Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TV: Camp Rock vs. High School Musical

Before Camp Rock premiered on Disney, critics were saying that it paled in comparison to High School Musical, quality-wise. Although the ratings (8.9 mil) proved that it didn't attract as many viewers as High School Musical 2 (17.2 mil), it wouldn't be fair to compare the two, since HSM already had a following. In fact, the first film only attracted 7.7 million viewers.

I think people were expecting higher numbers from Camp Rock because of the Jonas Brothers. But the fact that the favored brother, Nick, wasn't front and center probably has something to do with the results--not that Joe didn't do a suprisingly good job...for a singer. However, Nick and Kevin had maybe 10 minutes of screen time, which was probably best for Kev, who wasn't that great. The commercials were kind of deceptive, consistently implying that all three brothers would star in the film. Even the poster (shown above) implies that all three of them would have equal screen time and individual storylines.

Nonetheless, the deciding factor, for me, on which film was better has to do with the song production. I'm a fan of musicals--my favorite is Guys & Dolls--but I tend to like them more when the songs are better produced. Forgive me if I don't think songs like "Get'cha Head In The Game" or "Stick to the Status Quo" are anything to give a second listen to. Joe Jonas' "I Gotta Find You" and newcomer Demi Lovato's "This is Me," on the other hand, are the perfect mix of Disney and Z100, so parents don't get too annoyed with hearing it on repeat. Not to mention, Joe and Demi can both sing way better--Lovato especially--than anyone in High School Musical.

Don't get me wrong. I own the the first HSM on DVD and I too was/am a fan, but I give it credit more for its cult-appeal and star-making abilities than for its performances, songs, or acting. I will say though that it did have better dance choreography, which is ironic since Camp Rock has one of the best new dancers of this generation, Alyson Stoner, who most people credit Missy Elliott with discovering. Perhaps the fact that Stoner barely danced is a factor in why the film won't be as treasured as HSM. Like I said before, HSM has a certain vibe about it that makes viewers feel apart of the cast and invested in the relationships. It sucks you in and makes you wonder what's next. While I'm sure Disney can figure out where to go next with the characters of Camp Rock, is anyone really all that interested?

On a side note: Lovato and Selena Gomez (star of "Wizards of Waverly Place") are gearing up to be the next stars of Disney to take over Hannah Montana's throne (in what seems like Disney's campaign to add some more culture to its channel with Hispanic leads). While Lovato is set to star in her own series, "Sonny with a Chance," she will also be co-starring with Gomez in another Disney TV movie The Princess Protection Program this September, playing a princess who has to adapt to normal teenage life when her country is invaded by a dictator that she must escape. With the help of her new bff (Gomez) maybe she'll be able to fit in and win the heart of her crush (Robert Adamson of "Lincoln Heights"). Both ladies are interested in music careers and will probably be subjected to major Disney franchising. But before all that, Gomez has a head start at a film career, having just wrapped her first feature, Another Cinderella Story. This time the impoverished young girl will drop her iPod at a dance instead of her glass slipper (or cell phone like in Hilary Duff's Cinderella Story). Newcomer Andrew Seeley will play her prince--even though he's 10 years her senior in real life. (Yikes!)

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