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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure

April 17th, 2011

Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack, or Blu-ray / DVD Giftset

After being the "villain" in the High School Musical films, Ashley Tisdale gets to be the star of the film in Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure. Will she be able to take a character that most people loved to hate and turn her into someone people will want to love?

The Movie

Sharpay is still looking to become famous and thinks she's earned her first big break when a talent scout arranges an audition for her after seeing her perform with Amber Lee Adams at the Lava Springs Country Club in New York City. She's left practically speechless and begs her dad to let her go. He relents, but under on condition, if she fails to get the job, she has to come back home.

When Sharpay gets to New York, it's better than she could have imagined with the lights and the sounds and the famous landmarks. She has a penthouse suite with a beautiful view, but it doesn't takes dogs, and she's not about to abandon Boi, so she has to look for new accommodations. I'm not sure what her plan was, because when we see her next, all she is doing is sitting on your luggage on the sidewalk. If it weren't for Peyton Leverett (Austin Butler) showing up, I don't know what she would do. He's the son of a family friend and was sent there to make sure she was getting on okay. He is able to rescue her and gets her a studio suite in the apartment building where he lives. It's not up to her usual standards, but at least she's got a place to stay and a big audition coming up, right? Not quite. Turns out the talent scout's compliments were directed at her dog, Boi, not Sharpay. Not only that, he's in a close competition for a role with Countess, owned by an equally spoiled Roger Elliston (Bradley Steven Perry). Still, she has the determination to persevere, even when it turns out the star of the show is not as nice as her carefully maintained sweetheart reputation. Then when she learns that Amber is planning on getting Boi and Countess thrown out of the play, she has to take desperate measures.

As a man in his 30s, I can safely say that I'm not part of the target demographic for this film. That said, I've reviewed every single installment in the High School Musical trilogy, as well as the concert DVD, so I have a good frame of reference to make comparisons. Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure isn't exactly what you would call an original movie. It's the story of a wannabe star looking for her first big break, but finding more obstacles than she anticipated. But with pluck and determination, and a little help, she comes out on top. And no, that's not a spoiler, as anyone who has seen more than three movies will be able to guess the ending of this film from before the opening credits. Additionally, not only is the film rather predictable, but it's filled with little coincidences. Why would there be a talent scout at a country club show? What would have happened had Peyton not shown up just after Sharpay was thrown out of her apartment? I don't think this will bug the target audience, but fortunately it's there to give critics something to talk about.

On the plus side, Ashley Tisdale is as charming as ever and she's able to make this character a lot more sympathetic while still maintaining the essence of Sharpay. She's still self-centered and demanding, but vulnerable enough to make viewers cheer for her. The film doesn't quite have the same energy the High School Musical films had, nor is it a true musical. (There are musical numbers, but they are characters singing and dancing as part of a production, rehearsal, etc., and not just characters bursting out into song to express emotions or advance the plot.) But I think fans of those movies will enjoy this spin-off.

The Extras

There are not a lot of extras and the DVD only has some outtakes and the Austin Cam, which is seven minutes of footage shot by Austin Robert Butler, some of which appears in the movie, but it also captures some of the behind-the-scenes. The only Blu-ray exclusive extra is a nine-minute featurette called The Evolution of Sharpay, which discusses how much the character has changed over the course of four movies.

As far the film's audio and video are concerned, it's good, but not great. It is a TV movie so one should take that into account when judging the video quality. The details levels are good, there's very little grain, the colors are sharp and that's especially important for all of Sharpay's costumes. The audio is mostly strong, but don't expect booming bass or a dynamic mix.

Looking at the prices, the Blu-ray costs just 25% more than the DVD, and it comes with the DVD, so it is clearly the better deal. There is also a Blu-ray / DVD Giftset, which includes a digital copy of the movie and a pink clutch purse, but that's probably only for super fans.

The Verdict

Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure isn't as big as the High School Musical films were, but it's a good continuation of Sharpay's quest to be famous and fabulous. There are not a lot of extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack, but I think the target audience will enjoy the film enough to want to buy it. If that's the case, the latter is the better deal. Unless they are huge fans, in which case they might want the Blu-ray / DVD Giftset.


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