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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Bruce Hendricks
Cast:
Miley Cyrus / Hannah Montana, The Jonas Brothers
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
The sold-out concert event that rocked the nation is bursting onto Disney DVD for a limited time only in a two-disc extended edition with a 3-D concert experience so real it's like having a backstage pass! "Make Some Noise" and get ready for the year's most eye-popping dance-in-your-seat music experience with Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: The Best Of Both Worlds Concert Movie! For the first time ever Miley performs as herself and Hannah in the same epic show! With a special appearance by the Jonas Brothers and exclusive bonus features including a sing-along mode additional songs and a rare inside look into the rock star lives of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers this movie sensation is "as close as you'll come to achieving the best of both worlds" (Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News).

Box Office:
Budget
$7 million.
Opening Weekend
$31.117 million on 683 screens.
Domestic Gross
$65.280 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16X9 (3D Version Only)
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 82 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 8/19/2008

Bonus:
• Both 3D and 2D Versions of the Film
• Two Bonus Performances
• “Sing Along with the Movie”
• “The Ultimate Personal Tour” Featurette
• Sneak Peeks


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: The Best Of Both Worlds Concert (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 12, 2008)

As a 41-year-old male with no kids, I feel compelled to ask myself a question: what the heck am I doing watching Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert? (Profanity altered to protect any kiddies who may stumble across this review.) Obviously I’m both the wrong age and gender to fit in the Montana/Cyrus demographic, but the whole thing turned into such an enormous cultural phenomenon that I wanted to give the DVD a look.

After all, the “Best of Both Worlds” tour received breathless media coverage due to its enormous success. The shows sold out lickety-split and inspired parents to drop big bucks on scalped tickets for their precious offspring. Much societal angst came with this, as many wondered if parents over-indulged their kids. In addition, the concert industry received unwanted negative attention over the nature of ticket sales and how so few apparently wound up in the mitts of fans while the scalpers boasted scads of seats.

In addition, I simply love live performances, and I acknowledge an affection for big, showy concerts. Sure, I want to hear great music, but I have little interest in a show that lacks some good visual component. I didn’t expect to think much of the Montana/Cyrus brand of light pop/rock, but maybe the performance would be engaging enough to maintain my interest.

Here’s the story behind the show, as I understand it: on the Montana series, Cyrus plays Miley Stewart, a seemingly ordinary teen girl who lives a secret life as rock star Hannah Montana. Apparently it follows Miley’s adventures on both sides of her existence.

None of which appears to have any impact on the concert. Yes, the first half or so features “Hannah” while the second offers Miley Cyrus - not fictional Miley Stewart – but I can’t discern any real relevance to the change. Perhaps the series’ young fans can let me know that I missed something, but to me, the concert just played as one performer in two costumes; I saw no other difference between Hannah and Miley.

When I review concert DVDs from acts I don’t like, I avoid judgment of the music. It doesn’t seem fair for me to actively criticize material I already knew wouldn’t do much for me. Since I still want to review these discs, I prefer to concentrate on how well the DVD reproduces the live event.

And I plan to adhere to that rule here, though I will throw out a few thoughts about the music. In short, it ain’t bad. Granted, one must go into a Montana/Cyrus concert with certain expectations. I figured the music would be the sort of generic, inoffensive, derivative light pop/rock favored by most of the Disney Channel musical performers, and I was right.

However, the Montana/Cyrus tunes favored the rock side of pop/rock more than most. Usually these acts provide dance music with a guitar riff or two, but the Montana/Cyrus songwriters went with a crunchier edge much of the time. No, the music won’t make anyone forget the Ramones, but I must admit it was more aggressive than I expected.

I give the pretty tight band behind Montana/Cyrus much of the credit. I expect that the studio versions of these same tunes probably sound much more pre-fab and sterile, whereas the live renditions actually show some kick. These folks manage to add real punch to material that easily could – and probably should - have been borderline Muzak.

The lyrics are harder to digest, I admit. With titles like “Rock Star”, “Life’s What You Make It”, “Pumpin’ Up the Party”, “We Got the Party” and “Girls Night Out”, I can’t say I expected much from the words, and I got very little. The lyrics provide simple aphorisms and “Woo-hoo! Let’s party!” nothingness. I can’t say this side of things disappointed me, though, since I sure didn’t anticipate “Positively 4th Street” here.

I was very pleased to see that the concert really was live. I expected a lot of canned music and probably a great deal of lip-synching, but it sure sounded to me like Cyrus did all her vocals live. That’s a “for better or for worse” situation though, as Cyrus doesn’t boast much of a voice. She’s a competent singer, but she usually sounds flat. Still, I’d much prefer erratic live vocals to flawless canned and auto-tuned singing, so I appreciate the apparent lack of “fixing” given to the music.

As for the visual performance, I’ll say this about Cyrus: she can perform and hold her own on stage. She manages to remain enthusiastic but usually doesn’t seem plastic. To be sure, this is clearly a very choreographed set without an ounce of spontaneity. For all the declarations of how she’s a “Rock Star”, there’s no hint of actual rock star swagger or anything other than the appearance of a girl playing dress-up.

But that’s to be expected, and I can’t knock the pre-planned nature of the performance too harshly because lots of established acts do the same thing. Just last week I saw the Police four times – and heard Sting toss out the same between-songs patter every time. And that’s from a concert that just featured three guys on stage, not one with all the choreography and effects found here.

So I’ll cut Hannah/Miley a break. Is she particularly talented as a vocalist or dancer? No, but neither was Madonna in her early days. I’m certainly not saying Miley will become a pop icon ala Maddy, but it’d be far too easy for me to dismiss her as a Flavor of the Month without a future. I have no clue if she’ll still have a career five years from now, but she does manage to display a charisma that gives her a fighting shot for continued success.

In terms of the movie presentation, Worlds usually maintains a logical focus on the concert stage. Director Bruce Hendricks keeps things simple and effective. Appropriately, Hannah/Miley fills the screen most of the time; we get cuts to the musicians, dancers and crowd, but I’d guess Hannah/Miley stays at the center at least 75 percent of the time. And that works, since she’s the star. The other shots allow us to gain a better take on the performance as a whole, but the fans probably just want to see their heroine, so the shot choices make sense.

The cutting patterns manage to remain unobtrusive. Hendricks cuts fairly quickly much of the time, but not to a dizzying degree. This isn’t a hyperactive “cut every millisecond” presentation; it keeps things moving but doesn’t annoy us with obnoxious rapidity. I could live without some theatrical moments like Hannah/Miley staring into the camera; those harm the illusion that this is a real concert. However, they’re infrequent enough to do little harm.

In addition to the concert bits, we get a few glimpses behind the scenes. After the opening song, we go to rehearsals, and we find some other tidbits like Miley’s fear of being dropped during one dance bit and her mother’s comments about the Hannah to Miley costume change. One segment chats with young fans before the show, and we also observe the mania for tickets. I’d prefer a straight concert film, but these clips don’t harm the end product.

Wow – I can’t believe I just devoted so many words to a movie with a target audience incredibly unlikely to ever read my review! I also can’t quite believe that I’m going to offer a moderate endorsement to Best of Both Worlds Concert. Do I ever expect to watch this DVD again? No. Did it exceed expectations and provide a perfectly competent – and even reasonably enjoyable – piece of pop performance? Yes. This isn’t great music, nut I’ve heard much, much worse.

Note that the DVD offers an “Extended Edition” of the original theatrical film. It runs about eight minutes longer. I have no idea how the two differ, however; I never saw the theatrical cut, so I couldn’t tell you what this one adds.


The DVD Grades: Picture NR/ Audio B+/ Bonus D+

Two versions of Best of Both Worlds Concert appear here. On DVD Two, the original 3D presentation can be viewed in both 1.33:1 and 1.85:1 ratios; the latter offers 16X9 enhancement on the single-sided, dual-layered disc. In addition, a 2D option appears on DVD One, but it only comes in a 1.33:1 ratio. Since the 3D version can induce headaches and doesn’t necessary provide the highest quality visuals, it’s a disappointment that only the 1.33:1 edition offers the 2D option.

The degraded presentation that comes with those blasted 3D glasses makes it more difficult than usual to rate the picture quality of Worlds - so I didn’t. It just didn’t make sense for me to try to objectively rate a visual presentation that came with so many inherent flaws. The red/blue 3D glasses meant those hues dominated; anything not red or blue in the film showed up as a neutral tone. The technology used for this kind of 3D work simply made natural colors impossible.

The glasses also tended to negatively affect sharpness. Actually, much of the 3D presentation showed fairly good delineation, but the nature of the material meant the shots occasionally provided double images and were somewhat blurry. It’s simply a flawed technology, so I didn’t want to saddle it with a grade.

Given the potential for the red/blue 3D format, I thought it looked fine. The 3D effects themselves remained subdued. Don’t expect Dr. Tongue-style shenanigans, as the 3D imagery favored a general sense of depth instead of wild “in your face” antics. A couple of silly 3D effects occurred, such as when a guitarist flung a pick at the camera, but usually the film stayed with a fairly natural take on things. Although I didn’t grade the quality of the visuals, expect them to seem acceptable for this sort of project.

Matters simplify when we look at the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Worlds. The film went with a fairly standard “concert mix” that favored music in the front speakers. Actually, it offered quite good stereo imaging up front. I could easily differentiate the various instruments, as they all receives appropriate placement while they still blended together well. The surrounds mostly added a little musical reinforcement and cheering - lots of cheering from the screechy pre-pubescent audience.

That factor created my main – though minor – complaint about the soundtrack. It could come across as something of an auditory assault, primarily because the mix placed the screaming in such a loud position. One could argue that this decision made us better able to feel like we’re at the concert; I’m sure anyone in the audience at a Montana/Cyrus show experienced momentary deafness due to the ear-piercing screaming from all those little girls. The soundtrack didn’t feature the wailing to that heavy a degree, but I thought it was still too loud for this kind of presentation, and it made the mix less enjoyable.

Which was too bad, since it otherwise sounded good. Vocals were concise and natural, and the instrumentation seemed lively and dynamic. The track boasted very nice low-end, and highs usually came across with solid clarity and verve as well. A few slightly dull spots appeared, and I could accuse the track of being too loud and aggressive, but for the most part, I felt it provided positive audio.

Given the popularity of the Montana/Cyrus franchise, the DVD’s lack of substantial supplements come as a surprise and a disappointment. All the extras show up on DVD One. We find two bonus performances: “SOS” (3:07) and “Good and Broken” (3:11). “SOS” comes from support act Jonas Brothers – who also have a couple of tunes in the main film – while “Broken” pops up in the Miley part of the show. Neither stands out as particularly memorable, though the Cyrus tune is the better of the two. On paper, the Jonas boys should probably rock more than Miley does, but the opposite seems true, and she’s a better performer to boot.

Kids can go the Karaoke route via Sing Along with the Movie. This slaps lyrics up on the screen for eight of the film’s 16 songs. For reasons unknown, it omits everything between “We Got the Party” and “The Best of Both Worlds”. That’s a strange decision, and one that makes the feature less useful for viewers.

A featurette called The Ultimate Personal Tour runs 11 minutes, 24 seconds. We find remarks from Miley Cyrus, her sister Brandi, and the Jonas Brothers. Miley dominates the piece as she leads us around backstage and other spots connected to the production. We also see some soundchecks and the atmosphere that leads to and through the show. As I expected, it’s fluffy, but it provides a decent view of Miley’s life on tour.

A few ads open DVD One. We get clips for Disney Blu-ray discs, Sleeping Beauty, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Camp Rock, Disney DVD Games and Disney Movie Rewards. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with promos for Wizards of Waverly Place, Phineas and Ferb, The Secrets of the Magic Gourd and 101 Dalmatians II.

Some DVDs are review-proof, and Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert probably falls into that category. For any parents reading to figure out if it’s a good watch for their kids, though, I’d say it is. The concert provides a professional and catchy affair; it doesn’t set the stage on fire, but it entertains. The DVD replicates the original 3D film acceptably well, and audio seems pretty good. Supplements disappoint, however, since we don’t find many of them. Still, Montana/Cyrus fans will have a lot of fun with this DVD – and it shouldn’t be too painful for their parents, most of whom will end up humming some of the songs after the show ends.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8 Stars Number of Votes: 30
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4 3:
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View Averages for all rated titles.

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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main