After the success of the High School Musical movies, Disney has released a new made for TV musical. Teen Beach Movie is set in the 1960s and plays homage to surf movies of that era as well as West Side Story and Grease.
The film begins in the present day with a teenage couple Brady (played by Ross Lynch) and McKenzie or “Mack”(Maia Mitchell) who live by the beach. When McKenzie’s mother dies, her aunt suggests that she move interstate with her to attend a school, that her mother would have liked. Mckenzie decides to go the school and wants to break up with Brady to avoid the difficulties of a long distance relationship.
McKenzie goes for one last surf and Brady goes in after her when he sees the water is too dangerous. The pair gets swept up in a big wave and are magically transported into Wet Side Story, a beach movie from the 1960s. It is a dream come true for Brady as it is his favourite movie. McKenzie is not as impressed and tries to get out of the movie.
|Australian actress Maia Mitchell|
Things become askew when the pair unintentionally prevents the two lead characters from meeting and falling in love. Instead, Tanner (Garret Clayton) falls in love with McKenzie and Lela (Grace Phipps) for Brady. Tanner is a surfer and Lela is biker and their two groups hate each other. Tanner and Lela are the catalyst to a turf war that needs to happen in order for the movie to continue. Brady and McKenzie realize that they must bring Tanner and Lela together otherwise they will be stuck in the movie forever.
I thought the film was very cute as the film is conscious of the silliness of the plot and embraces it. Brady and Mack give off bemused expressions when facing the quirks of Wet Side Story. My favourite example of this, is illustrated in the scene when Mack goes surfing with Tanner. It is obvious that the actors are standing in front of some ocean footage pretending to surf. The scene is a reference to Gidget, the teen surfer character from the 1960s.
|McKenzie and Tanner Surfing|
I also enjoyed the songs in the movie which were well sung and choreographed. My favourite songs are Fallin’ for ya and Like Me. Like Me is reminiscent of Summer Nights from the movie Grease. The song Like Me, features the boys and girls singing about the opposite sex and ways to win them over. The 60s characters sing old fashioned views about courtship such as waiting for the guy to ask the girl out and how boys should always take the lead in the relationship. Brady and McKenzie try to convince them otherwise.
I think Teen Beach Movie is a great movie to watch with kids and preteens as well as the young at heart. It’s a fun movie for a bit of escapism. I also learnt that the movie was successful enough that Disney have decided to make a sequel. The sequel is supposed to be about the 60s characters being transported to the present day. I think it would be entertaining to watch.