It used to be Mickey Mouse and others that dominated the Disney image. Now, it’s a bunch of kids tossed on screen in terribly written musicals that draw the younger audience. At least the Mouse had some merit. Camp Rock does not… at all.
This is a painful experience for anyone who has actually seen a movie before. Demi Lovato is a new member of Camp Rock, the cheapest looking summer camp you can imagine (gotta keep the budget low to reap the benefits of the advertising dollar!), and she doesn’t fit in. Cue the usual array of tween oriented messages about being yourself and doing the right thing, and you’ve summed this thing up.
Camp Rock could have been condensed into a single episode of a TV series, maybe even crammed into a half hour time slot. Better yet, maybe a cut-in to a show to tell kids to be themselves. Disney’s latest money machine, the Jonas Brothers, team up with Lovato for this hard-to-watch tween excursion that’s been done to death.
Characters are stereotypes to the point where you may need to coin a new term just to describe them. The script is implausible and ridiculous to anyone with common sense. Granted, the demographic this is aimed at won’t care. They’ll be perfectly content seeing the Jonas Brothers and Lovato sing together. Still, it would have been nice if someone involved threw something in here for the millions of parents who will be forced to sit through this with their kids. Camp Rock fails to do that.
Even the music, obviously the highlight, is painfully dubbed over. The lip synching isn’t even correct, especially off in the finale where it counts the most. There’s also a priceless conversation where Joe Jonas expresses his hate for the studio forcing him to sing music they’ve deemed appropriate. Ironic, no?
Judging this on the level of its artistic merit or even Disney Channel Movie logic is a waste of time (how did Joe Jonas know the lyrics beforehand for the duet?). There isn’t any to discuss. At the very least, Lovato has a far better voice than Miley Cyrus, so if the marketing works out okay, maybe this fad will be slightly more tolerable in the long run. Unless you have a screaming pre-teen in your home who just has to have this, move along. There’s nothing to see here.
The film falters on Blu-ray, more than likely due to the pointlessness of putting this on the format in the first place. How many hi-def enthusiasts are rushing out to get this thing anyway?
Regardless, the film was obviously shot digitally, as it carries many of the flaws associated with it. The transfer can be excessively noisy. The black levels are too inconsistent to hide it. The overall look is flat and soft. Details are few and far between. The color is rich and stands out, but when compared to some of the clips in the SD special features, there’s hardly a difference.
The uncompressed track is wasted. The surrounds are never used for the entire film, leaving this completely front loaded. Even the songs can’t find a way to bleed into the surrounds. The extra clarity only shows how poorly the music has been dubbed over.
Disney has packed this thing with extras, though not much of value. With the film, you can do a sing-along, which used to be known as “subtitles.” There’s also a separate section for karaoke on a few songs. Two music videos are included to round off the musical side of things.
A stack of featurettes, the longest being the 28 minute How to Be a Rock Star, will keep kids busy for a while. A Blu-ray exclusive is a six-minute set tour with a “surprise” appearance by Joe Jonas. Yes, it must have been a shock to see him on set. It’s not worth buying the Blu-ray version for. The other five featurettes cover Demi Lovato, the final jam, and reflections from the set amongst other stuff.