The Movie Pool takes a look at the High School Musical spin-off Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure on Blu-ray!
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1 enhanced for widescreen televisions
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, (Audio for the standard DVD is 5.1 Dolby Digital in English, French, and Spanish)
SUBTITLES: English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
SPECIAL FEATURES: "The Evolution of Sharpay" Documentary, "Austin Cam" featurette, Bloopers, Intro videos for Blu-ray and Digital Copies.
High School Musical's Sharpay Evans and her dog Boi head to New York City to audition for a Broadway show.
I'm going to admit it: I've never seen any of the High School Musical films. I have no desire to. That said, I liked Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure. I realized I wasn't the target audience for this film, and taking into consideration that this is a tween movie, this film hits the mark. Ashley Tisdale is appealing in the title role, and little girls will go crazy over her outfits, her pink apartment, and her dog.
This movie could have easily disintegrated into one of the horrible kid films that makes adults roll their eyes with groan-worthy dialogue and bad acting. Instead director Michael Lembeck (The Santa Clause movies) keeps it smart, without dumbing it down to kids. The humor isn't forced, and for a kid's movie, I found myself laughing much more than I expected. While there isn't as much singing in this movie as I expected, what music is there is entertaining. Tisdale sings at both the beginning and end of the film, and I particularly enjoyed the final number to close the movie.
Instead of wallowing in the shameless materialism that permeates most tween entertainment these days, the film actually gives a great message to kids about working hard, overcoming adversity, and doing the right thing. The antagonists are selfish and petty, and eventually get their comeuppance. There's even a message of redemption, as one character sees the error of their ways. Kudos to the filmmakers for making this movie with some character lessons in mind.
Ultimately, this is one movie parents will be able to enjoy with their kids. It's a charming little diversion that surpassed my expectations, and I'm sure any HSM fan will love it, even if the rest of the cast does not appear.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
For a direct-to-DVD release, I was expecting the quality of the video and audio to suffer, but I was pleasantly surprised. The high definition video is crisp and full of detail. I wish there had been more of New York shown (assuming it was actually filmed there, the end credits don't say), but both the bright outdoor scenes and indoor scenes pop with color.
The 5.1 DTS sound is active and gives the music a full, rich sound. The bass provided a deep, pounding beat on several songs. If the music is your thing, you'll enjoy this mix.
Ashley Tisdale fans will love the special features, especially the "Evolution of Sharpay" documentary, which follows the history of the character through the High School Musical trilogy. The "Austin Cam" featurette is an entertaining little look behind the scenes as actor Austin Butler films various aspects of the production. Since Butler's character of Peyton carried a video camera with him the entire film, he actually filmed everything, catching some nice personal moments with the actors and filmmakers.
The blooper reel is a little too short for us (we always like a nice, long blooper reel) and is mostly shots of Tisdale laughing as her dog ruins shot after shot. The standard DVD includes the "Austin Cam" featurette and blooper reel only.
BUY IT, REDBOX IT, OR NETFLIX IT?
If your little girl is a High School Musical fan, this is an easy buy recommendation. If she is a Sharpay fanatic, look for the limited edition three disc Blu-ray set that includes a pink clutch purse. If you can't find the "purse" version, fear not, as every Blu-ray set includes an insert to order a purse by mail. There's also a Target exclusive version of the three pack that includes six songs from the movie. Non-HSM fans will probably get by with just a rent or putting it in your Netflix queue. Parents looking to rent something safe yet entertaining for the kids should keep this film in mind.
Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure is available on Blu-ray and DVD April 19. It is available in a 3-Disc Superset (Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, and purse), a 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray and DVD), and a standard DVD set.