzie-Brown) both become understudies they start insulting each other. “I wouldn't sing with you if my hair was on fire and you were the last bucket of water on Earth!” Jimmie harshly states. “Well I wouldn't sing with you if I was starving and you were the last pickle at the picnic!” Tiara quips.

Troy has a wounded hand in the beginning. During the basketball game both Troy and Chad are knocked to the floor. Troy runs into someone at school. In anger Troy rips down a poster of himself and jumps up on and plays around with the fly rails in the theater.

Troy and Gabriella meet on top of school even though they know it could end up in detention. Chad steals a cake from Zeke to butter up Taylor into putting lots of pictures of him in the year book and going with him to prom.

Troy tells Chad he's going to “whoop his butt”.

From an enjoyment point of view: I love musicals and corny shows, so this was the perfect movie for me! I will warn you though that if you aren't crazy about those kind of shows, this isn't the right movie for you. Most of the talent is really good! Vanessa Hudgens is the only one who really stands out as not being nearly as talented or professional. Overall, it was very fun.

This is a very fun family movie! It is amazing what an inspiring movie can do inside of you after you see it! Let's just hope the young people of our world will take to heart all of the wonderful and clean lessons this movie teaches!

Violence: None / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I went to see HM3 with my 7 year old daughter and her friends. They loved it and were dancing in the aisles!
I enjoyed it also, as I did the other two. The characters were deciding “who they are” and 'what they want to do with their lives'. This lead to good conversations with my daughter about who she is in Christ and how He has gifted her. I also emphasized that when she will be making life decisions, it won't be about what she wants to do, but what GOD wants her to do. He will direct her through prayer and wise counsel.

I appreciate that parents are portrayed in a positive light in these movies. They are smart, happily married and involved in their children's lives (not usual for Disney).

I did not like what the physical closeness of Troy and Gabriella in more than one scene. It crossed the line of innocent attraction more than once to lingering tension and this was the first movie to show a full kiss. That was disappointing. The audience for this movie is so young and there was no reason for it. There were also too many scenes with Troy and his shirt off, etc.
Also, I was surprised that Troy had no consequence for stealing the boys’ clothes and humiliating them in front of the school. I would have loved for him to say he was sorry and make it right with the boys… and maybe learn to use his popularity to build others up. Also, one of the boys towels was way too low.

Overall, it was a great movie. I will bring my 11 year old to see it next.

My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Elizabeth Fowler, age 38
Positive—Very enjoyable movie, with beautiful music and dancing. An idyllic view of high school, and I'm old enough to remember when it really was like this, with no sexual promiscuity and no profanity. This is an uplifting movie for young people. My theater was filled with little girls and it seems to be geared to the very young.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
Halyna Barannik, age 62
Positive—I agree! This is a great family film!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Melissa, age 38
Positive—I just took my 8 yr old daughter to see this movie with some of her friends and loved it. So the character development is cookie cutter and the plot predictable… it's a MUSICAL!!! Great dancing and singing. It's just good, clean fun entertainment.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kris, age 41
Positive—Let me start off first by saying that I was really worried when I found out they were going to make a High School Musical 3. The “three” movie in every line of trilogy movies is usually the bad apple of the bunch. I hated “Santa Clause 3: Return of Jack Frost” and “Shrek 3,” so I didn't know what to expect of “High School Musical 3.” Don't take me wrong, I LOVED the original “High School Musical.” And the second one… well, was okay, but it really couldn't measure up to the first one. I went into the theater with a friend of mine today and I'm pleased today I was in for a surprise.

Everything was well done. I loved the script writing, acting, choreography, humor, messages. It's definitely worth the price of a movie ticket and your time. I really loved it! It was funny. It was touching and sweet. I think all three “High School Musical” movies are the best Disney Channel original movies to date. I thought it was great, and I actually think the acting was really good too. I think I really enjoy Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens as actors now.

Another thing I really loved about this movie is about how authority figures are actually wise and smart. In most movies, parents and teachers are portrayed as very stupid airheads. In this movie, the teens look up to their parents as great role models and for advice. Parents and teachers alike in this movie are portrayed as caring, upstanding, wise people. *POSSIBLE SPOILER* Ms. Darbus, the drama teacher in the movie, ends up being a great mentor in the movie. She gives Troy advice about making the most of the opportunities he has now in this scene. Troy's dad kind of seem like he has his son's future planned at first, but he is proud of Troy for the choices he ends up making about college.

Though it's a little cheesy, I thought it was a very great movie. I was very surprised about the great quality and entertainment merit. I had fun watching it. I think you would to, but only if you liked the first two movies. :) I honestly don't remember seeing anything negative/offensive in this movie. I don't even think God's name was misused.
To wrap this up, I say go see this movie. So Hollywood can start making great family movies like this again! :)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 18
Positive—I thought this movie was great! My little girl is three and I have heard a lot of stuff that I shouldn't let her watch it, because she is so young (she was actually 2 when the movie came out), but I would rather her watch HSM 3 than “Shrek” or some of the other “children's” movies that have very adult jokes in them. This movie was clean, wholesome and very sweet. I only wish high school was really like that… I wouldnt be so afraid for my little girls to grow up!

And just as a side not I noticed in the review that it was noted that there was a line in a song about “dancing to impress the boys” the line is actually “dressing to impress the boys.”

Overall, I think this movie was really really cute and would suggest it to any parent.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Danni, age 26 (USA)


Negative—I did have a problem with Sharpay's pole dance during one of the scenes, but I had a bigger problem with the overall thematic message. This movie seemed to promote the idea that teens need to throw off the bonds of parental guidance. This movie also painted the parents’ choices for their kids as selfish attempts to vicariously relive their own successes and correct their own failures.

The reason God gave teens the desire to make their own decisions is so they can begin learning the process of making wise decisions. The reason God gave teens (loving) parents until they are no longer teens is so that parents can teach them how to make wise decisions. This is supposed to be a coming of age tale, but it does not promote the wise counsel method. The movie makes Troy and Gabriella out to be paragons of deciding what is best for their lives. If there are teens out there like that, they probably have great parents. Not many of the kids with whom I went to college could make wise decisions on their own, let alone at 18.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rebecca, age 38 (USA)
Negative—My husband and I started to watch this movie. We stopped the movie about half-way and turned it off because we found it extremely offensive. The movie has many of the girls in the film in really low cut shirts (cheerleaders, Gabriella, etc.). The movie also has one of the girls in a one piece outfit that is very revealing to the lower area of her private. And not to mention that Troy purposely touched Gabriellas breast twice in just half the movie like he did once in the second one. Which you should not be showing your kids to go up behind someone and give them a hug and “accidentally” touch a girl’s breast. Also in the movie, there were maybe three guys in low towels. The towels couldn’t have been any lower or they would have had to make the movie rated R or worse. We should be wearing clothes that aren’t revealing and also keeping our minds pure. You should not see anything in that manner unless you are married and it is your spouse. This movie was very wrong and it is for an audience of younger people and children. I don’t want my kids to grow up and dress like that or think that it is okay to run around in a towel. I couldn’t even watch this movie with my husband let alone let our kids watch it. Keep your eyes and your mind pure and don’t waste your money on it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Morgan, age 19 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—This is an awesome and clean movie! I loved all the singing and dancing! The talent is amazing! I started crying because it was so sweet and well done. Hollywood should start making more movies like this! If you like old musicals, you'll love this!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Anna Rose, age 17
Neutral—I saw this movie and enjoyed it. Some of the things that were not as good was when Troy and Chad stole the clothes of the two new boys and they were running around the school in towels, Troy and Gabriella started kissing, and in one of the dances Sharpay does, the girls are wearing clothes that are sleezy. The movie was overall pretty good, but I liked the other ones better. One of the things that I did like about it more was that the dancing was very good and was fun to watch.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rachel, age 13
Positive—This was an overall fun movie! It's wonderful to be able to go to the movies and see a movie directed toward teens that is completely clean. Very rare… but an extremely enjoyable experience. A few of the songs could possibly be called annoying, but definitely enjoyed most of them, and the dancing was great.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Emily, age 17
Positive—This movie made me cry! The first two movies were okay… But, this movie was great! Just thinking that the movie series of “High School Musical,” “High School Musical 2,” and “High School Musical 3” is over. This movie was super clean. The songs were great. By the way, the summary of the movie that is given by the Web site has a flaw. Troy and Chad also get detention for taking “Rocketman” and the other guy's clothes. I LOVED it. I strongly recommend this movie. I love how they jump into “Now or Never.” The coach says “This isn't just the last 16 mins. of the game. This is the last time to wear your wildcat uniform. The last time to make sure everyone knows you.” I loved it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Azaria, age 11
Positive—This movie was everything I thought it would be… it was not the greatest movie on Earth, but was clean and enjoyable. Everything you thought would happen to each character, did happen… It was a little cheesy, and the plot wasn't that catchy, but I really laughed at some scenes. The girls dresses were a little short sometimes, and Sharpay wore a one-piece bathing suit once, but those were my only negatives. The best part for me, was when Chad and Troy were in the junk yard and remembered themselves as little boys… This film would be suitable for all ages.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Heather, age 14
Positive—I thought this was a great movie and I would definitely take younger kids to see it, although there was one thing that kept popping up and truly annoying me. Modesty! All the girls wore very short skirts and with all the dancing, it felt like they were constantly flirting with a very thin line! I'll bet they had to retake many takes because one of the girl's underwear was showing. I feel the styles that the girls were wearing was definitely made for movies, a little more racy than shown on TV. I would definitely have a talk to any young girls about the clothing shown in the movie and talk about how modesty is so important! I'm not saying all the outfits were bad, not at all. I just felt they could have been a bit longer!

Besides that I thought it was a good movie, and I enjoyed the songs. They were very cute!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rachael, age 17
Positive—A great movie to see with family and friends! I saw it with my sisters and my mom and we all really enjoyed it. There are a few scenes where I didn't approve of the clothing the girls wore, but, overall, a very clean movie. The characters were much more developed this time; the movie expressed concerns and questions that many people ask and go through and dealt with them all in a very pleasing way. The lessons on team work and true commitment were very refreshing! Overall, a great time spent at the movies.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Hope, age 17
Positive—I loved this movie! I think that it is much better than the 2nd movie and probably about equal to the 1st movie. The only questionable things in the movie are probably the outfits. Most of Gabriella's dresses are very short and some are low cut. But besides that, I think it was a very good movie, and it's one of those movies that when you walk out of the theatre, you know you didn't waste your money!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Laurie, age 15 (USA)
Positive—I thought this movie was WAY better than the second one. This one actually made me laugh more than once. And there wasn't near as much talk about kissing and dating and all that. The songs were great, I really liked the special affects during some of them. Although I thought the song “I Want It All” was a little too over the top. Overall, I thought it was a great kid-friendly film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Katie, age 16 (USA)
Neutral—This movie was okay, but it wasn't the best. I thought it was somewhat childish, but I liked the music. I would recomend this movie to kids of any age. I liked camp rock much better. But, if you want to see a much better musical, try “The Sound of Music.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Liliana, age 11 (Canada)
Neutral—I thought this movie was cute for all ages but, the kissing parts were my pet peeve.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Mia, age 12 (USA)