To celebrate yesterday marking 15 years since High School Musical 2 first aired on the Disney Channel back in 2007, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to look at some of the best DCOM musicals. From summer camps, to school detentions to country clubs – this list has it all.
I was raised on DCOMs, and think it is fair to say I have seen plenty of them too, so here is my definitive Top 5 DCOM Musicals!
5. Teen Beach Movie
Teen Beach Movie is an interesting film, not only because of its ridiculous concept, and clear parody of West Side Story (with the Surfers facing off with the Bikers) but for the amount of fun you get from watching it. Another film I have fond memories of, including performing Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’ many times in my grandparents living room with my cousins – the good ol’ days!
Led by Ross Lynch and Maia Mitchell, Teen Beach Movie debuted on Disney Channel in 2013, and was in fact the only DCOM to air during the year. The film’s soundtrack has some notable “bops” including the previously mentioned Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’, but also my personal favourite Surf’s Up!
4. Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam
Released way back in 2010, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam reintroduced audiences to the campmates at Camp Rock and saw them come face-to-face with rival campsite Camp Star. I recently rewatched both Camp Rock and The Final Jam for the first time in quite a while, and despite some conventional DCOM cheese, the films still hold up really well.
I know for a fact, the sequel is so much better than the first film, due to both the actual production quality of the film and improved soundtrack. Not to say “We Rock” or “Play My Music” aren’t incredibly great anthems, but I just think The Final Jam is miles better. I’d argue the sequel’s soundtrack has far more superior, and more iconic songs when compared to the original, but it also mixes up the difference of music styles too, with the introduction of more R&B songs from the camp’s rivals, Camp Star.
I always see it being a shame we never got too see a continuation set within the Camp Rock universe, ultimately things happened and Disney looked past the franchise following The Final Jam, a somewhat fitting title.
3. Descendants 1 + 2
It is incredibly difficult to pick between the two, because of how good both films’ soundtracks are. Descendants tells the story of the teenage children of four Disney-villains, initially banished on the Isle of the Lost, who move to the fantasy land of Auradon, thanks to King Beast and Queen Belle’s son. I think the best part of these films is the fact that it takes existing Disney characters and introduces their children. There is so much you could do in this “cinematic universe”, if that is what you would call it.
The film led to a a trilogy of films, with an upcoming spin-off film for Disney+ set to begin production soon, an animated series, a number of short films and also a TV animated movie. Descendants has been a very successful brand for the Disney Channel brand, and it is definitely deserving of this.
As for the films themselves, they deal with issues such as Good vs. Evil, facing up to what is right with the world, and they’re just overall lots of fun. Plus, they feature a wide range of characters from the Disney universe (and their kids). Pioneered by Kenny Ortega (director of the High School Musical trilogy), Descendants has it all, for sure.
2. Lemonade Mouth
Lemonade Mouth tells the story of a group of detention-goers who come together and form a band. Throughout the course of the film, it promotes the message of standing up for what you believe in, whilst also delivering some top notch songs. It also carries the idea of following your dreams, and it was such a brilliant film to watch when I was younger.
Not only are the songs good, but the film features an ensemble cast of Disney stars including the likes of Bridgit Mendler (Good Luck Charlie), Naomi Scott (Aladdin), Hayley Kiyoko (Wizards of Waverly Place), Blake Michael (Dog with a Blog) and Adam Hicks (Zeke and Luther) – all work really well together on screen, and the quality of the film proves it.
Definitely one of the more underrated DCOMs, and one that deserves another chance for sure.
1. High School Musical 2
Obviously the main talking point of this piece – High School Musical 2. By far, one of the best Disney Channel Original Movies of all time, regardless of its musical background too. There is nothing more iconic than seeing Ashley Tisdale’s Sharpay perform Fabulous at the Lava Spring Country Club.
I have seen this film countless times, and it does not ever get old or begin to drag despite a hefty rewatch count. I just think it is absolutely brilliant… From the opening number to the final ensemble performance, it is a wonderful musical and I enjoy every single minute of it!
It is easily the best of the High School Musical series. Obviously, the first one has that nostalgia to it, but it isn’t until the second film where the franchise reaches its full potential. I must add that the third film in the series does benefit from a higher production cost, but is nowhere near as enjoyable as the second, despite being the spectacle it is.
And there you have it, 5 of the Best Disney Channel Original Movie Musicals! All of these titles are available to stream on Disney+ – do you have a favourite DCOM Musical?