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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD Review: Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert 3D

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#1 of 5 ONLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 31 2008 - 03:00 PM

Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus
Best of Both Worlds Concert 3D
2 Disc Extended Edition

Studio: Walt Disney
Year: 2008
US Rating: Rated G for General Audiences
Film Length: 82 Mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 and 1.85:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: Optional English

US Release Date: August 19th, 2008

The Film - out of

“Pictures and autographs
You get your face in all the magazines
The best part is that you get to be who ever you wanna be.”

Disney has struck a fair few chords with kids in the past couple of years with Cheetah Girls, the Jonas Brothers and other, but none as pitch-perfect as Hanna Montana. A fierce following of screaming girls, masses of teens and pre-teens wearing Hanna Montana t-shirts, breaking into well-known, good natured rock/pop tunes and growing bug eyes at the first sighting of the teeny-bopper phenomenon have followed Hanna Montana wherever she goes and whatever she does.

Bringing the dizzying concert experience to the millions of fans with pyrotechnics, happy dance moves, a healthy dose of wholesomeness with a bit of a twist and a well thought out cross-promotional guest appearance was the brainchild of Kenny Ortega (who is he?). When it was released in theatres, it proved just how much muscle and popularity the Disney franchise had accumulated. Joining the recent surge of interest in 3D movies that includes Beowulf and even the superb U2 3D, The Best of Both Worlds combines behind the scenes footage in regular 2D with concert footage in 3D to reasonable effect and gives the experience something extra. It presents the character of Hanna Montana onstage to the thrill of the audience and, mid-way through the concert, the girl behind the adored character is given her time in the limelight when Miley Cyrus comes to enthrall the young ones further.

Hanna Montana may own the majority of the concert time, but the behind the scenes and rehearsal footage shows off Miley with her youthful exuberance; her starlit status and her broad and near constant grin. This time reveals only a little of the creation of the concert experience and, truth be told, could take some of the magic away for the fans who watch it (particularly the early dance preparations and establishment of the Band, etc.). But this film comes alive during the onstage moment, when songs whose makeup is 90% pop and 10% rock energize and electrify the screaming kids. And Miley pours quite a lot of energy and zest into her performance. She hits her timing, spins and outstretched arms on cue with the rigid routine of a kids watch. Her performance on American Idol this past year highlighted her over-rehearsed weakness and presents a fair warning for her when that inevitable time comes to shed the youthful career pyramid that the mouse has helped her build and she attempts to crossover. But for now, in the limelight and the highpoint of her popularity, she has every right to do it just the way she is.

The 3D experience works only in a limited capacity with confetti, arms waving in the crowd and the occasional musical instrument thrust at the camera standing out. I am sure the theatrical presentation was more effective since the other 3D concert, U2 3D was a triumph in a number of ways, but here at home, sitting on the couch with cheap glasses that tear into the bridge of your nose like a guillotine, the effect is less than effective.

The accessible pop-songs with uplifting melodies that brim with independence and happiness and avoid deeper, more melancholic , tap the toes and bob the head with frequent warmth and giddy percussive joy. Lyrics that emanate an upbeat sense of self and drive like “I know I can change the world, yeah, yeah, yeah!” permeate the concert experience. Cyrus has a voice that delivers in the low-to mid register but she certainly struggles with the upper register – perhaps exacerbated by her sprints and jaunts around the stage. But she is a capable star presence who knows how to get the crowd on their feet.

The Jonas Brothers sing a good couple of songs during their guest appearance. They are more sonically satisfying with richer chords than the concert headliner and, while their first song with Hanna Montana doesn’t exactly gel well, they provide an entertaining interlude with their more complex harmonies and sharper lyrics.

This was a hit with young girls and will provide near endless entertainment and cheerful hours. Miley Cyrus’s backing dancers and more importantly, her band musicians deliver high quality talent to the mix and create a fun, lively and ‘brimming with young girl empowerment’ hour and half that will surely be a hit in your household.

The Video - out of

Walt Disney provides the option for full frame (1.33:1) or widescreen viewing (1.85:1) of this concert film. The widescreen image is enhanced for widescreen TV’s. It has a clean, natural look about it fitting of the content. The stage is typically bathed in purple leaning blues or warm pinks and they appear unblemished. Behind the scenes footage is comfortably lit with fluorescents and camera mounting, more stark lighting, but again, suit what we are seeing. Some grain in the under the stage shots appear to be style choices and work. This isn’t a spectacular looking disc, nor reference material but it is filled with bright colors, vibrant energy and about a thousand different things happening in almost any frame. As you might expect from a kids concert tour.

It is harder to tell the quality of the 3D version but the behind the scenes footage is the same.

The Sound - out of

The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound option is heavily apparent in the center channel and the front speakers sound like the guitars might just be inside them, but the surrounds don’t quite hold up their end of the bargain. Bass is deep and the sub-woofer, once I upped it just a little, delivered the booms of the bass line effectively (especially during ‘Let’s Dance”). The film also comes with a 2.0 Dolby option for those who wish to watch and enjoy with headphones.

Without the surrounds bearing the enveloping sound of the crowds, the ‘concert in your living room’ lacks a critical ingredient, but the core audience will no doubt be just fine with what the disc offers.

The Extra's - out of

Backstage Disney
The Ultimate Personal Tour - (11:23) – Miley Cyrus talks about the experience of being on tour, having a Disney tour with her as a headliner and takes us through the stage above and below. You get to see concert preparations, sound checks and a look at the Jonas Brothers opening act.

Music & More
”SOS” - (3:08) – The Jonas Brothers perform “SOS” for the excited crowd.

”Good and Broken” - (3:11) – Miley sings another up tempo song.

Sing Along with the Movie – You can select any of Hanna/Miley’s songs from the film and sing along with the onscreen lyrics

Final Thoughts

One of my favourite moments in the film comes when we cut to girl after girl answering the question of what their favorite Hanna Montana song is. They rattle off her hits with well versed ease and we finally cut to a young boy who exclaims “I don’t know any of her songs”. It was a fun acknowledgement that this is for the girls and the boy certainly spoke for me. For Hanna Montana fans this film has likely been in their minds to buy for a while. For those who wonder if the big screen concert experience can be captured in the home. Well, the answer is no, but it will deliver a chance to enjoy your favorite Hanna Montana songs on a whim, over and over and over again. Enjoy!

Overall Score - out of

Neil Middlemiss
Kernersville, NC
"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
My DVD Collection

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   Andrew Radke

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Posted August 31 2008 - 04:08 PM

Great review! I picked this up yesterday as a Christmas gift for my 10 year old niece (Yes, I started shopping early. lol). She appears to know a lot of her songs so I'm sure she'll enjoy it. Not to mention she loves watching 3D movies (Sharkboy & Lava Girl and Spy Kids 3-D, etc).
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#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Ockeghem



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Posted August 31 2008 - 04:12 PM

Neil, Thanks for the fine review. I can't tell you how many times this film has been watched in our home already. We saw it in the theater, and then had it on tape after it premiered on Disney near the end of July. The segment with Scotty Christiansen was funny; I also liked the interviews with Miley and the short bits with her father (especially the one when she is calling out the chords to her dad on I Miss You). And the footage where Miley is genuinely concerned that she will not be caught correctly by her spotters is entertaining. Fun fact: The tune I Miss You sounds in B-flat major. A capo was used by both Miley and her father for this portion of the interview. While teaching her father the chords, Miley mentions the chord of A minor (among others); however, the actual chord being performed at this point is G minor. In other words, the chords suggested by Miley are at least one whole-step different from those which are actually sounding (e.g., A minor = G minor, etc.). Some of our children are learning a couple of these tunes (and some from the recently-released Breakout album). I'm hopeful that the tracks Not This Girl and No Stopping Me will eventually make their way on to a future album of hers. Not This Girl is an interesting song musically, and is IMO somewhat reminiscent of the much older Mersey Beat style of the early 1960s, specifically with regard to its beat and overall rhythmic feel. I am hopeful that Not This Girl and No Stopping Me will eventually make their way on to a future album, and if and when they do, that at the very least Not This Girl will exercise restraint with regard to electronic and instrumental overlay so as not to obscure or overwhelm the subtle harmonic nuances and melodically-imitative guitar and vocal lines included in the now unreleased bare bones version. Edited at 11:06 a.m EST.

#4 of 5 ONLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted September 01 2008 - 03:42 AM

I have played the Piano 'by ear' for nearly twenty years and have just started taking lessons to learn how to read music in the past couple of months. I must say I find your comments/insight fascinating. I wonder if the A minor sounding like G minor is the result of the playback speed. Just a little slower and an A might sound like a G, perhaps?
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#5 of 5 OFFLINE   Ockeghem



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Posted September 01 2008 - 08:55 AM


First, best wishes with your new endeavor. I think that's great! Posted Image

I can't be certain, but I believe the pitch--being a whole step off from A to G, as opposed to a half step, either G to G-sharp or G-sharp to A--most likely precludes the playback speed as the reason for the different pitch. Beyond this, all of the other tunes during the concert match the 'correct' keys that I have cataloged for the past two years. Miley is also 'teaching' the chords correctly relative to the guitar frets. I believe that the different pitches are due to there being a capo, which is placed on the second fret of the neck. This would, I believe, raise the pitch by one whole step. But it would be good to get a guitarist's take on this. Posted Image

Happy piano playing. Posted Image

BTW, in case I wasn't very clear, Not This Girl and No Stopping Me are not included on the DVD you reviewed, nor are the tunes part of any released album. But I am hopeful that they will one day be released. Posted Image

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