If it were possible to rate a movie based on yawns, then Disney's 'Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure' would be highly recommended. More of the work in watching this 'High School Musical' spinoff goes into staying awake, rather than in actually paying attention to the plot. As mean as it may sound, the movie, which originally aired on the studio's cable channel, functions best as a sleep aide, the sort of material to knock you right out when sleep is elusive. And yes, I understand the story's target audience is much younger viewers than myself, but usual Disney fare, which includes this snorefest's three predecessors, typically considers the attention span of parents and includes something mildly entertaining.
Here, an entire plot is built around a two-bit background character who attracted very little interest and lacked any unique characteristics beyond her Paris Hilton-wannabe, spoiled-rich-girl persona. Ninety minutes are devoted to a two-dimensional character, who actually remains two-dimensional to the very end — the brat that is Sharpay Evans still gets what she whines for and throws tantrums over, without gaining a lick of true humility. Ashley Tisdale returns as the small-time heiress and socialite hopeful, but she's terrible to watch for more than fifteen minutes in anything, wasting precious camera time modeling her hideous but extensive array of pink outfits and making endless pouting faces.
In 'Fabulous Adventure,' the New Mexico drama queen sets her sights on being the next Broadway diva. Only when she arrives in the Big Apple, thinking her big-break audition is already lined-up, the clueless Sharpay discovers her dog, Boi, has more star power and talent than she does. Soon after, she finds herself in a heated battle with another dog for the lead role. It's an obvious plot device meant as an amusing distraction for creating a few situational gags and one cutesy moment of puppy love. But as it turns out, this subplot is actually more interesting and entertaining than seeing Tisdale striving at center stage. Sadly, someone forgot to wrap up this minor storyline of unrequited doggy romance before forcing another musical number upon the audience.
Ultimately, this is one of Disney's weaker efforts — an obvious cash-in on a popular franchise that's already starting to diminish. Director Michael Lembeck ('Tooth Fairy') brings an ordinary, workman-like energy to the production, which wouldn't be a big deal, given this is a direct-to-video release. But the whole movie feels like it was shot inside a soundstage, and viewers are hardly ever taken outside to see the city. It was all filmed in Toronto, which would explain why most every scene takes place indoors.
The whole movie is honestly boring and sleep-inducing. I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but I have more fun watching 'Cheetah Girls' and the 'Buddies' films series with my daughter than listening to the whiny hysterics of Tisdale's Sharpay. In the end, 'Fabulous Adventure' is dry, dull, displaying none of the spectacle and enthusiasm of its three predecessors.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment debuts 'Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure' to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo set. The first is a Region Free, BD50 while the second is a standard-def copy of the movie on a DVD-9. Both are housed in a blue keepcase on opposing panels, and the package comes with a shiny, pink cardboard slipcover and a manufacture's coupon for 'Bambi' when the two are purchased together. At startup, viewers can enjoy skippable trailers for 'The Lion King,' 'Prom,' and the upcoming 'Cars 2.' Afterwards, we have the normal menu selection with music and full-motion clips.
Sharpay feels right at home with the high standards and prestige of Blu-ray. Simply put, the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (1.78:1) looks fabulous, with a great deal of sharp definition and crystal-clear clarity.
The fine lines in hair, doggy fur, and the main character's extensive wardrobe are very distinct. Furniture, architecture and other small background characteristics are beautifully detailed and revealing, even in low-lit sequences. Flesh tones appear healthy and natural with great lifelike texture in the complexions. Contrast is spot-on, with a brilliant and vivid array of colors which leap off the screen, especially primaries and the endless amount of pink.
The only visible issues worth mentioning are a couple of scenes with slightly poorer than usual resolution and a rather inconsistent but still good black levels. Aside from that, the Disney Channel Movie looks terrific on Blu-ray.
On the audio side, the kid's flick is pretty much what one would expect from a made-for-TV movie.
Despite being encoded in 5.1 surround, the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is a front-heavy affair with clearly intelligible vocals in the center. Except, imaging often feels narrow and somewhat constrained, so there's little going on in the background to make the presentation seem welcoming or engaging. Rears are silent through most of the movie's runtime, which is a bit of a shame for a story set in the big city. But on a more positive note, dynamics are clean and precise with a healthy and energetic low bass. Musical numbers spread across the front soundstage evenly with good balance.
In the end, however, there's nothing truly memorable about this lossless mix.
Disney brings 'Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure' with a puny collection of supplements.
Ashley Tisdale returns as Sharpay Evans for a (not so) 'Fabulous Adventure' in New York City. The dull spinoff has the 'High School Musical' character compete for her big chance on Broadway. And as one would expect, the snobby heiress gets what she wants, despite her complete lack of talent. The Blu-ray, puts on a great show in the video department, but suddenly turns bland and boring again with average audio and a weak collection of supplements. The package might be worth the price for those who really consider themselves fans of the character, but others would be better off with a rental.