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.