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High School Musical 2 (Extended Edition) - made-for-television movie DVD / family DVD review
Rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman
Director: Kenny Ortega   Studio: Walt Disney Video
DVD release: 11 December 2007   Runtime: 111 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC
Features:Languages - English/Spanish, Audio - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Exclusive music scene, Sing-along feature, Backstage Disney: Rehearsal cam, Music & more: High school karaoke, Music videos

Coming hot on the heels of the wildly popular tween-hit High School Musical is its sequel, High School Musical 2. The first movie, made for TV's Disney Channel, is now in wide release and a marketing phenomenon, with every possible tie-in from books to dolls to notebook covers. High School Musical followed the lives of two high school students and their friends. Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) is the captain of the basketball team, and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) is the new girl at school who excels at math and science. The two end up trying out for the leads in the high school musical, surprising everyone and causing rivalry and problems breaking out of their respective cliques.

In High School Musical 2, school is finally out for the summer. The movie opens with a rousing song, "What Time is It," and the students are looking forward to summer, but know they must find jobs and plan for their future. Sharpay and Ryan Evans (Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel) will be spending the summer at Lava Springs, the country club owned by their family. Sharpay schemes to get Troy hired on for the summer in order to convince him that the two of them belong together-not Troy and Gabriella.

Troy manages to get the rest of the basketball team, as well as Gabriella and many of their other friends, hired to work at Lava Springs, too. Sharpay isn't about to have her plans foiled, and she gets wind that Troy and Gabriella plan to sing the song "You are the Music in Me" for the staff talent show. Sharpay then uses her connections to introduce Troy to some college basketball players and other influential people. As Troy is mesmerized by the attention, he is pulled away from Gabriella and his other friends. Will he learn the meaning of true friendship?

High School Musical 2 is every bit as entertaining as the first movie. The songs are catchy, and they occur at just the right moments to enhance the drama. All of the key actors from High School Musical return to reprise their roles and sing their way through another dance and action-filled movie. Themes of friendship, loyalty, and acceptance run throughout, making the movie appropriate for both children and adults not just as entertainment, but for learning life lessons as well.

The High School Musical 2 Extended Edition includes a song that was cut out of the television release of the movie. The special features include karaoke versions (with words on the bottom of the screen) of all of the songs from the show, as well as music videos in multiple languages. Backstage Disney features the "rehearsal cam," where you can watch the actors practicing the dance moves for all of the songs and watch the director and choreographer working out the moves with them. A bloopers feature rounds out the offerings.

Filled with energy, engaging and entertaining songs and an interesting plot, High School Musical 2 is a movie appropriate and enjoyable for the whole family.

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reviewed by Melissa Parcel
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