Since 2006, "Hannah Montana" has not only been a popular television series for the Disney Channel but a series that has definitely made Miley Cyrus, daughter of country music star Billy Ray Cyrus, a bonafide star.
It was one thing to watch this young teenager who was 13-years old at the time, grow up and become a popular television star and music talent that would sell out many concert venues, has had her music on top of the Billboard charts and now has two Disney films under her belt.
The first film from Disney focused on a 3D version of her concert and television show personality but this time around, "Hannah Montana: The Movie" takes to the big screen and takes a more serious look at Miley Cyrus's character as her pop star identity has now affected her family and he friendship and has come to the point that the lifestyle of a popstar has gotten to her head.
The film is directed by Peter Chelsom ("Shall We Dance", "Serendipity" and "Town & Country"), a screenplay by Daniel Berendsen ("Sabrina, the Teenage Witch", "The Cheetah Girls: One World") , composer John Debney ("The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor", "Spider-Man 3" and "Sin City") and cinematographer David Hennings ("Strange Wilderness", "Blue Crush" and "Ice Princess").
For those not familiar with the television series, former music artist Robby Ray Stewart (Billy Ray Cyrus) has moved his family (which include Miley, played by Miley Cyrus, and her older brother Jackson, played by Jason Earles) from Tennessee to Malibu in order to manage his daughter Miley's music career. But in order to keep sanity at their home and keep their family together, he and Miley has kept secret identities and Miley dons a blonde wig and goes by the name Hannah Montana. Along with her best friend Lilly Truscott (Emily Osment) and friend Oliver Oken (Mitchel Musso), who also take on disguises, help protect Miley's secret.
In "Hannah Montana: The Movie", the film picks up with Hannah Montana's career doing quite well and is now managed by Vita (Vanessa Williams). While Vita is successfully booking Hannah in various, major events, the fame has kept her busy to be with family (to celebrate Jackson's entrance to college) and Lilly's birthday party. To make things worse, a member of the paparazzi is trying to figure out Hannah Montana's secret.
After Hannah ends up getting into fight with Tyra Banks over some shoes and getting plastered on the newspapers and disrupting Lilly's birthday party by coming as Hannah Montana, Robby Ray feels that his daughter Miley can't balance her time as a family member and friend and is focusing too much of her life as Hannah Montana and thus tricks her to going to Tennessee (instead of an award ceremony in New York).
Hannah is not pleased that her father has tricked her and prevented her from attending the award show and is upset that he dragged her to the farmlife in Tennessee. But Robby Ray wants her to remember where she came from and that Tennessee was their home before California.
While in Tennessee, Miley tries to adjust to the slow-paced life and meets an old friend when she was younger named Travis Brody (Lucas Till) who she becomes closer too, while her father Robby Ray gets closer to Lorelai (Melora Hardin), but with both of them having to live secret lives, can Miley or Robby Ray ever be able to have a normal life?
"Hannah Montana: The Movie" comes with three discs. The first is the Blu-ray Disc, the second being the Digital Copy and the third is the DVD.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"Hannah Montana: The Movie" is featured in 1080p High Definition with an aspect ration of 1:85:1. For the most part, the film is absolutely vibrant. There are many outdoor scenes that showcase the film's color. May it be the shot at Lilly's birthday party at Santa Monica Beach to the lush area of Tennessee. The film definitely showcases a broad spectrum of colors, all of which are sharp, clear and absolutely eye-popping. For the most part, David Hennings did a great job with utilizing the environment with this film and overall, picture quality is magnificent.
As for audio, this is probably the first time I have seen Disney sport an English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack (the film is also presented in French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital). The dialogue is crystal clear and as much as this film is dialogue driven, with it also being somewhat of a musical as well, music plays a big part of this film and sounds fantastic. Definitely good utilization of surrounds to pick up crowd ambiance or the animals at the farm but for the most part, this is a film where dialogue is king and music is also a big part of the film. Thus the soundtrack is quite crystal clear, the lossless audio definitely makes the music come alive.
As for subtitles, "Hannah Montana: The Movie is presented in English SDH, French and Spanish.
A DVD is included and sports a widescreen (1:85:1) - enhanced for 16×9 televisions and an audio soundtrack sporting a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound soundtrack.
"Hannah Montana: The Movie" features the following special features with some in 1080p High Definition or 480i Standard Definition:
* Audio Commentary by Director Peter Chelsom - Peter Chelsom is the type of director who utilizes his commentary to thoroughly setup a scene and give credit to who came up with the ideas in pulling them off. From utilizing scenes from Miley Cyrus's first film and inserting scenes into the film to how animals were brought in to the film and managing over a thousand extras, this is a very thorough commentary.
* Deleted Scenes - (10:35) A total of four deleted scenes which features an introduction by director Peter Chelsom discussing why they were removed. But for the most part, Chelsom says the film is the final cut and mostly all footage was utilized in the film. But the four deleted scenes included are: "Jackson: I'm Pretending to Be at University...", "How Are We Going to Get Hannah Down to Crowley Corners?", "Oswald and the Hannah Wigs" and "Oswald, The Ostrich and the Alligator"
* Music Videos - (9:30) There are a total of seven music videos included. Music videos featured are: "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus (3:52), "Back to Tennessee" by Billy Ray Cyrus (4:22), "You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home" by Miley Cyrus (3:49), "Let's Get Crazy" by Miley Cyrus (2:59), "The Climb" (movie version) by Miley Cyrus (4:06), "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts (4:17) and "Crazier" by Taylor Swift (3:15).
* The Hoedown Throwdown Home Experience - A Blu-ray exclusive only. This featurette is learning the popular dance created for the film (featured during the fundraising event and the ending credits) and features the full featurette titled "Everybody Now" (14:39) featuring how all the cast members (and crew) learned the dance by choreographer Jamal Sims. While, for those who just want to watch "how to do the dance", they can watch the "Learn the Moves (9:47) featuring choreographer Jamal Sims with "Hannah Montana" talents Mitchel Musso and Moises Arias.
* Find Your Way Back Home - (15:05) A featurette with three segments. The first features Miley Cyrus and mother Trish showing us around Franklin, Tennessee and the various shops and eateries. The second is Billy Ray Cyrus showing us Tennessee and talking about how it's home for the Cyrus family. While the final segment features Emily Osment showing us Los Angeles and Hollywood and the key spots to visit.
* I Should Have Gone to Film School with Jason Earles - (15:18) Jason Earles takes us behind-the-scenes of the "Hannah Montana: The Movie" film and introduces us to the crew and what their responsibilities are. Especially for "Best Man", "Grip" and "Gaffer" and differences between a Assistant Director and a Director's Assistant.
* Fun with Hannah and the Gang - (3:53) The blooper reel from the film.
* B Disney Live - Fans can connect with family and friends through the innovative movie-watching experience! People will need a profile 2.0 Blu-ray player to take advantage of this capability.
When it comes to "Hannah Montana: The Movie", it's almost similar to what I had to say about "The Jonas Brothers: 3-D Concert Experience" in that these films are created for their fans.
"Hannah Montana" is a popular children's television show with a large following and I have watched many television shows with my son and although I'm not as familiar with her music, every decade there are shows that will appeal to their young fans and many of those who scratch their heads and just don't get why people find it so appealing. In the 80's we had "Kids Incorporated", in the 90's we had "Saved By the Bell" and although Saturday morning teen shows and afternoon teen shows on network television are a thing of the past, these shows have continued on the Disney Channel and "Hannah Montana" is simply a popular series with a lot of merchandising behind the series and its star Miley Cyrus.
And those who are not fans, they are going to criticize and those who never cared for Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus, it's a given that they are not going to give a care for this film.
But how did I feel about the film? As a guy who tends to write a lot about teen or young entertainment worldwide, may it be their music or television careers, I enjoyed the film. Of course, it all comes from my knowledge of the series and knowing how quarky the television series is but also knowing the difficult the character of Miley Stewart has in juggling both worlds of a normal teenager and a pop star.
But what I found more interesting is seeing Robby Ray stepping down and knocking Miley off her high horse. He notices that the fame is getting to her head and that if he doesn't change things now, he's going to lose that daughter who was always caring for her family and her friends.
So, when it comes to the dramatic scenes, I enjoyed watching that part. As for the music, this is more geared for her fans. Obviously, with her single "The Climb" and the soundtrack of this film doing so well on the Billboard Charts, it's quite evident that she has a strong fandom of fans that are passionate for her music. The film is not "High School Musical" and every scene is full of music and a little on drama, it's quite the opposite where there are more acting scenes and music plays a more important part towards the second half of the film. Also, you get music from Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts and both offer an incentive to check out the film as well.
There was a superhero-esque (or more like "Spider-Man 2") type of storyline near the end which I won't get into but overall, I suppose that those who have watched her television show will find out if Miley Stewart or Hannah Montana will be the last persona standing.
For the most part, I found the film to be enjoyable, fun and it was good to see Miley Cyrus take on an emotional scene. I thought that the ending scene with the talent and film crew doing "The Hoedown Throwdown Dance" was hilarious and fun and for the most part, I'm quite confident that fans of Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana are going to have a great time with this release.
As for the Blu-ray release, you get a ton of special features and as typical of Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment releases, its one company where you know that their releases are going to be given absolute awesome picture and audio quality. And I can definitely tell you that this 3-Disc release will definitely be well worth it for the Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana fans.
Overall, presentation and audio wise and the content included on this release is magnificent but as for the film, it all comes down to whether or not you are a fan of Miley Cyrus or her television show. Otherwise, if you had no care in the world for her music or the show, then you know this release is not for you. But for those who are passionate about her music and her series, then I can tell you that this Blu-ray release is highly recommended!