Okay, so Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana are the same person. The general public, and even an investigative reporter, can’t figure out that Miley is underneath the blonde wig despite how obvious the whole thing is. In terms of a kids movie, that can be accepted.
However, unacceptable is the hypocritical message the movie is trying to convey. Hannah Montana is spoiled rotten, getting into an embarrassing (literally) fight with Tyra Banks over a pair of shoes. Miley’s PR agent Vita (Vanessa Williams) discusses the importance of public relations and promotion, while her father tries to instill old-fashioned values during a trip to Tennessee.
Of course, Miley learns her lesson, and chooses to continue the weird charade as Hannah Montana. The problem is that the movie itself is one giant PR stunt. It shows Miley growing up and slowly breaking free of the character that made her famous, gives her plenty of opportunities to sing, and showcases her new single, which is not only in the movie, it is in the bonus features… twice.
All of the talk about how Miley needs to break free a bit and how all of this PR is bad for her is meaningless. Putting her out there in a movie like this is just a thinly veiled advertisement, and goes against everything the movie is trying to say. Miley Cyrus is talented. She performs well, and can energize a crowd. Something like this movie is too blatant and forceful, an obvious money grab to sap parents wallets dry while they try to satisfy their kids urge to own everything with her face on it.
Even if you look past that, the script by Daniel Berendsen is as clichéd, formulaic, and contrived as possible. As Miley begins a relationship with a young farm hand, her father begins one with a different farm hand. When Miley’s relationship breaks down, so does Billy Ray’s. Amazing how life plans these things sometimes, isn’t it?
A chintzy plot concerns a small Tennessee town about to be taken over by a greedy landowner, the type that only exist in movies like these. Rarely is the story the concern, as Disney can only see dollar signs when their star in on stage singing, which this movie has plenty of.
Look, there is no question every 12-year in the country is going to watch this until the motor on the DVD/Blu-ray player wears out. They’ll love it, mostly because Disney told them they would. That’s great that it makes kids happy, but when you see Billy Ray Cyrus looking at his daughter on stage with a look in his eye that says, “She is making me so rich,” maybe it is time to question why the target audience is so obsessed with Miley.
Disney delivers a very colorful AVC encode, one that is relatively sharp and clean. Bold primaries shine in every scene, and the deep black levels nicely add depth to the image. Contrast is bright and never a nuisance.
Some occasional softness is forgivable, and the film’s grain structure is nicely represented. Sadly, detail is only fair, leaving faces flat. Clothing textures are marginal at best. The transfer handles the large crowds and typically complex shots of trees cleanly without significant artifacting.
As they did previously with the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds Concert, this one is given a DTS-HD Master 7.1 mix. As was stated in that review, do many pre-teen girls have audio systems capable to handle that? Most studios won’t go that far even with action-heavy movies, and it is doubtful many audio enthusiasts reach to their shelves to showcase their systems to Hannah Montana.
Aside from that somewhat random commentary, the extra two rear channels bring the throes of screaming kids right into the home theater. Crowd scenes, whether a hoe down in a barn or the concerts, are lively. The music nicely bleeds into all channels, and the subwoofer handles any bass cues with clarity and power. The songs are crisp and clean, and dialogue nicely fits in as well. It is a fine mix for what it is.
Director Peter Chelsom delivers a commentary track for those that need to know all the details of this thing. Four deleted scenes run just over 10 minutes, and include and intro from Chelsom. Seven music videos, including two for “The Climb,” follow.
The Backstage Disney section contains bloopers, dance instructions, and tours of the set. BD-Live support includes Radio Disney which can be listened to right from your player. Also in the case is a DVD and digital copy.