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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Peter Chelsom
Cast:
Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Emily Osment, Jason Earles, Mitchel Musso, Moises Arias, Lucas Till, Vanessa Williams, Taylor Swift
Writing Credits:
Daniel Berendsen, Michael Poryes (characters), Richard Correll (characters), Barry O'Brien (characters)

Tagline:
She has the best of both worlds ... Now, she has to pick just one.

Synopsis:
Get ready to be dazzled by Disney's big-screen smash hit Hannah Montana: The Movie, filled with laughs, adventure, family fun and fabulous music! Come along for the ride and see Hannah like never before as she returns to her roots and faces the most important decision of her life! When Miley Stewart (aka pop-star Hannah Montana) gets too caught up in the superstar celebrity lifestyle, her dad decides it's time for a total change of scenery. But sweet niblets! Miley must trade in all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood for some ol' blue jeans on the family farm in Tennessee, and question if she can be both Miley Stewart and Hannah Montana. With a little help from her friends and awesome guest stars Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and Vanessa Williams, will she figure out whether to choose Hannah or Miley? Hannah Montana: The Movie is a heartfelt major motion picture perfect for the entire family.

Box Office:
Budget
$30 million.
Opening Weekend
$32.324 million on 3118 screens.
Domestic Gross
$79.344 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $44.99
Release Date: 8/18/2009

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Peter Chelsom
• Four Deleted Scenes
• Seven Music Videos
• “The Hoedown Throwdown Home Experience” Featurette
• “Find Your Way Back Home” Featurette
• “I Should Have Gone to Film School” Featurette
• “Fun With Hannah and the Gang” Bloopers
• Previews
• Bonus DVD
• Digital Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Hannah Montana: The Movie [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 12, 2009)

Eventually the Hannah Montana train will lose steam, but the juggernaut still runs strong in 2009. The TV series leaps to the big screen via Hannah Montana: The Movie. We meet Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus), a girl who appears to be a normal teenager.

But she’s not average, for brunette Miley moonlights as blonde pop sensation Hannah Montana. Miley’s dual identity starts to wear on her, and she begins to be too big for her britches. To ground her, dad Robby Ray (Billy Ray Cyrus) decides she needs some time away from “normal life” and routes her to her grandmother Ruby’s (Margo Martindale) birthday celebration. This plops Miley in the middle of rural Tennessee, where she gets in touch with her roots – whether she likes it or not. In addition, an aggressive tabloid journalist (Peter Gunn) threatens to uncover Miley’s secret identity and ruin her hopes of maintaining a personal life.

Going into the flick, I must admit I knew only a little about the Hannah premise. I don’t say that out of some sort of condescending smugness – it’s just true. I watched the 2008 Hannah/Miley concert film but that was the beginning and end of my experience with the franchise.

After my screening of the movie, I can’t say I’m tempted to check or more of the series. Granted, I’m far from the target audience, as I’m about three decades too old and the wrong gender to be a Hannah-holic. However, I’m not closed off to this sort of light entertainment, so I thought I might take some pleasure from Montana.

Nope. The movie falters right from the start due to some strange lapses in logic. The filmmakers clearly value a cheap joke over any vague attempt at making sense, so the story often has no connection to the real world. Miley/Hannah headlines a sold-out show at an arena but she drives herself to the show – and she can’t get in because she’s not on the guest list? Why doesn’t she just call her dad?

The whole “let’s keep Hannah’s identity secret” plot is beyond absurd. No one’s supposed to know Hannah/Miley are the same person, yet Hannah is often seen with Miley’s best friend and dad. Also, Hannah’s publicist hangs out with Miley at her high school. It’s not remarkable that anyone figures out Miley/Hannah are the same person; it’s remarkable anyone doesn’t decode that puzzle.

Even if we get beyond the lame premise, the movie itself lacks anything remotely inventive or clever. It takes a basic “fish out of water” premise and does nothing with it. Everything here provides a cartoony viewpoint. The Tennessee folks are straight out of Hee-Haw, and most of the gags rely on slapstick that got old decades ago. If you want to see Hannah/Miley get hit on the head with a variety of objects, you're in for a treat. Otherwise, you’ll be bored and unamused.

Don’t expect much from the acting, either. Although I never saw the series, I expect the movie features essentially the same cast. We get a few celebrity cameos – mostly from country singers - but otherwise you won’t find many big names here.

That comes as a surprise, as I’d think a TV show adapted for the multiplexes would try to add some Hollywood luster. I won’t say that the flick feels like an episode of the series thrown onto the big screen, but it certainly never comes across like anything more than a TV movie. There’s very little here to justify Montana’s existence as a theatrical release.

Other than money, of course, and the almighty buck pervades Montana. The movie occasionally feels more like a promotional opportunity than anything else, and a questionable choice made for the Blu-ray reinforces that notion. In what the press release calls an “industry first”, BD Live users can save items they see in the flick and buy them from a special website.

Yeesh. I guess I can’t criticize the movie itself for that decision, but I think it highlights what’s important here. Montana exists as product more than as entertainment; any pleasure the viewer takes from it is incidental. This is a pedestrian, predictable and utterly forgettable promotional experience.


The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Hannah Montana: The Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was an inconsistent transfer, but it usually looked fine.

Sharpness caused some mild concerns. While the movie usually appeared acceptably concise, more than a few shots looked slightly soft and ill-defined. This wasn’t a massive concern, but it meant that overall clarity was a bit lackluster. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I noticed no edge enhancement or source flaws.

Given its girlie tone, I expected a broad palette from Montana, and that’s what I got. The colors worked well, as they came across as nicely bright and dynamic. Blacks were nicely deep and firm, and shadows displayed good clarity. In general, this was a decent transfer, but the mild softness left this as a “B” presentation.

I found exactly the kind of audio I expected from this sort of film. Montana offered a DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack. As usual for a light comedy, the soundfield maintained an emphasis within the forward spectrum. There I heard good stereo separation to the music and nice delineation for the other elements. Most of the effects tended toward the ambient side of the equation and little added much pizzazz. The concert scenes produced decent involvement, and a few sequences like Lilly’s party boasted fair action, but the focus remained pretty tame most of the time.

Audio quality appeared to be positive. Speech sounded crisp and natural, and no problems related to intelligibility occurred. Music and effects demonstrated fine clarity and they appeared reasonably lively. Music worked best, as that side of things showed nice bass and punch. Overall, the audio of Montana was acceptable and that was about it.

We get a reasonable roster of extras here. We open with an audio commentary from director Peter Chelsom. He gives us a running, screen-specific look at how he came to the project, cast and performances, story and character notes, some effects and stunts, visual choices, sets and locations, musical sequences, and a few other production topics.

Although he made a crummy movie, Chelsom provides a good commentary. He covers all the appropriate areas and does so in a chatty, engaging manner. The track lags infrequently, as it usually remains enjoyable and informative. This is a nice little track.

Four Deleted Scenes run a total of nine minutes, 53 seconds. After a 41-second intro from Chelsom, we find “Jackson: ‘I’m Pretending to Be At University;” (4:31), “’How Are We Going to Get Hannah Down to Crowley Corners?’” (1:37), “Oswald and the Hannah Wigs” (2:25) and “Oswald, the Ostrich and the Alligator” (1:20). Most of these offer nothing that would’ve helped the story, but the “Jackson” bit would’ve had some value if just to explain some plot points. In the final flick, Jackson’s arc makes little sense, so these bits would brought a little logic to the proceedings.

All the running times also include additional intros from Chelsom. He tells us a little about each scene and lets us know why he cut them. As usual, Chelsom proves informative and engaging.

A whopping seven Music Videos pop up as well. We find “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus (3:52), “Back to Tennessee” by Billy Ray Cyrus (4:23), “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home” by Hannah Montana (3:51), “Let’s Go Crazy” by Hannah Montana (3:00), “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus (movie version – 4:06), “Bless This Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts (4:15), and “Crazier” by Taylor Swift (3:15). The videos follow the standard pattern for songs from movies, as they usually stick with performance snippets interspersed with film clips. The first “Climb” and “Tennessee” are a little more ambitious, but that doesn’t make them more memorable.

With that we head to some featurettes. I Should Have Gone to Film School runs 15 minutes, 17 seconds as it focuses on Jason Earles, the actor who plays Miley’s brother. He leads us around the set as we see different aspects of the production and meet various participants; he chats with Chelsom, producer Alfred Gough, 1st AD James Alan Hensz, 2nd AD Heather Grierson, set production assistants Ian C. Campbell and Travis Allen Archer, costume designer Christopher Lawrence, key makeup artist Anne Maree Hurley, stand-in Scott Adcock, sound mixer Glen Trew, choreographer Jamal Sims, best boy electric Dale Balani, best boy grip Darryl Wilson. Stunt coordinator Steve Hart, property master Steven H. George, and actors Billy Ray Cyrus, Emily Osment, Miley Cyrus, and Lucas Till.

Given the wide variety of participants and the featurette’s brief running time, you can tell “School” won’t provide a super-deep look at the production. Nonetheless, it acts as a very good little primer on who does what for a film. It helps that the piece throws in subtitles to further detail the various jobs. This is a nice show, and not just for kids; adults will likely learn something about movie shoots as well.

During the 15-minute and five-second Find Your Way Back Home, we follow Miley Cyrus as she takes us around her Tennessee hometown. Billy Ray Cyrus also talks about what he likes in Tennessee, and Emily Osment shows us aspects of LA - her hometown – that she enjoys. It’s fluffy, but fans will doubtless enjoy it.

Lastly, The Hoedown Throwdown Home Experience goes for 14 minutes, 39 seconds and includes comments from Sims, Miley Cyrus, Till, Earles, Chelsom, and actors Tyra Banks, Moises Arias and Mitchel Musso. During the first part of the piece, the cast and crew talk about learning the dance and shooting it. The second section shows Sims, Arias and Musso as they teach us the dance. The first part’s more interesting to me, but the second segment should prove useful for anyone who wants to learn the steps.

A collection of bloopers called Fun With Hannah and the Gang goes for three minutes, 51 seconds. It provides the standard set of goofs and guffaws from the set. It seems likely to please the film’s target audience.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Princess and the Frog, Blu-ray Disc and Disney Movie Rewards. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with promos for Up, Earth, Santa Buddies, Jonas Brothers 3D Concert, Disney Parks and Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure. No trailer for Montana shows up here.

For viewers who might want to go Blu-ray in the future but remain SD, this set includes a DVD Version of the film. It presents the feature film along with most of the same extras as the Blu-ray; it drops “Hoedown” and six of the music videos. It also throws in a promo for Blu-ray from some Disney Channel actors.

Finally, a third disc provides a Digital Copy of Montana. This allows you to easily transfer the flick to your computer or portable viewing device. It doesn’t do anything for me, but your mileage may vary, as they say.

Will the words of a middle-aged guy in any way affect the commercial prospects of the Hannah Montana franchise? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean I can ignore the weak quality of Hannah Montana: The Movie. Even for a flick adapted from a tween-oriented TV series, Montana provides a disappointment. The Blu-ray gives us pretty good picture and audio along with a pretty nice collection of supplements. I expect Montana fans will enjoy this tripe, but everyone else should avoid it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.2 Stars Number of Votes: 10
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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