Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam – Extended Edition (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Paul Hoen
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 104 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; DTS/Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish
Subtitles: SDH, French, Spanish
MSRP: $ 44.99
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Review Date: September 7, 2010
When the original Camp Rock premiered two years ago, it resided in the dark, heavy shadow of the High School Musical juggernaut. It did very well for Disney, but the quality of the made-for-TV movie paled in comparison to the sprightly cast, tunes, and story of those more popular Disney telepics. Now, the second Camp Rock comes along, but once again it suffers at the hands of this television season’s true phenomenon Glee. In almost every way, the Fox TV musical dramedy has it in spades over this bland Disney Channel pabulum: cast, songs, production values, and, most importantly, characters and stories. While Glee delves into typical and atypical problems of both hip and non-hip teens, Camp Rock’s youngsters have few conflicts and nothing that can’t be fixed with a song. For its target audience of preteens, Camp Rock 2 will serve as an entertaining time filler, but for depth of storytelling and more consistent musicality, Glee is king of this musical hill.
Excited to be returning to their favorite summer camp, Camp Rock, Mitchie Torres (Demi Lovato) and her chums are surprised to see that a new music camp has opened on the opposite shore of the lake, Camp Star, a large scale facility that stresses serious performance study over the fun approach to musical activities that Camp Rock promotes. After Camp Star steals some counselors and campers from Camp Rock, Mitchie throws down the gauntlet to Camp Star: a one-on-one performance competition to prove which is the more worthy summer music camp. As the performance date approaches, Mitchie finds that she has taken on too much for herself seriously jeopardizing her budding relationship with Shane Gray (Joe Jonas) whom she had been so attracted to the previous summer. What’s worse, she finds that without more intensive rehearsal, her group won’t be ready to compete with the flashy, hip-hop performance offered by Camp Star.
Even more so than the previous Camp Rock, this sequel is a definite star vehicle for Demi Lovato. She has far more song solos, duets, and production numbers than anyone else in the feature, almost to the point of overkill. Though she can act with some verve and dance well enough, her breathy, wailing singing voice is a feeble instrument compared to some of the female voices in the High School Musical films or the thrilling, powerful, and emotive voices of the leading Glee singers. The opening number “It’s a Brand New Day” gets the show off to a decent start, and the “This Is Our Song” finale wraps things up nicely. In between, however, is a mix of mushy pop and hip-hop that’s completely dispensable. True, Nick Jonas’ “Introducing Me,” telling his new girl friend (newcomer Chloe Bridges) about himself, is sprightly and fun, but both of the Camp Star big hip-hop production numbers are flashy but empty spectacles with mostly atonal noise and lots of bouncy moves but little musicality. Director Paul Hoen keeps the camera moving around, up, and over the singing and dancing to add some buoyancy to the musical material, but even the showiest camera moves in the world can’t turn dross into gold.
Fans of the Jonas Brothers may be disappointed to learn that their favorites don’t perform a number together until more than an hour into the movie. Each of the boys, however, has been given other chores in the film. Kevin is playing the ditz, the oldest brother saddled with being the counselor to the youngest campers who play a series of practical jokes on him. Joe and Nick are both given innocent love interests with definite G-rated intentions. Nick’s infatuation is with the daughter of Camp Star’s owner, the piano playing Dana of Chloe Bridges. She seems very musically talented, but her screen presence and appeal is practically nil. Even worse is the awkward acting of the other newcomer to the franchise: Matthew 'Mdot' Finley playing Camp Star’s most dynamic performer. As a hip-hop artist he’s passable perhaps, but in the acting scenes, he’s graceless and unappealing.
The TV-movie is presented with the 1.78:1 aspect ratio with a resolution of 1080p using the AVC codec. Color richness and depth is wonderfully appealing, and contrast has been dialed in beautifully to give the image a distinct pop that one recognizes in the best high definition transfers. Unfortunately, softness creeps into the photography at the oddest moments especially during close-ups of actors who one wouldn’t suspect would need soft focus photography. There are enough of those startling shots to cost the image quality score a half point. Blacks are nicely delivered, too, in this otherwise very fine transfer. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix has great resonance during all of the musical sequences with excellent channel delineation and nice use of the LFE channel. The sound designers, however, don’t take advantage of their multi channel opportunities in other segments of the movie when activities such as water fights and the sounds of the lake at night aren’t exploited at all. There are some directional sound effects occasionally, but more could have been done to give the soundfield greater depth apart from the music.
“Rock Along” allows the viewer to turn on the sing along lyrics so that they pop up when the song numbers occur.
There are five music videos from around the world featuring songs from the movie. They can be watched separately or in one 16-minute grouping. The songs are in French, Spanish, Benelux, German, and Italian. They’re presented in 480i.
“Getting to Know Camp Star’s Newest Stars” has actress Alyson Stoner interviewing Chloe Bridges and Matthew 'Mdot' Finley about their audition experiences (some tape of their auditions is shown) and their feelings about their work in the film. Pop-up facts about the three performers also appear during the interviews. It’s in 480i and runs for 5 ¾ minutes.
The disc is BD-Live ready, but the network was not active during the review period.
There are 1080p trailers for Tangled, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, Prince of Persia, Toy Story 3, and Beauty and the Beast.
The second disc in the set is a DVD copy of the movie.
The third disc in the set is the digital copy of the film which is downloadable on PC and Mac devices.
2.5/5 (not an average)
Camp Rock 2 offers more of the same music-heavy/story-lite production values that distinguished the original Camp Rock. The video and audio encodes are stellar on the disc, but the disc is a bit light on features compared to the Blu-ray release of the first film. Tweens will undoubtedly find it entertaining and opt for multiple replays, but others will find less to offer this time around.