Written by: Gabrielle McLaren, Features Editor
Camp Rock (2008)
Camp Rock is here to remind us that Demi Lovato once had bangs and that the Jonas Brothers were real. It follows Mitchie, a girl who dreams of stardom, but can only attend the prestigious summer camp for budding teen musicians when her mother is hired as a caterer.
Mitchie’s story is centred on self-love. She makes important friendships with other campers, learns to be confident in her own voice, and stops hiding her family’s status — hence Disney’s role in introducing tweens to classism, whether they knew it or not.
On top of that, the set and filming locations for the camp are beautiful and its setting is fairly unique. It’s also nice to show talented people working to improve their talents or studying for school, instead of becoming talented through miasmas or pure luck or whatnot.
High School Musical (2006)
Let’s be real: all of your true bops are from this film, and your first ideas of what the true meaning of love was were based on Troy and Gabriella’s love story.
You were probably a tween when this movie came out, so you also thought that high school was going to be a lot more stratified and intense than it actually was because of this film. You probably thought you’d look taller, fitter, and cooler, and that you wouldn’t have acne. You were disappointed, because you were not Zac Efron by the age of 14.
Still, the movie had a wide range of characters (though they were mostly caricatures themselves) and a couple of intermingling storylines to keep things interesting. Bonus: the sequel movies to High School Musical were subpar disappointments, but what even happened in Camp Rock 2? (Oh yeah, there was a Camp Rock sequel. You didn’t know?) Exactly.
It’s going to have to go to High School Musical, and not just because of the ensemble finale number. Sure, it has its issues: it wildly misrepresents what high school is actually like and what high schoolers look and act like. Then again, what Disney product doesn’t?
This movie has a bit of an edge in the realm of Disney-Channel-made-for-TV-musical movies because its soundtrack is more intelligently used. Put simply, the songs advance the plot and build up the storyworld instead of simply creating an ambiance or telling you how the character’s doing.
Also, let’s face it, they are so catchy that the second you hear them again, every word comes pouring out of your mouth. They make for some great karaoke tunes. If you’re going to be a musical, be a musical.