[19 August 2008]
McClatchy-Tribune News Service (MCT)
For those who have been out of the mainstream pop scene for a while, Miley Cyrus, alias Hannah Montana, is the reigning teen queen with a hit TV show on the Disney Channel, a couple of hit music albums and an enormous amount of merchandise featuring her likeness.
You can see what all the buzz is about by watching “Hannah Montana And Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour” (Walt Disney, 2008, $34.99) which comes to Blu-ray on Tuesday (Aug.19) and shows off both Cyrus and the high definition DVD format to good advantage.
As we have come to expect with Blu-ray, the picture quality is superb and you can almost count the hairs on Cyrus’ head. The format’s surround sound is equally impressive, making you feel as if you are actually at a concert. If he was still alive, Walt Disney, always at the forefront of new technology, would eagerly embrace Blu-ray.
Miley/Hannah, the 15-year-old daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, is a bundle of energy on stage as she belts out numerous tunes in front of a screaming audience. Also making an appearance are the Jonas Brothers. Like Cyrus, they make the sound system rock.
This extended version can be viewed in either 2-D or in 3-D, the way it was released theatrically (four pairs of 3-D glasses come with the disc). There are several effective 3-D moments. On more than one occasion, Cyrus seems to be coming out of the screen. There are also a few sequences in which the viewer will feel as if he or she is part of the audience.
If you really want to try to understand the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus phenomenon, watch with a few teenagers and pre-teens as I did. They really connect with Cyrus and vice versa. She’s of their generation and, they feel, is one of them.
They feel just as passionate about “Camp Rock” (Walt Disney, 2008, $34.99), a Disney Channel original which had several television airings including one on ABC. The 1080p (progressive) Blu-ray disc is stunning when seen on a 1080p hi-def TV.
Relative newcomer Demi Lovato plays Michie Torres who longs to spend the summer at an expensive rock camp. She gets her wish only because her mom lands the job as being the camp’s cook. That’s something Michie tries hard to hide from her fellow campers.
The Jonas Brothers also star in the film with Joe Jonas playing Shane Grey, a pop rock star with an attitude who is serving as an instructor at the camp.
While there is plenty of music spread throughout the film, its messages of being yourself and not being ashamed of your background should please all parents of teenagers. Both Lovato, who has an unforgettable smile, and Jonas turn in fine performances.
This version of the film includes an extended ending not seen on television. Among the plenty of extras are features on Lovato and the Jonas Brothers. Another extra to be found on Blu-ray only is a tour of the “Camp Rock” set with a surprise visitor.
Also being released on Blu-ray Tuesday:
“Street Kings” (20th Century Fox, 2008, $39.98) Kenau Reeves stars as a tough-as-nails street detective who is wrongly suspected of murdering a fellow officer. That’s when things really heat up. Forest Whitaker co-stars as Reeves’ boss. If you like action, this one if for you.
“Prom Night” (Sony, 2008, $38.95) Brittany Snow stars as Donna, a teenager getting ready for her senior prom and trying to forget that her family was murdered three years ago. Unknown to her, the murderer (played by Jonathon Schaech) has escaped with plans to attend the prom, too. But the psychopath doesn’t have dancing on his mind.
“The Life Before Her Eyes” (Magnolia, 2008, $34.98) Evan Rachel Wood plays high school student Diana who, along with her best friend is Maureen (Eva Amurri), comes face-to-face with terror when a Columbine-like incident happens at their school. The film suddenly flashes forward to an adult Diana (Uma Thurman) who is haunted by that tragic day. It’s the start of what is a most unusual movie.
Other Blu-ray releases include:
“Nixon: Director’s Cut” (Walt Disney, 1992, $34.99) Anthony Hopkins plays the title role is director Oliver Stone’s look at President Richard Nixon.
“The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior” (Universal, 2008, $39.98) Michael Copona plays Mayhayus who, after he witnesses his father’s death, becomes the fiercest warrior in the world. This straight to DVD film is a prequel to the 2002 film.
“Terminator - The Sara Connor Chronicles: The Complete First Season” (Warner, 2008, $39.98) Lena Headey stars in this TV series that takes place after the movie “Terminator 2.” Includes all nine episodes.
“Justice League - Season One” (Warner, 2001, $59.98) The set includes 26 episodes from the animated series based on the DC comic book.
All prices listed are the suggested retail price and can be purchased cheaper for those who shop around or go to www.amazon.com.