Watching Hannah Montana The Movie, I realized that my generation – those growing up in the 80s – didn’t get a Disney era worth remembering. It was the dark years of the company where the animated features were downers like The Great Mouse Detective and The Black Cauldron. The early 90s saw a rejuvenation of the fun-loving animated musical while the latter part of the decade gave rise to Pixar and their beautifully rendered computer-generated masterpieces. The brand has continued to transform into the new millennium, giving rising to ‘tween musicals. With the likes of the High School Musical franchise, the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana dominating the music charts and getting big ratings on TV, like it or not, a new generation is getting a Disnified identity. But this time the role models aren’t cartoon princesses, they’re real-life girls living princess-esque fantasies served with a side of skewed reality. And that’s exactly where Hannah Montana The Movie fits in.
In a world where reality and fantasy mix, Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. She very presence fuels a screaming mob of prepubescent emotion unlike any other. She’s chased by the paparazzi and shops at the trendiest boutiques. Only thing is Hannah Montana doesn’t really exist. She’s the secret alter ego of “regular” girl Miley Stewart.
With Hannah’s fame taking over Miley’s plain-folks appeal, her dad (Billy Ray Cyrus) sends her on a reality check tour in their sleepy hometown of Crowley Corners, Tennessee. Chaos ensues as everyone there suffers from Clark Kent Syndrome not noticing that Hannah is their hometown gal in a blonde wig and heels.
Much of the film revolves around the complications of Miley’s double life. Whether it’s friendships, potential boyfriends or family, fame seems to be constantly getting in the way. Not to mention leading to lots of mix-ups and physical comedy.
The film is sweet and innocent, just as one might expect. While not horrible, I can’t heap praise on it either. Hannah Montana The Movie is filled with corny dialogue, sitcom sound effects and horrible gags. But it also has a heart. Sure, it’s coated in pink hearts, ponies and all that stuff, but there is an innocence to it that makes it relatively harmless.
To let you know where I’m coming from, I’ve seen all of half an episode of the Hannah Montana TV show, I can’t sing along to her songs and there’s no CDs or iTunes downloads of her in my house. I come to Hannah Montana The Movie with a largely clean slate minus what I’ve picked up from other kids I encounter and the headlines I see in the news. Those familiar with the television show are going to understand more about the dynamics between the various characters but even Hannah Montana rookies should be able to make sense of the story.
It’s a fluffy story that has some cute moments but overall Hannah Montana The Movie feels like a last-gasp attempt to carry the franchise a little bit further. The end of the show is near but it’s still not quite there. I’m not sure if the show is going to continue where the film left off like the infamous animated Transformers: The Movie from my youth where the cartoon was flipped on its side. And with that, the end of another Disney era will likely close. High School Musical has run its course, at least in its original form. The Jonas Brothers, while still popular, have not become a lasting phenomenon amongst the ‘tween crowd. And when Miley hangs up the wig the trifecta will be complete. Disney will find a way to hang on to the musical fare and keep it in the public’s eye, but what comes next in this pop culture fad will not be remembered in the same light as Hannah Montana was.
Hannah Montana the Movie Blu-ray Review
The Deluxe Edition: More Music and Movies Blu-ray release of Hannah Montana The Movie certainly lives up to its promotional title. The movie’s southern charms are brought out bright and beautifully with the disc’s 1080p high definition widescreen (1.85:1 aspect ratio) picture. The songs rock out with the primary English 7.1 DTS-HD Master audio track. There’s also Spanish and French dubbed 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish and French.
The bonus features go heavy into the music of the film. There’s seven music videos, which pretty much all consist of slightly edited scenes from which they’re shown in the movie except for one version of “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus, which is a more traditional music video. Another musical feature is a how-to tutorial for the Hoedown Throwdown line dance. Additional features include four deleted scenes totalling almost 11 minutes and introduced by director Peter Chelsom, a four-minute blooper reel and “I Should Have Gone to Film School,” a more light-hearted look at production hosted by star Jason Earles. Fitting to the film’s story, “Find Your Way Back Home” has the film’s stars give short tours of the places they grew up and their favourite haunts. Chelsom also provides a feature commentary in which he explains the production and his goals in great detail. He comes across as very kind and grateful to his cast and crew.
The Blu-ray is BD-Live enabled and the combo pack also includes a DVD with all the bonus features and a Digital Copy of the film.
Hannah Montana the Movie Gallery