The Jonas Brothers most recent album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Chart in the US. They are still hotter than hot as a musical act, but the performance of their recent concert film, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, was less than stellar. Now that the film is out on Blu-ray, we can determine if there is more to this teen brother band than meets the eye. Who am I kidding, there’s really not.
One of the main problems with concert films that if you aren’t a fan of the band performing the concert, it’s tough to see it as a good film. I don’t care how artfully put together it is, if you don’t like the music, you aren’t going to get a lot out of an hour and a half of listening to the songs performed live. That’s my main issue with the Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience Blu-ray. It’s not a bad concert movie; I just don’t have much interest in it.
The concert in question was filmed in 2008 during the band’s “Burin Up” tour. I have to say, the three bothers, Nick, Joe, and Kevin, do their best to give the fans in the arena their money’s worth. Lots of pyrotechnics, pre-rehearsed choreography, complicated lights, even a wardrobe change supplement the 17 sometimes interchangeable pop-rock numbers churned about by the boys, their four piece back-up band, and an eight woman string section dressed, inexplicably, like waiters.
A lot of money was obviously spent on the stage set-up and the boys clearly have talent. Especially Nick (I think, the youngest one anyway) who in addition to being the most interesting singer also plays guitar, piano, and drums and does some pretty awesome flips. He puts his brothers to shame and will likely be the one Jonas who ends up with a post teen idol career. The music is better than that what you hear from Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato (who guests on one song,) or any of the other Disney Channel products, but it’s just not that great. In a few years, these guys may be capable of a concert that will be about good music, instead of spraying foam on a bunch of screaming girls, as happens during one song.
And yes, girls. All of the fans of this band are girls. Not women, not men, not boys, girls and nothing but screaming crying girls. Since the boys are between 17 and 20 (or so), they do attract some older girl fans and the crowd had its share of high schoolers, but this is strictly for gals aged 8 to 18. They seem to love every Jonas smile, finger point (their key stage move), and unthreatening hip swivel.
The concert scenes are interspersed with a few behind the scenes moments from the Jonas life. The fans who line up in the rain to see their shows (all girls) are featured briefly as is a launch party for their last album and an overview of the busy life of a teen rock star. The funniest, least processed part of the entire movie (and this movie is all about processed product) were three Jonas Brothers imposters who interacted with fans on the street. I don’t know who those guys were, but I’d give them their own movie. There is also one song, “Love is on its Way”, that is presented as a music video in Central Park rather than as part of the concert.
The bottom line with the Jonas Brothers concert film is that if you are already a fan, you’ll probably enjoy seeing the high energy live renditions of their hits. If you aren’t a fan, then this is just one long boring but sparkly event.
The Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience Blu-ray follows the usual Disney pattern. The package includes a Blu-ray disc, a DVD copy, and a digital copy for your computer or portable media player. The Blu-ray disc contains a 3D and 2D version of the movie, while you only get the 2D with the DVD copy. All the other (meager) extras are on both formats.
So how does the 3D look? Pretty good. You have to wear those annoying cardboard glasses and the brothers often lunge or throw things at the camera just to give you your money’s worth from the 3D, but it does look pretty good. I do prefer the crisp Blu-ray 2D version, though, which is really sharp and gives you more of the “you are there” feeling than the 3D does.
If you have a better sound system than I do, you’ll probably get more out of the “theater-quality sound” than I did, but it was good. The only problem I had was that the boys mumble offstage a little bit and you can never figure out lyrics of songs you don’t know from a concert performance, so I never knew what anyone was saying (or singing.)
The movie is billed as the “Extended” version. I’m not quite clear how. The “Extended” version is only 89 minutes so the theater version must have been really short. They probably added a song or two.
The fact that they extended the movie makes the first bonus feature a head scratcher. It’s two extra songs from the concert. Both “Love Bug” and “Shelf” were performed in the concert and are presented here as separate items. But why not just add them to the “Extended” version? It would have made the move 96 minutes, which is hardly The Godfather, Part II in terms of length. Either way, you get the songs here. I think they purposefully held them out so they’d have “bonus” features.
The only other extra is a featurette called “Up Close and Personal.” It’s anything but that, in reality. The brothers narrate a 15 minute view of rehearsals for the tour and brief back stage shots from the first seven or eight shows. The boys sound like they are reading something that was written for them and it sounds stilted. The back stage stuff is interesting if you want to get into how much rehearsal for one of these high tech shows is required.
This movie bombed at the box office, surprising a lot of people, including me. That may be why Disney didn’t put much effort into the release with only modest extras. Still, the band does have a hit album just out and if you’re little darling girl has already got it spinning in your car’s CD player, she’ll probably want this too.