New Year, New Debate: Which HSM is the Best?


Emily Bailey, Staff Writer

      Disney’s High School Musical trilogy is a set of family-friendly musical movies aimed at pre-teen audiences. The movies are filled with positive messages about friendship and being true to yourself. Although the plots are fairly simple, the catchy songs, upbeat dance sequences and portrayal of young romance engages many viewers, creating a global phenomenon. But let’s settle the long-standing debate: which one is the best?

          In the first High School Musical, Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), the star athlete at a small-town high school, falls for the nerdy beauty, Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Anne Hudgens), at a holiday karaoke party. When they return to campus, Troy and Gabriella audition for the upcoming school musical. Meanwhile, the jealous Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) conspires to ruin their chances. The two must struggle to make it to auditions while also meeting their existing obligations to the basketball team and the academic decathlon. This movie shows that there is strength in numbers. An example of this is with music. A solo piece of music can still be great, but the ensemble pieces are the ones where everyone shows what they are truly capable of. 

          High School Musical 2 is a 2007 American musical television film written by Peter Barsocchini and directed by Kenny Ortega. In High School Musical 2, the students from East High are out for summer break. While all the students are in the look to get some money, they get jobs at Lava Springs Country Club in order to be able to pay to enjoy their summers. Troy thinks his problem is solved when he gets a job at Sharpay’s family resort but does not realize that she has an ulterior motive for hiring him. This movie brings out teenager’s inner struggles between their desires and responsibilities in a non-school environment. 

          High School Musical 3 is all about the group’s senior year. Amid preparations for a basketball championship, prom, senior play, and graduation, Troy and Gabriella vow to savor every moment, knowing that college plans put the future of their relationship into question. An elaborate spring musical is just the thing for these two Wildcats and the rest of their classmates to express their fears and hopes for the future. The third movie from this trilogy brings out friendship, family, responsibility, and opportunity.  

          So which is the best– the beginning of the story, their summer fun, or the end of their long journey? I asked three people around the school that have seen all three movies to discuss their personal favorite. 

Junior Aubrey Klarman says that the best movie out of the three is the second one. HSM 2, as it is referred to by fans, is an uncommon choice for viewers being that it does not have anything to do with their high school journey. Klarman, on the other hand, believes that the second one is the best for many different reasons. 

Klarman stated that “High School Musical 2 is the best one because it has the best music– Bet on It, Gotta Go My Own Way, Fabulous, I Don’t Dance…so many more bangers. Plus, the drama of the movie was very well scripted.”

Klarman also noted the end of the movie. “Everyday as the ending to the movie was brilliant and it lets you have that moment of happiness with Troy and Gabriella at the end. HSM 2 just does not miss the mark, it hits the bullseye.”

Junior Emma Zegers agreed with Klarman and said the second movie is the best of them all. “The plot of the movie is simply different than the other two which gives a different look on their lives. Instead of having to watch them go through their high school years, you get to see them have fun outside of school during their summer vacation and not have to worry about their high school clubs and sports. The scenery also plays a big part for me. You are not seeing their high school anymore. You can see a country club, a pool, and a golf course. With the change in scenery from the other two movies, it brings viewers in since they have not seen the characters in this kind of place before.”

High School Musical 2 might be more popular than people think. With the change in the plot and with students not in school, it would bring many viewers in to see them having fun instead of worrying about schoolwork, sports, and clubs– not always the most popular topics for the target audience!

Senior, Rachel Pieper, had a different opinion. She stated “the third one is by far the best. The storyline for just this movie was the best out of the three. You also get to see how Troy and Gabriella go through the struggles of moving away to college, which is good for teenagers to relate to since they will soon be going through this, too.”

Pieper also mentioned the ending like Klarman, but argues this ending was more complete. “Another thing that shows why this is the best movie out of three is you get to see them plan the play and perform it which was one of my favorite parts since the other two stories did not have them performing a play/musical.” HSM 3 is definitely a more popular choice out of the three being that it is their senior year and has the most productivity out of the three with the group’s high school experience.

When I personally think of High School Musical, my mind goes to the third movie. I think that it’s the best because of how well the movie is written out. You get to see how they go through their senior year and how they all get to do one last thing together before they graduate. The audience gets to see their senior prom, senior basketball season, senior musical and many more things that make their senior year great. Troy and Gabriella go through personal trouble with college and picking where to go, which is easy for viewers to relate to. I think it has a great ending to the sequel with them all moving on to go to college and finishing their high school journey with each other.  

In conclusion, the interviews argue that High School Musical 2 is the more popular choice. But fans still want to know– which is your favorite?