23 August 2007

High School Musical 2 Review

Ok, so I'm a little late getting my review in... what can I say? I'm trying to play mommy and daddy at home and still uphold my employment. Let's just say I have renewed respect for my wonderful wife, and no free time anymore. Well, except for a couple of minutes here and there in the which I have pecked away at this quasi-novel.

My kids and I saw High School Musical 2 on premier night and loved it. As mentioned in the previous post, we were familiar with the soundtrack, so we knew some of what was coming, but it was fun to see how Kenny Ortega crafted the dance scenes to go with the musical numbers.

Kenny never ceases to amaze me; how he can take huge groups of kids and get them all doing really cool dances, looking completely polished and professional. I tip my hat to the mastermind there. Did I mention the use of props in the dances? In the first High School Musical, we were impressed by the number "Getcha Head in the Game" where the Wildcats basketball team danced with basketballs. We see that again in High School Musical 2 in the opening number "What Time is It?" and then see more props in other numbers such as kitchen utensils and baseball bats. It's awesome.

One of my favorite numbers, aside from the two full-cast ones at the beginning and end of the movie, was the kitchen scene... "Work This Out." Many of the Wildcats get hired on at Sharpay's parents country club and the boss comes across as a major hemmorhoid their first day there (thanks to Sharpay.)

The song focuses on everyone's distress having second thought about what would otherwise have been a cool summer job. Troy, of course, tries to rally the troops and help them see if they work together they can still have fun and save the summer.

In the middle of the number they get a little STOMP-esque, banging on pots, pans and glassware to go along with the song. It's quite a fun number.

One number I didn't so much care for was Sharpay's "Fabulous" which happened when the crew was all arriving at the country club. The bathing suits were a little on the skimpy side. One thing that most impressed me about the original High School Musical was that they proved to filmmakers everywhere that a movie can be done completely wholesome (void of any sex, drugs, violence, vulgarity, etc.) and still be one of the most popular movies of the year. I feel like this number was a little of a "sellout" though I'm sure with today's fashions, it would've been hard to find things more modest. Still, I feel that those things don't need to be in movies... I appreciated the "breath of fresh air" the original High School Musical was.

That said, I'll be writing Disney to express my feelings and hope that they take it to heart... I'll be utilizing the Save Disney Shows emailer to do so and encourage others to do the same.

Without giving too much away, the premise behind the movie is about the Wildcats' summer vacation, centering on Troy and Gabriella's summer romance which the evil Sharpay tries to bring to an end. Disney's teen start Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) also makes a very brief non-speaking part cameo in High School Musical 2. It's a sort of "Where's Waldo" deal where you have to be paying attention to see her there. I think I also caught a glimpse of Moises Arias (Rico from Hannah Montana) earlier in the film for a split second, but I'll have to wait til I see the movie again to confirm. Who knows, maybe they slipped a few others in there that I missed. It'll be fun to try to spot them next round.

I enjoyed the story and the numbers; it was a great continuation from the first and I look forward to the third. Rumor was it would have a haunted theme but some of the stars have recently revealed otherwise; though I understand none of them had read the script at the time of their interviews Instead it will most likely deal with Senior Prom and Graduation; which would be a fitting end to the trilogy.

If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it; just make sure you watch the original High School Musical first if you haven't seen it already.

Thanks again Disney for all the fun that is High School Musical.

(And my apologies for the sketchiness of this review... I'm working on little to no sleep and have had to write this over several settings; needless to say, the train of thought derailed several times over the course of this writing. But don't worry no animals were harmed during the writing of this post.)

14 August 2007

What Time Is It? Time for High School Musical 2!!!

Last year, Disney Channel introduced the worldwide hit, "High School Musical." I don't think anyone really had any idea what a huge impact this fantastic film would have...

My family and I fell in love with it and are ecstatic and full of anticipation for the sequel, which debuts on Disney Channel this Friday.

The soundtrack for "High School Musical 2" was released today in stores, online through various avenues including Amazon and iTunes. We pre-ordered through iTunes so we could score some bonus stuff like a music video and two digital booklets including lyrics (some/all of these are available through some of the other purchasing avenues as well...) I downloaded my copy after midnight so my family and I could enjoy it all day today.

Needless to say, the music has permeated the walls of our home, my car and my headphones at work. It has us even more excited for the movie.

The music from both films is catchy; and watching the films make the music have emotional attachment on top of the desire to hear it simply because it jams.

The movie has an incredibly talented and lovable crew (well, 'cept Sharpay... you want to hate her; because the talented Ashley Tisdale plays a very believable snob.) that has wormed their way into the hearts of people everywhere.

If you don't have access to Disney Channel this Friday, find someone that does and hook up your High School Musical party. You'll be glad you did.

Oh yeah, if you haven't seen the original, I'd HIGHLY recommend you do that first. Did I mention, you'll be glad you did?!

Be warned, the songs will get stuck in your head, and soon you'll find your money disappearing into the revenue machine that is High School Musical media. :)

Kudos to Kenny Ortega (Director/Choreographer - also known for Newsies and The Cheetah Girls 2), Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Olesya Rulin (a Utah local!) and a plethora of other wonderful cast members for making this such a special phenomenon!

Rumor was that a High School Musical 3 was being planned for a theatrical release on the big screen. I found out tonight from the IMDB that its been officially announced! Looking forward to that...

Well, you all know where I'll be on Friday (assuming we're not at the hospital delivering twins!) :)

11 August 2007

More Than Meets the Eye...

Most of you that know me know that I've got mad love for the original Transformers cartoon series and the theatrical release that followed in 1987. I own the original VHS and DVD releases of the movie as well as the original soundtrack.

This year, they released 20th Anniversary editions of the DVD and Soundtrack; I know own both of those two. Most mock me profusely for it, but it was a special phenomenon that I hold dear to my heart; as do many others... others that take things to much farther extremes than I. I tip my hat to them, because they're involved in some cool action, like BotCon that happens once a year and had Vince DiCola and Stan Bush (the major players on the Transformers the Movie soundtrack do a special concert for; which resulted in a limited edition collector's CD "Til All Are One" (which I'd love to get my hands on sometime in my life...)

They're also involved in cool things like this YouTube video my cool sister "Tat" emailed me. I'm not going to tell you what it's about, you'll have to click and watch for yourself (worth the watch - trust me,) but I will tell you that it contains some Constructicons, StarScream, Optimus Prime and more. It is accompanied by the "Transformers theme" from the animated movie soundtrack (1987), performed by Lion.

Go on, hit the ol' play button then let me know what you thought. I'm giving full points for creativity on this one... freakin' genius. Kudos to all that participated in this.

08 August 2007

Fun Motocross Madness 2 Screenshot

I was looking through some old FNG (Friday Night Gaming) screenshots this morning and had to post this one. It's from Roswell stunt quarry. Close Encounters of the Nac-Nac Kind

Yes, there was a crash... the UFO didn't fly away quick enough.

04 August 2007

Do Try This at Home...

Oh yeah, there's not much better than a good hour-or-two long round of high-flying, speed-rushing, nausea-inducing TrackMania United action!

If you haven't tried it yet, you're seriously missing out. It's on Steam now for only $29.95!

02 August 2007

Kim Possible - So the Finale

The rumors have been confirmed. The creators of Kim Possible, Mr. Mark McCorkle and Mr. Robert Schooley have left Disney to pursue other projects with Nickelodeon.

While I knew that the best show EVER made... (EVER!!!!) was coming to an end (again), I can't help but get choked up and reminisce about the amazing memories this show has in my heart of hearts.

I've been into a lot of shows in my life, and more importantly, animated shows (Transformers, GIJoe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to name a few) and never has one gripped me quite as hard-core as Kim Possible. It was master-crafted art from in every respect; the dialogue was snappy, the voice-talent perfectly cast, the characters lovable and the continuity of the story too much fun. I could go on and on (as I have in the past both here and to the dread of any who have ears that can hear me...)

Before I continue, I want to tell you how my insatiable addiction for this show came-to-be.

My family and I moved into our first home in July 2003. There we had subscribed to Comcast for high-speed internet and basic cable. The owners before us had a higher-level package than we ordered, but Comcast apparently forgot to put the block on. (We later called Comcast to let them know and confirm we were subscribed to the lower package and wouldn't be charged more... they said they'd come block it... took them 3 years...)

Our first weekend in the house involved much rest after the big move. We surfed through the channels to see what we had at our disposal. We came across Disney Channel and was inundated all weekend with Kim Possible episodes. I immediately fell in love with the show, and when life stopped and I had my kids sit down and watch it with me every time a new episode aired, they quickly followed suit. This was in the beginning of Season One...

As we continued our merry KP-filled lives, mid-Season 3, my third child was born; a daughter we named Kimberly Anne (whom my wife now lovingly calls Kimberly Anne Possible whenever she's in trouble.) She, too, is a Kim Possible junkie.

We followed the series faithfully to its first end after "So the Drama" and the airing of the remaining episodes (strategically saved for after So the Drama for reasons understood by those that follow the show.)

And now we find that the series is again coming to an end, after what has already been an incredible encore season.

So many fun, dramatic and pivotal moments were brought to life during that time between "So the Drama" and now... Wade finally emerging from his room in non-holographic/robotic form, Kim and Ron finally becoming boyfriend/girlfriend, Shego and Kim becoming friends in an episode (due to whacked out circumstances), Ron's pants-falling-down blunders having significance and a bunch of others.

Steve Loter, director of a majority of the episodes has put up a blog in which he discusses the last days of production on Season 4 of Kim Possible. His 14 July post is tear-jerking and heart-warming. I can only imagine what it would've been like to be a part of the team that created something that has consumed the last several years of my life. I know they enjoyed what they were doing, because it showed in their work.

I'm sad to see it go, and I'm going to continue to push Disney to release DVD box sets... and I'm still hoping that there may be an animated theatrical release, but with the creators leaving, I'm not holding my breath; and if it happens, I hope that it will still hold the same heart that every single episode in all 4 series held, thanks to the entire KP staff; from the creators, to the directors, to the animators, to the voice talent, to the fans.

Yes, the fans.

The fans have been absolutely amazing. There is an excellent website for Disney show fans called "Save Disney Shows" that has helped fan-blast campaigns to make Disney hear how much this fan-community loves their KP. I'll never get enough of this show... even after it's completely over. I will watch with glee for the remainder of my sojourn on Earth. :) I want to send a huge kudos out to the fans, that inspired the creative talent that made Kim Possible to continue the masterpiece.

I want to thank everyone that has ever been a part of the Kim Possible staff for making the best show EVER made. And thanks Steve and others who have kept in touch with the fans via websites, blogs, online chats, etc.

According to Steve's blog, "Graduation" is the name of the final episode. I'm stoked to see how they decide to end it this time, because the last time they ended the series, they ended it perfect. I have no doubt they won't disappoint this time either.

Good luck to the entire KP staff in whatever direction they're all taking after this. You certainly will be missed by a huge fan base, and I look forward to see what other fun projects arise in the future from these people.

Thanks again. Kim Possible has been everything I've hoped for and more.

BTW - Steve says on his site:
"... After that, I packed up my last box and headed off to my final meeting at another building regarding a Kim Possible project that is being worked on (and has been worked on for a while). I can not speak about it, but I think some of you clever guys will figure it out."

Dude, you're such a tease... you'd better be talking about some seriously cool DVD box sets full of buttloads of extra stuff, or a killer top secret animated theatrical release y'all already finished before the team dispersed. If so, I will pee and crap my pants, do a happy dance, and of course, be back here to blog about it. Whatever it is, I can't wait to find out!

Stay tuned... Uh Booya!