Australian Council on Children and the Media

High School Musical

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 6 for potential lack of interest. Suitable for 6+.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for High School Musical
  • a review of High School Musical completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 May 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Parental guidance recommended due to potential lack of interest.
Children aged 6 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: High School Musical
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Not specified
Length 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

High School Musical is a Disney TV-movie which follows two students, Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) who meet on Winter Vacation when they are called upon to sing Karaoke at a New Year’s party. The two find that they enjoy singing together and decide to exchange numbers before going their separate ways. Gabriella transfers schools at the beginning of the new school term and to their surprise ends up at Troy’s high school. Troy is captain and star player of the East High ‘Wildcats’ basketball team and Gabriella is a talented science student and becomes a member of the academic decathlon team. Gabriella tries to convince Troy to try out for the school musical and although Troy and Gabriella miss the audition, they are eventually heard singing by the drama teacher who invites them to a call back. When the call back list is posted, brother and sister team, Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) and Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), discover that they have competition for the leads in the musical and are angry that Troy and Gabriella aren't sticking to the ‘status quo’. Also unhappy, the Wildcats and the decathlon team are fearful that their teammates may choose singing over them and conspire to trick Troy into saying that Gabriella and the audition are not important to him. Gabriela gets extremely upset by his betrayal and decides not to audition for the musical. Troy is left confused and upset and realising their mistake, the basketball team, tell Troy what happened and offer to support him in the call back. Meanwhile, Ryan and Sharpay encourage the music teacher to change the audition time to coincide with the basketball championship and the scholastic decathlon, forcing them to decide. When the basketball and decathlon teams find out about this deception, they develop a plan to help them do both.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Peer pressure; Identity; Breaking stereotypes; Teamwork; Striving to achieve one’s goals.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Some rough play on the basketball court including a player shoving another player out of the way to get the ball.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The coach yells at the players off the court which may startle younger viewers.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Hand holding and mild flirting.
  • The main male character appears shirtless in one scene.
  • Two characters almost share a kiss in the final scene.
  • A female teacher walks into the men’s locker room, and several male students are seen wearing towels around their waist and are shirtless.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “shake your booty and turn around” in a song lyric.
  • “what the heck” exclaimed by the head coach.
  • “I’d rather stick pins in my eyes”.

In a nutshell

High School Musical is a family-friendly musical aimed at tween audiences. The movie is filled with positive messages about friendship and being true to yourself. While the plot lacks in complexity, the catchy songs, upbeat dance sequences and portrayal of young romance will surely engage viewers.

The main messages from this movie are about the importance of being true to yourself, having the courage to try something new, the importance of friendships and combating peer pressure.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include acceptance and the importance of supporting your friends when they want to try something new.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The power of peer pressure and some ways we can stand up for what we believe in.
  • Persevering to achieve your goals and try new things.

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