Disney Channel Movies
Disney Channel Original Movies
The Disney Channel premiered in 1983 and since that time the Disney Channel has produced and aired over 128 television movies. Most of them have never been released on DVD or VHS, but you are probably familiar with many of their best hits. Lately, they've been much better about releasing their best movies on DVD, which is great if you had no idea how awesome High School Musical was going to be.
What follows are some of my favorite Disney Channel movies that I think you should be adding to your DVD collection, regardless of whether you have teens or tweens in the house. If you are young at heart, you should enjoy these films at any age.
Some teens will act like they are too cool for school when it comes to the Disney Channel stars and movies, but secretly they like them too. My 16 year old niece likes to diss Zac Efron, but she didn't hesitate to come see 17 Again with me :)
Buy the High School Musical Movies
High School Musical
High School Musical is something of a phenomenon and deservedly so. To date, there are three films and they still air on the Disney Channel so if you like you can find them there, but I recommend picking up the DVDs, especially if you are annoyed by commercials (also, the on-screen network logos on the Disney Channel are particular obnoxious).
They are fun movies that are very easy to re-watch and the DVDs feature all kinds of bonuses, like sing-a-long subtitles, featurettes on the rehearsal process and recordings, and some music videos, including for songs that didn't make the final cut.
The music is great, as you would expect from Disney. It's a mixture of camp, cheese and heart-string tugging hits, a particular blend that Disney is expert at creating. But what really shines in these movies is the cast.
Featuring Zac Efron as Troy Bolton, it isn't hard to see why he's achieved heartthrob status. He's charming and talented and can dance and sing! Vanessa Hudgens plays Gabriella. Both of them sing well together and it's a pleasure to watch their relationship through all three films. For those with kids, have no fear. It is an extremely chaste relationship that is mostly expressed through singing and dancing together on rooftops and in treehouses *g*
Rounding out the lead cast are Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay, the reigning queen of the high school musical until Troy and Gabriella come along; and her brother Ryan, played by Lucas Grabeel. There are also some great supporting players that we get to know over the series and everyone is quite likable, even Sharpay who is set up as the nominal antagonist.
Halloweentown is another Disney Channel movie franchise. It started with the first Halloweentown movie in 1998. Currently there are four movies, but the fourth film, Return to Halloweentown, replaces the actress Kimberly Brown with the much younger Sara Paxton. Kimberly Brown played lead character, Marnie, in the first three films, but I guess she either wasn't available for the fourth one or Disney just decided that they wanted to target a younger demographic.
In the first movie, Debbie Reynolds stars as grandmother Aggie who comes into town only on Halloween to visit with her grandchildren. But this year's visit is a special one because Marnie (Kimberly Brown) has just turned 13 years old and her grandmother brings a big revelation. Her entire family has special supernatural powers and now it is time for Marnie to learn how to be a witch. After this revelation, they wind up going through a portal into an alternative world called Halloweentown and the expected hijinks ensue.
If you love Halloween, witches, goblins and ghouls, comedy and action, then you are certain to find Halloweentown a classic Halloween treat.
For the DVD release, the first movie comes bundled with its sequel,Halloweentown II - Kalabar's Revenge, where Marnie has to fight off an evil curse. The cast from the first movie returns, including the excellent Debbie Reynolds (who is a large part of the reason for these films being so great).
In the third film of the franchise, Halloweentown High, Marnie decides to get an exchange program going between Halloweentown and our world. So this time, instead of going to Halloweentown, she brings some of their residents here. Lucas Graabal joins the cast and in this movie, attention is mostly focused on the young cast members, so there's a lot less of grandmother Aggie and Marnie's mother. For most fans of the franchise, this is still a great flick, even though it feels quite a bit different from the first two.
Return to Halloweentown is the fourth movie in the franchise and one I have not seen yet myself, But from all reports, fans of the original series and cast may be a bit disappointed in this film. Marnie is now played by Sara Paxton and Debbie Reynolds is in the movie for maybe a total of five minutes.
Do you like time travel? Do you like science fiction? How about comedy? This family friendly movie, Minutemen, combines all three! High School friends Virgil (Jason Dolley) and Charlie (Luke Benward) discover the secrets of time travel and decide to recruit a few friends and go back and right some of the wrongs they experienced in high school. But then the FBI catches on to what's happening and then the kids accidentally create a black hole! Oh no!
This is a fun adventure romp that might be too silly for grown-ups, but if you like time travel, you probably won't care about that.... because hello, time travel!
Disney Channel Minutement Trailer
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