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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure (Combo Pack)



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#1 of 2 Matt Hough

Matt Hough

    Executive Producer

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  • LocationCharlotte, NC

Posted April 12 2011 - 10:07 AM

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Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by  Michael Lembeck

Studio: Disney
Year: 2011
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1   1080p   AVC codec  
Running Time: 89 minutes
Rating: G
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish
Subtitles:  SDH, French, Spanish


Region:  A-B-C
MSRP:  $ 39.99



Release Date: April 19, 2011

Review Date: April 12, 2011

 

 

The Film

2/5

 

Never work with children or animals, so the saying goes, and that might have been a wise homily for actress Ashley Tisdale to have paid attention to before fashioning Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, a continuation of the character she created in the High School Musical trilogy of films. The animals and children aren’t really the main problem here, of course; that would simply have been a convenient excuse to ditch the project before it began filming. The problems here can be traced to a feeble script which doesn’t have an original idea within it and a leading lady who just doesn’t have what it takes on which to build a major movie project. As a supporting villainess in the High School Musical films, the character of Sharpay had her usefulness, and within a narrow range of emotions, Ashley Tisdale did just fine with her, but as the star of this film, Sharpay’s character is de-fanged and made into a conventional and rather witless protagonist, and Ashley Tisdale doesn’t have enough complexity as an actress to make her at all interesting. What’s worse, the film betrays her limited singing and dancing talents, another misstep in formulating a film around the character and her portrayer.

 

After entertaining for her parents’ country club benefit, Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) is presented with an invitation to come to New York to audition for a Broadway show about to start production. Her father (Robert Curtis Brown) is reluctant to let her go but gives her one month to make a success of her New York sojourn. Once there, she is horrified to find out the talent scout had only been impressed with her dog Boi and that he is the one who has scored an audition for the show A Girl’s Best Friend. Sharpay and Boi are in competition with smug twelve-year old Roger Elliston (Bradley Steven Perry) and his dog Countess for the open spot in the show which is starring noted diva Amber Lee Adams (Cameron Goodman). The conniving Amber actually hates dogs and is looking for any excuse to have them written out of the show. Sharpay is being watched over in New York by NYU student filmmaker Peyton Leverett (Austin Butler) who dislikes seeing the change coming over Sharpay as she struggles to make inroads in her fight to get Boi into the show.

 

The script by Robert Horn has about half a dozen funny lines to stretch over the almost ninety-minute film (for example, a Murphy bed is described as a “closet with a tongue”) with a few yawn-inducing musical numbers also sprinkled about. In that regard, the best one is the dog’s audition number for the show “Me and My Boi” (nicely staged and shot by director Michael Lembeck) along with Sharpay’s eleven ‘clock number “New York’s Best Kept Secret.” As for the rest, from Sharpay’s opening benefit extravaganza “Gonna Shine” to the closing “The Rest of My Life,” the music is uninspired and the performances forced and not very lyrical. Tisdale’s singing is thin and reedy; she’s really not the diva she’s portrayed in the High School Musical films though the insipid songs in this effort are likely what have betrayed her. As for the predictable story, yes, the dogs fall in love (puppy love: who saw that coming?) and Sharpay and her guardian angel Peyton have a predictable falling out late in the film before finally realizing what every viewer knew was going to happen from the start. The tween audience for whom this was made may likely find it all exciting and fun, but there is very little here for anyone watching past the preteen years.

 

Aside from Ashley Tisdale’s near monopoly on the singing and prancing (no one else gets a solo), Austin Butler keeps that perpetual smile going full blast almost throughout (except from that one blow up with Sharpay). Two wonderful character actors are completely wasted with inferior material. Jack Plotnick as the show’s book writer and Alec Mapa as the show’s director could have taken the film to another level had they been given comic business worthy of their abilities. Bradley Steven Perry plays the bratty kid who’s Sharpay’s competitor, undergoing a complete personality change late in the film as if Frankenstein himself had replaced his brain with another. Cameron Goodman’s narcissistic star Amber plays right to the core of that cliché eliciting no surprises or freshness with her efforts.

 

 

Video Quality

4/5

 

The made-for-TV movie is framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Colors are bright and nicely saturated, and with pink being Sharpay’s favorite color, the disc does an excellent job differentiating between the assorted hues. Flesh tones are also natural and nicely presented. Sharpness is the transfer’s most notable area of concern. It’s clear but never as sharp as one might expect from a film this current. Black levels are also only slightly above average and not exemplary. The film has been divided into 19 chapters.

 

 

Audio Quality

3.5/5

 

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is something of a disappointment. Though some of the orchestrations for the music allow sound to be fed into the rear channels, the remainder of the movie is almost completely frontcentric with very unimaginative sound design. There’s not much bass in the mix, and the soundstage doesn’t have much expanse. Even on outside locations, there are no ambient sounds to give a sense of busy New York City streets. Dialogue is certainly cleanly recorded and resides clearly in the center channel.

 

 

Special Features

2/5

 

“The Evolution of Sharpay” is a 9-minute series of sound bites from actress Ashley Tisdale about the changes in her character from the earlier trilogy to this film. Most of this featurette, however, is devoted to clips from all four films where the character has appeared (and reminding us that Ashley’s on-screen brother played by Lucas Grabeel does not appear in the film at all, even if he does sing “Baby” on the soundtrack). It’s in 1080p.

 

“Austin Cam” finds co-star Austin Butler sharing some of the video footage he shot during the making of the movie (his character is a student filmmaker who always carries around his camcorder). The footage is presented in 1080p.

 

There is a 1 ¼-minute blooper reel of the dogs misbehaving on camera which breaks up the stars.

 

There are 1080p trailers for Cars 2, The Lion King, Prom, The Fox & the Hound, Bambi II, and Shake It Up.



The second disc in the package is the DVD version of the movie.

 

 

In Conclusion

2/5 (not an average)

 

It’s not surprising that Disney attempted to keep characters from their biggest made-for-TV franchise going with Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, but the result really wasn’t worth the effort. Above average video and average audio along with the sparse, fluffy bonus material make a disc that’s impossible to recommend to any but the most loyal fans of the lead character or actress.

 

 

 

Matt Hough

Charlotte, NC



#2 of 2 Matt Hough

Matt Hough

    Executive Producer

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Posted April 15 2011 - 02:24 AM

On April 5, I participated in an on-line interview roundtable with the stars of the film Ashley Tisdale and Austin Butler. Below is the transcript of that interview session:


Q - Tell us about your character Peyton Leverett in "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure"
A - Austin Butler: Peyton is a film student at NYU who is working on a film thesis. He is looking for one unique New York story. He ends up finding Sharpay on the side of the street covered in pink surrounded by pink suit cases and he thinks she's the perfect fish-out-of water story. He ends up filming her journey trying to become a Broadway star.

Q - Was it weird making a Sharpay movie without your old High School Musical co-stars?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Yes it was scary and nerve wrecking. Luckily I had a whole new cast and new characters that were awesome, so they helped me out.

Q - What was the hardest part of working on "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure?"
A - Austin Butler: The hardest part for me was the fact that I was filming a lot of the movie on top of acting. So I had to concentrate on not getting any of the other cameras or the lights in my shot.

Q - Acting/Singing/Producing, which one you do like best?
A - Ashley Tisdale: I can't choose. I love all of them but I would have to say I've been acting the longest so that's my number 1.

Q - What was the most enjoyable part of working on "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure?"
A - Austin Butler: Ashley and I have been friends for like 3 or 4 years, so it was a blast to get to come to work every day and just have fun with her.

Q - Can you tell us about the soundtrack from Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure? What's your favorite track?
A - Ashley Tisdale: My favorite track is New Yorks Best Kept Secret! It's so different for Sharpay, it’s the first time we see her so vulnerable.

Q - What's the best and worst thing about working with dog actors?
A - Ashley Tisdale: The best part is that they are so darn cute all of the time. The worst part is that they are animals, so you have to have a lot of patience.

Q - Sharpay is determined to make it as a Broadway star. What's your favorite Broadway show?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Wicked!

Q - OK, so what is Ashley Tisdale REALLY like?
A - Austin Butler: She's a really sweet, down-to-earth girl. Really fun to be around!

Q - What's the most fabulous adventure you've ever been on?
A - Ashley Tisdale: My trip to Europe when I was promoting my album Guilty Pleasure. I had just gotten out of a relationship and it was a very freeing experience to be with my band and just focus on work and finding what I really wanted.

Q - Your film "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure" will be released very soon, how do you feel?
A - Ashley Tisdale: I am so excited! I hope everyone likes it, as I had so much fun filming it! And I'm so proud of this project.

Q - What's the best and worst thing about working with dog actors?
A - Austin Butler: Their adorable and really fun to hang with while not filming. We had great trainers on the movie, but the dogs definitely get to a time when they don't feel like working anymore and can get a little grumpy.

Q - Honestly, how fun is it to play Sharpay?
A - Ashley Tisdale: It's so much fun. I'm so lucky to have a character like Sharpay Evans.

Q - What's your favorite Sharpay outfit?
A - Ashley Tisdale: The pink trench coat she arrives with in NYC.

Q - Are you a fan of the original High School Musical movies?
A - Austin Butler: The first time I watched High School Musical was in Ashley's trailer while we were filming Aliens in the Attic in New Zealand. She would sing along! It was a fun way to watch them. It's hard not to become a fan of the movies after that.

Q – Did you write songs for the movie's soundtrack, how was it?
A - Ashley Tisdale: I didn't actually write the songs. I just sang them.

Q - Do you have a message for your Australian and New Zealand fans?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Thank you so much for all your support, I love you guys!!!!

Q - What's the most fabulous adventure you've ever been on?
A - Austin Butler: When I was with Ashley in New Zealand, we kayaked to this little island off the beach. When we got there we realized the ground was really sharp and we hadn't brought any shoes. We ended up wrapping seaweed around our feet and exploring the island. It was a cool adventure!

Q - Will we be seeing another music CD from you in the future Ashley?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Not right now because I'm really focused on my TV show and movies... but maybe in the future.

Q - You're the Executive Producer on Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure. Does that mean you got to boss your co-stars around?
A - Ashley Tisdale: YES!!!! hahaha kidding, No. I would just bring it up in conversation to get a reaction out of them. I love making people laugh.

Q - Are you anything like your character, Peyton?
A - Austin Butler: A little bit, yes. I'm similar to Peyton in that he's driven and focused. Peyton is really focused on becoming a director, and I feel the same way about acting.

Q - Sharpay always has a fabulous wardrobe! Can you tell us about your costumes in this movie? Do you have a favorite outfit from Sharpay's wardrobe?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Sharpay's outfits are very fabulous. They are pink and rhinestoned. I think one of my favorite costumes in this movie is the pink trench coat I am wearing when I arrive in NYC.

Q - Any chance of Life Unexpected returning? I love the show!
A - Austin Butler: So glad you love the show! I don't want to rule out the fact that it could come back. It was a really fun show to do!

Q - Which dog did you get along with best – Boi (the dog in the film) or Maui (Ashley’s dog)?
A - Austin Butler: That's a hard question. They are both adorable dogs, but because the dogs playing Boi were always working, we weren't allowed to play with them as much. So I have to say Maui.

Q - Every High School Musical movie had a message for tweens and teens to take away from the film. What do you hope fans will take away from "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure?"
A - Ashley Tisdale: To believe in yourself and stay true to who you are.

Q - You and Lucas Grabeel work so closely together in the High School Musical movies. Did you miss working with him in "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure" as your brother Ryan?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Yes! I missed everyone from HSM but I had a bunch of actors in this movie that made it just as fun.

Q - What was it like being around everything that was pink and covered in sparkles?
A - Austin Butler: I definitely had to learn to be very confident in my masculinity. :-)

Q - After HSM3, are you still in touch with Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens? Would another reunion of High School Musical be possible in the near future?
A - Ashley Tisdale: I definitely keep in touch with them. They live near me so we're always hanging out when we’re not working. I don't think a reunion of HSM is in the future.

Q - If you weren’t an actor and continued your education, what colleges would you apply to?
A - Austin Butler: I've been to the USC campus and absolutely loved it. I'd like to go to college for English someday.

Q - If you could trade places with anyone, for a day, who would you choose?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Angelina Jolie. Just to be able to see how she juggles everything especially with all her kids.

Q - The two of you were in "Aliens in the Attic" together as well. Is that a coincidence? How does it feel to work together again?
A - Austin Butler: Ashley actually called me and said she wanted me to be cast in Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure. Then I read the script, and went in to meet the director. It was great to work together again. She's a fun girl to be around.

Q - Among the dramas you have participated in, which one inspired you the most?
A - Austin Butler: I got to do an episode of CSI: NY the other day and working with Gary Sinise was such a cool experience. I've looked up to him for years, and he's such a nice guy in person.

Q - After being part of an ensemble cast for the High School Musical movies, how does it feel to have a movie completely based on your character?
A - Ashley Tisdale: I was nervous. It was a challenge taking the character that everyone loves to hate, to making her the heroine.


Q - You've starred in a lot of TV shows - do you have a preference between film and television?
A - Austin Butler: Film and television are just different. Film is cool, because it's a complete package. You know the beginning, middle, and end. You can plan it out more, which I like. But with television you get a new script every week, so it's constantly a mystery as to what you're going to be doing.

Q - Have you kept any 'Sharpay' mementos over the years?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Yes, I have a HUGE picture in my bathroom that was from HSM3 that was featured in the musical number "I Want It All." It's a perfume ad with my face on it and it says 'manipulation by Sharpay.' It cracks me up!

Q - Any possibility that you would come to Hong Kong to meet your fans?
A - Austin Butler: I would love to come to Hong Kong! I've never been!

Q - How long was the shoot and how was it filming in Vancouver?
A - Austin Butler: We actually filmed in Toronto, which is a beautiful city! I loved it there!

Q - What did you think about your director?
A - Ashley Tisdale: The director of Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure, Michael Lembeck, was great! He let me do my thing and we got to create some exciting stuff together!

Q - You play a cheerleader in Hellcats, how do you compare the different dancing styles to Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure?
A - Ashley Tisdale: In Sharpay it's a very Broadway style, where as in Hellcats it's cheerleading. They're very different.

Q - What kind of training did you have before filming? What are your career aspirations?
A - Austin Butler: I just did a lot of research on New York, documentary film making, etc. Then I got to Toronto a week early in order to get really comfortable with the camera that I use in the movie. In the future, I'd like to take on more characters that are challenging.

Q - Do you have any advice for kids who have a passion for performing?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Follow your dreams! Just know it's gonna be hard work, not easy. But if you want something you've gotta go for it!

Q - What did you think about your director?
A - Austin Butler: I really liked Michael as a director. He used to be an actor so he's really great at talking with actors.

Q - Did you ever get sick of the amount of pink you were surrounded with?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Yes, subconsciously I realized I stopped buying pink in my own wardrobe. However I don't mind wearing it now because I'm brunette and I feel like I can pull it off.

Q - Do you think Sharpay could win a Tony or an Oscar one day?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Tony all the way! I don’t even think Sharpay is interested in an Oscar.

Q - Do you have any interest in directing at some point?
A - Ashley Tisdale: I love acting and producing but I haven't had any interest in directing. Maybe that's because my boyfriend is a director so I know what it entails.

Q - Do you have a girlfriend?
A - Austin Butler: No, I'm single.

Q - Do you have any secret "fabulous" talents?
A - Ashley Tisdale: I used to horseback ride!

Q - How long were you in hair and makeup, daily, when filming Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure?
A - Ashley Tisdale: It wasn't too long. Maybe around an hour and a half.

Q - Are there any actors/actresses you look up to and get inspirations from? Who do you want to work with?
A - Austin Butler: Ryan Gosling and Leonardo DiCaprio. They both have made really cool career choices and have transitioned from being child actors to leading men. As far as directors, I'd love to work with Clint Eastwood.

Q - Austin is a bit of a cutie! What's he really like, behind-the-scenes?
A - Ashley Tisdale: He's awesome! We've known each other for so long so we had instant chemistry.

Q - What do you like most about connecting with your fans, via Twitter?
A - Austin Butler: Twitter is great, because I can hear from fans all over the world. It's a cool, casual way to stay in touch.

Q - Could you talk about the experience of working with the dogs and filming?
A - Austin Butler: The dogs are great to work with! They're great little actors!

Q - The Brazilian fans would love to know if you'd perhaps head there someday!
A - Ashley Tisdale: I want to!!! When I went there I wasn't able to see and explore. I love my Brazilian fans and I get all their tweets, so I hope I'm able to go back soon.

Q - We know you enjoy drinks from Coffee Bean! If they made/named a special drink for you- what would you want it to be?
A - Ashley Tisdale: The Sharpay Blend! lol

Q - Austin, what are your dancing skills like? Will we see you bust some moves in "Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure"?
A - Austin Butler: I didn't dance in Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure. I just recently got into a couple of dance classes. It's something I've always wanted to be good at but haven't taken the time to practice. Hopefully soon I'll be able to call myself a dancer. haha

Q - How was it being in Zoey 101?
A - Austin Butler: Zoey 101 was a great experience. The whole cast was really nice. I learned a lot on that set.

Q - Pink is one of Sharpay's wardrobe staples! What brands or items would you say are your wardrobe staples?
A - Ashley Tisdale: I love J Brand jeans, Elizabeth and James, Barneys Co-op, Boots, and Wildfox.

Q - So just how many dogs played 'Boi' in the movie? Did you have a favorite among them?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Two dogs played Boi. Their names are Howie and Herby. I'd have to say Howie was my favorite because I felt like he was the underdog. He wouldn't get tricks at first,as he was so excited. So the director kept having Herby do them. Turns out Herby got tired and Howie took over the movie. I was so proud of him.

Q - Who are your idols/heroes?
A - Ashley Tisdale: My Mom! I've always looked up to her.

Q - Have you ever been starstruck before?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Yes. When I met Angelina Jolie. I was speechless.

Q - What are you favorite movies ever?
A - Ashley Tisdale: Step Brothers and Anchorman!

Q - Have you ever been starstruck before?
A - Austin Butler: I was really starstruck by Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was my idol when I was a little kid. So when I met him I just was like "I'm a huge fan!" and I shook his hand.

Q - Do you have any tips for overcoming nerves or stagefright?
A - Austin Butler: I like to think of nerves as a friend that you know will always be there with you. Then when you go into an audition, or on stage, it's just energy that can be used in your favor.

Q - What are you favorite movies ever?
A - Austin Butler: Some of my favorite movies are: East of Eden, Lars and the Real Girl, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Q - Who are your idols/heroes?
A - Austin Butler: Yeah, I've been reading Benjamin Franklin's Biography. I'd say he's an idol of mine. He was a really smart guy.

Q - Do you have any secret "fabulous" talents?
A - Austin Butler: I make a mean chocolate milkshake!

Q - Do you have any advice for kids who have a passion for performing?
A - Austin Butler: Yeah! Just get out there and do it. If you're passionate about it, don't let anybody pull you down. Have fun!

Q - Ashley, any final thoughts on Sharpay's Fabulous adventure that you'd like to share with us?
A - Ashley Tisdale: I hope you all enjoy the movie! I had so much fun filming it and I'm so proud of it. Thanks for giving me this opportunity! I owe it all to the fans. xoxo

Q - Austin, any final thoughts that you would like to share on Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure?
A - Austin Butler: Thanks for all your great questions! This has been fun! Hope you guys like the movie!