Monday, August 28, 2006

I Want My Disney Channel Back

Zedis Lapedis! How I long for the days of Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century or Stepsister From Planet Weird, when Disney channel movies did not pretend to be anything more than silly, sometimes ridiculous wholesome family entertainment. Then along comes High School Musical, which is also silly and ridiculous, but the difference is it takes itself seriously.

As a long time fan of Disney channel movies, I could not wait for High School Musical to come out. A movie that combines my two loves of the Disney channel and musicals had to be awesome, but Kenny Ortega let me down. Nobody in the cast had any talent, and unlike the Disney channel stars of yore such as Hilary Duff and Kirsten Storms, they had no adorable personalities on which to fall back on. Not that Disney channel movies have genius story lines, but they were somewhat original, a girl who lives on a space station or a house that comes to life. High School Musical is the Grease-like story in which boy meets girl on vacation and she moves to his town, but it does not even have a unique twist to make it truly Disney. I am not here to review High School Musical, which would be pointless as it is such old news, but to use the film to talk about the Disney channel in general. For me, High School Musical was the beginning of the end for Disney channel movies. At the same time, it is the movie that saved the Disney channel, making it cool again.

The latest Disney channel movies was a combination of two success stories, The Cheetah Girls and Kenny Ortega to create The Cheetah Girls 2. Unlike the first Cheetah Girls, in which the girls only sang when they were performing, the sequel is an actual musical where the girls break out into song and dance even when they are not performing. This film is boring and has no heart. It is just an attempt to bring back something that worked once before without trying to bring anything new to the table. In trying to give the four girls equal screen time and individual plots, the movie becomes unfocused.

There is hope for the Disney channel yet, but it may not be in the form of movies, but rather television shows. Shows like That's So Raven and Phil of the Future may be nearing the end, but Hannah Montana may be the next big thing. Miley Cyrus, who plays Miley Stewart/Hannah Montana is adorable and has as much charm and spunk as Lizzie McGuire. Her real life dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, plays her father, Robbie Ray Stewart, and proves that he is not above making fun of himself or his mullet. This is what I'm talking about, a comedy that adults and children can laugh at together that doesn't make you want to kill the principal characters (except maybe Emily Osment, who plays Miley's best friend, Lilly, but even she has her moments).

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