If this Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus thing is anything, it shows the power of marketing to the target demographic. With a few million dollars, some repetitive pictures slapped on lunchboxes, t-shirts, and dolls, anyone can be a star. That’s how this all started, and how we ended up here with a concert that managed to gain a theatrical run and now a home video release.
Reviewing or going critical on this is rather pointless. The countless ads that have likely run on the Disney Channel non-stop will sell copies. There’s no doubt Miley’s “casting” was appropriate. She has energy and can get the crowd worked into a frenzy, or enough of one to splurge on merchandise.
The concert itself features both Hannah and Miley… which are the same person, so what’s the point exactly? Oh right, double the cash earned on the merchandise. The Jonas Brothers, the latest in this marketing nightmare, gain a few songs as well.
Intercuts in the middle of songs are a mistake, and that’s what happens here as backstage clips or interviews jarringly pull the viewer from the song. It’s even worse when Miley’s father Billy Ray Cyrus speaks so candidly on her song writing ability. Skip to the credits and see all of three of them are written by her, and even those are with help. Background dancers are so constantly happy with ear to ear smiles (it’s to the point of being so fake it’s creepy) you have to wonder how much they’re being paid to keep it lighthearted.
Originally displayed in Disney’s nifty Real D 3-D format, they try to maintain this on Blu-ray with the old blue/red paper glasses at home. Four pairs are included, or (of course) you buy more. The effect is minimal or headache inducing, certainly nowhere near what the tween audience would have experience in theaters. It’s only barely noticeable during long shots.
Loads of cameras are always in proper position, and the obviously choreographed action on stage ensures Miley is looking right where she needs to at all times. How convenient. This whole fad is baffling, but all credit should be directed to Disney and their ability to sell a product, regardless of how bland and generic it can be.
The 3-D version is basically unintelligible, so grading that video presentation is pointless. The star here is the standard 2-D, with loads of pop to the point where it looks wonderfully dimensional. While a few brief shots appear soft, mostly due to the source and not the transfer, this is nearly flawless. Colors are incredibly rich, and contrast couldn’t have been set any better. Detail is wonderful in close-ups, and the integrity isn’t lost when panning over the massive audience in front of Hannah… err, Miley… whatever.
It’s a sad day when Disney releases a full 7.1 DTS-HD Master mix for a kids concert, yet they’ve failed to provide any tracks like this for their feature films. How many 8-year olds have home theaters capable of decoding this in their rooms these days?
Regardless, this concert (or movie, or show) comes through perfectly. The thousands of high pitched tween screams are subdued enough to hear the music cleanly. Clapping fills the room as it would have the stadium during the live show. There’s perfect concert acoustics at work here if you have the proper equipment. The music is presented in truly stunning, uncompressed clarity.
Surprisingly, extras are few. Then again, why spend the money to produce more content when you don’t need to in order to move copies? Two extras songs, one from Miley and the other from The Jonas Brothers, are first up. A sing-a-long feature is added as if anyone in the demographic doesn’t know every word to every song. Ultimate Backstage Tour is a look behind-the-scenes that runs for a little over 11 minutes.