A theme that runs throughout Camp Rock 2 is the idea of losing one’s essence and identity in search of something bigger and less fulfilling. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy as the bubble gum sequel hardly attempts to add any sort of depth or purpose to its characters. Rather, it feels more like an infomercial in disguise for the soundtrack.
Don’t get me wrong, Camp Rock wasn’t exactly a P.T. Anderson exploration of character nuance. It was a cutesy summer film aimed at pre-teen girls with crushes on one of the brothers Jonas. Relatively harmless, it was lightly enjoyable and disposable at the same time. This time around, things are a little more snarky. The focus has gone from teenage love and music to pursuing cell phone votes and big flashy performances that distract from boring music.
Channeling equal parts American Idol and Glee, Camp Rock 2 adds far too much glitz to the summer camp atmosphere. Camp is a place normally reserved for lake-side belly flops off rickety docks, poison ivy and slop house mashed potatoes. This time it’s fireworks and spotlights as the rival Camp Star moves in next to Camp Rock. Sacrificing relationships for professional substance, Camp Star is a place of all work and no rickety docks. It’s a place of high expectations and excess. And it’s upscale angle is threatening to bring an end to the cozy Camp Rock. How better to settle things than by a televised musical showdown. Where’s Simon to smack some sense into these folks?
Although past their peak in popularity, the Jonas Brothers are still more recognizable than they were at the release of the first film. Not surprisingly, it’s a triple Jonas dose as all three brothers take starring roles rather than just Joe Jonas and bit parts for his brothers. And while I do consider them much more talented than most of their other teenaged Disney peers, their mix of music and goofiness (not to mention pretty-boy hairstyles) make me think of The Monkees. Whether or not that’s good or bad depends on your view of The Monkees, I guess.
Demi Lovato got her break starring as Mitchie in the original (unless you count an episode of Barney). She was quirky, a little bit awkward and adorable in a Blossom sort of way. Here she’s a little too Mean Girls minus the sarcastic wit. Her character is the biggest disappointment in the film, getting shuffled aside to play the buzzkill of the Camp Rock group.
Camp Rock isn’t exactly the pop culture phenom the High School Musical franchise was. Still, this second outing feelings like a bookend to a profitable era for Disney. No doubt they will reinvent themselves shortly with a new flavour of the month. Camp Rock 2 isn’t sending anything out on a high note, save for the fact nobody will have to endure it any longer.
Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam Blu-ray Review
In case 90 minutes of Mitchie and the Jonas brothers wasn’t enough, the Camp Rock 2 Blu-ray has a little bit more. The film itself is shown in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. dubbed French 5.1 DTS and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks are also included. The Rock-Along bonus feature creates an in-movie karaoke experience. “Getting to Know Camp Star’s Newest Stars” is a fluffy short bit looking at the cast. The Blu-ray also includes a small collection of music videos. Camp Rock 2 arrives as a three-disc combo pack, which also includes a DVD and Digital Copy of the film.