If you’re a tween girl who is already a fan of the Hannah Montana television show and Miley Cyrus, then just skip this review of the Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert DVD. You know the movie is an amazing five star miracle with awesomely cool 3-D effects and Miley is super talented and seems really nice and those Jonas Brothers are so hotttttttttttttt. Just move along and let the rest of us old farts complain about how, when you get down to it, there isn’t much there. The concert tour of Miley Cyrus and her alter ego Hannah Montana was a huge sold-out success which Miley’s corporate parent, Disney, wisely filmed and released as a 3-D movie event. This allows any 6 to 13 year old girl whose parents didn’t love them enough to buy tickets to feel as though they were sitting right at the show watching Miley, Hannah, and special guests the Jonas Brothers run through their inoffensive pop. Not only do they sing, dance, and yell out things like “is everyone having a great time?” but they also get to walk right off the screen into your face, through magic of 3-D.
The film switches back and forth between 16 concert songs (most of which I could not tell apart for the life of me) and some pre-concert and backstage segments. It runs a brief 82 minutes and considering about 20 of those minutes are Miley getting ready, talking to her family, running around backstage, or being tutored on her stage performance by tour director Kenny Ortega, the concert section really shoots past in tight three minute packages and is over before you know it. I do give them credit for actually having Miley sing the songs in front of live musicians, rather than lip syncing to a backing track. It makes for a more real experience, although everything is so slick and packaged you still feel a bit manipulated when it’s all over.
Let’s face it, Cyrus could not be more likeable and she seems like a genuinely sweet person both onstage and off. Although the Hannah/Miley switch that is done half-way between the show is a waste of time (Hannah acts exactly like Miley with a blonde wig,) the fans don’t care that the music isn’t that great or that the Ortega choreography of the back-up dancers looks like stuff leftover from his two High School Musical movies. The show comes off more like theater than a concert. All of Cyrus’ moves, words, gestures, and waves seem pre-planned right along with the video backgrounds, confetti, pyrotechnics, and costume changes that punctuate each song.
The place where this movie really suffers from a theater to DVD transfer is in the 3-D experience. Four pairs of cardboard 3-D glasses are included with the DVD, and while there are a few “hey, that’s cool” moments of stuff floating out of the screen or Miley seeming to walk into your living room, it makes the colors look….well, weird. It just doesn’t look that great. I’d heard positive things about the 3-D look from the theater, but it just does not translate to your home wearing these cardboard red/blue glasses. It’s too bad, since good 3-D is the only thing a non-Miley disciple would get out of putting this movie into the DVD player (a 2-D version is also provided on the 2-Disc DVD.)
There is no way anyone who is nuts about Miley will care about my rating for this DVD. Just go ahead and get it as if you never read this. It’s certainly inoffensive and unlike a few teen and pre-teen idols of today and yesteryear, there is some talent hiding under that blonde wig and corporate hype. Picking up the DVD is cheaper than buying tickets the next time Cyrus tours the country. Hopefully that will be a more interesting concert than this one. When you look at a DVD release that has two discs and is billed as the “Extended Edition,” you might think that there is a butt-load of stuff to watch. Unfortunately, if you were talking about the 2-Disc Extended Edition of Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert then you would, sadly, be wrong. Disney has put about as little as they possibly can on two discs.
The set comes with one disc that has the 3-D version of the movie and one disc with the 2-D version and a few extras. Both versions of the movie are available in full screen or widescreen, which is always nice, even though I’d never watch full screen and neither should you. It’s Satan’s choice for watching a DVD. You can also set the audio for Dolby Digital 5.1, which gives a nice clear sound for the music.
Both versions of the movie, 2-D and 3-D, are longer than the theatrical release by about eight minutes. It’s not clear what has been added, but there is likely one or two more songs. For those viewers who haven’t already memorized the lyrics, there is a sing-along function for certain songs, although not all the songs are included. Seems odd, it’s not like they couldn’t easily add them for all the performances. There are also a couple of bonus songs, one each from Miley (“Good and Broken”) and the Jonas Brothers ("S.O.S.") It’s also a little odd that these weren’t just inserted into the movie; what’s the reason for showing them separately?
Other than the bonus songs and the sing-along function, there is one other extra. An 11-minute featurette called “The Ultimate Personal Tour.” It’s one of those classic “let’s follow someone for a day and see what happens” situations. Miley is shown arriving at the venue at about 3pm and leading the camera on a tour of the backstage area. The Jonas Brothers also participate and take over the tour for the time period Miley is on stage. It’s sort of what you see in the movie in-between the songs. It’s not fascinating, but a fan will enjoy seeing all the work that goes into putting on this type of show.
It’s hard to understand why Disney would put two discs in this DVD set and not make an effort to put any extras on one of the discs (they are all on the 2-D disc, nothing is on the 3-D disc except the movie.) If they really wanted to give fans a treat, how about Miley and her family doing a commentary. Or maybe Miley and Nick Jonas talking about their failed love triangle with that girl from the wizard show. Now that’s an extra.
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