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Is High School Musical 3 a “Modern-day ‘Grease’?”

25 Oct

I am embarrassingly fond of High School Musical and its sequel. So of course, one might expect that I was at the theaters last night, and ready to review the new installment. But instead, I was curled up on the couch watching Ninja Warrior (Shingo Yamamoto is my favorite!).

I could blame my inertia on the enormous amount of work that life has dealt me this fall, between my own professional life and supporting my kid in a new, highly competitive, very challenging school. But if it were a new Pixar flick that came out last night, you know I would’ve found the time.

My son believes I’m not going because I couldn’t borrow my young nieces, who have a rather busy social schedule. However, I didn’t even call to see if they were free. And my son, of course, is too old (and by his standards the wrong gender) to be interested in the movie, and (by my estimation) too young to enjoy it as camp, so I can’t use him as cover.

I don’t think that’s it, though. I think the heart of it is, in fact, HSM fatigue, exacerbated by high ticket prices and that darn economy. I woulda recorded it had it been on Disney Channel last night, but I can’t get myself to care enough to drive down to the theatre and plunk down those hard-earned bucks. I don’t really need to see another set of Ryan’s hats, at least not enough to get myself out the door. I can’t be bothered to worry about Troy and Gabriella’s relationship. I am a little curious to know whether there’s another homo-erotic dance number (ala “I Don’t Dance” from HSM2), but that can wait.

Now, I do figure the movie will be a smash hit, at least from a box office perspective. There’s not that much out there right now for kids, and listening to Kenny Ortega yesterday on NPR I understand that kids all over the world will be clamoring for another trip to the theatre, much as I somehow managed to see Grease fourteen and a half times the summer it opened (the half? we arrived too early for a matinee in Reno, and watched the second part of the movie while waiting for it to begin again).

So, I find myself on YouTube looking for the original Grease trailer, and instead stumble across a whole lotta Grease/HSM mashups! They’re a little frustrating because of course the lip synch doesn’t work…but they amuse me, and make me laugh so loud that my son is forced to drop his homework, and watch one with me (courtesy of SarBear4Ryan).

Now, the comparison with Grease had been brought to mind this morning by an ad in the paper, claiming that HSM3 is “A modern-day ‘Grease'” (Christopher Tookey, London Daily Mail). And in some ways the comparison is apt: Busby Berkeley dance numbers, high school drama, catchy tunes. But as I watch the mash-up, the differences are right up in my face, and feel rooted in the sexual angst of the 1970s, as if somebody had taken an eye-dropper’s worth of the tension of The Ice Storm and the bravado of real-life teenagers, and injected these directly into the script. Danny Zuko sang of the praises of this “pussy wagon” where he’d be “gettin’ lots of tit,” while Troy Bolton sings of, what exactly? Grease gives us a pregnancy scare, a good girl turning slut to win her man, a fabulously sassy Rizzo trading naughty quips with Zuko even in the all-audiences trailer. HSM2 gives us Troy corrupted by the influence of wealth and expensive Italian loafers.

Of course, it’s not impossible to completely neuter Grease, even without mashing it into HSM. My son pointed me at the truly amazing Lego Summer Nights video (courtesy of demondoggz), and I gotta say no matter how many times I hear Lego Zuko talk about the “horny details,” I just can’t think of Legos that way.

Yeah, I’ll probably get High School Musical 3 on Netflix as soon as it comes out on DVD. But I might well watch Grease again first. For the fifteenth-and-a-half time.

Lego or Lego? My Son Compares Downtown Disney Lego Stores

16 Oct

Below is a guest post, by my son Godzilla the Air Toa. Enjoy! (All images are thumbnails — please click for larger versions.)

There’s a Lego at the heart of Disney, and since I’m obsessed with Lego, I’m writing an article of comparison. Our contestants: Downtown Disney Lego Store Anaheim vs. Downtown Disney Lego Store Orlando.

The atmosphere: In Anaheim, when you get off the monorail from Disneyland you will see a big yellow building with two Lego bricks in front.

Giant lego brick in Anaheim

When you enter, the rows of shelves will contain Creator, Dino Attack, Bionicle, Bellville, Click-its, Duplo, Cuarto, Exo Force, and much more. Lego brick models of Darth Vader, R2-D2, and Tahu wait for you as Lego red baron flies around a towering Lego giraffe.

Giraffe in AnaheimCreator in AnaheimTahu in AnaheimStar Wars lego in Anaheim

Once you have everything you need, a Lego sea serpent is slithering through the walls at the checkout counter.

Serpent in Anaheim

There’s a serpent at Orlando too. It swims near the Lego brick tourists, dogs, and Creator statues. When you enter the circular building, your jaw will drop. There’s enough Lego in the store to build three of the stores out of Lego bricks! Most of the statues are on the outside of the store, because in that puny little double-circle building I don’t think there’d be enough room for some products as well. There’s also a lot of little play tables, with Lego bricks for kids to play with.

Serpent in OrlandoTourist dogs in OrlandoTRex in Orlando
Creator in Orlando
The quality: I must admit, the range of sets are the same, but being a bigger store, Anaheim has more stock, but the same sets you can get from Orlando. I believe Orlando uses too much of the building for “fill a box” (you get a box, you can fill it up with whatever bricks you want for a given price, but they have to be able to close it). I also think Orlando mis-uses its space with too many models and free-build tables. I mean, I know it’s really fun to free-build, but I’m looking from a company perspective. At Anaheim they have a bigger space, so they have enough room for that stuff.

The results: Orlando wins! It was close. I’m probably picking favorites, because I like Walt Disney World more than Disneyland, but, oh well!

Disney Park Wallpapers: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Lego Store

9 Sep

I’ve noticed that a good percentage of the people visiting this site are finding me because they’ve searched for Disney parks wallpaper. So, here are a few more reasonably hi-res images from my trips to Disney theme parks which make good desktop wallpaper.

Epcot’s “Spaceship Earth”, at night:

Walt Disney World Railroad Main Street Station, during the opening ceremony:

Giant robot outside the Lego Store at Downtown Disney (anybody know if this guy’s got a name?”

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