|Available at Amazon.com|
The Disney Channel seems to be on a roll lately. First they hit pay dirt with High School Musical, a modern Grease meets Romeo and Juliet. Then they hit the motherload with Hannah Montana. You can’t turn a corner without seeing Miley Cyrus. Now, they have the Jonas Brothers: a boy band that plays their own instruments, writes many of their own songs, actually has morals, and are insanely popular. Where did they come from, you ask? They’ve been around. They’ve done theme songs for various Disney shows and popped up on Hannah Montana. To further cash in on the Jonas Brothers fame, Disney released another Disney Channel Original Movie (or DCOM, for the in-the-know) called Camp Rock and starred, you guessed it, the Jonas Brothers.
Oddly enough, for a movie starring the Jonas Brothers, they’re not really the focus of Camp Rock. The star of this show is newcomer Demi Lovato, who stars as Mitchie Torres. She dreams of being a musician and longs to go to the prestigious music camp of Camp Rock. All of her attempts to convince her parents to let her attend are shot down. Caterer mom and hardware store owner dad just can’t afford it. But when mom gets a catering job at the camp, Mitchie is able to attend. The only stipulation is that she has to help her mom in the kitchen. She agrees and they’re off to camp.
As soon as she arrives, Mitchie is introduced to Tess (Meaghan Jette Martin), the reigning diva of the camp. She gets caught up in trying to fit in and lies to her about who her parents are. Soon the campers learn that the lead singer of the popular band Connect Three, Shane Grey (Joe Jonas), will be teaching the dance class at the camp. Naturally, the girls all try to impress him every chance they get. The entire camp is looking forward to the Final Jam, where all of the entrants compete for a chance to record a song with Shane. Back-stabbing and cattiness ensues, but of course, the boy gets the girl. After all, this is the Disney channel.
If you haven’t heard of the Jonas Brothers by now, let me fill you in. They’re, like, the biggest, like, thing right now. Remember New Kids on the Block? Backstreet Boys? NSYNC? Hanson? They’re a new generation of boy band. While they don’t act too much in the film, Joe Jonas does a fine job. He’s cute, charming, a good dancer and singer, and that’s pretty much all that is asked of him. The other two Jonases, Nick and Kevin, kind of get the short end of the stick. As the other members of Connect Three, they show up occasionally throughout the movie, but they don’t really get much screen time until Final Jam. I found all three of them to be very funny and quite charming. It’s no wonder they’re so popular. Newcomer Demi Lovato is just plain adorable. Too adorable if you ask me. She’s got a very contagious grin that reaches from ear to ear and it’s obvious that she’s just plain happy to be in the film. She’s got a great voice too. The rest of the cast is cute and fit in very well with the Disney Channel look: wholesome, energetic, happy kids.
If you want my honest opinion, the movie’s not all that great. Everyone is overacting, including camp counselor Julie Brown (Police Academy 2, Clueless). But, considering this is a DCOM, I’m not going to hold that against it. That’s just what they do in these movies. This is a musical, and the music is really actually very good. Much better than I expected, especially considering it took me a few listens to get into the High School Musical music. The Jonas Brothers are a very good band. Their songs are infectious and their energy level is very impressive. There are several other songs that are really good and had me tapping my toes. My kids sang along the whole time and loved every minute of it.
If you’ve got teenagers in the house, I’m sure you’ve already heard of Camp Rock and your kids are already singing its praises. Yes it’s overacted and cheesy, but the characters are wholesome and are good role models. The latest DCOM is perfect for the target audience, and if the target audience likes it, it’s a bona fide hit. In fact, a sequel has just been announced, so you can expect more DCOM merchandise in stores near you.
The DVD maintains the TV look with a full-screen format. The audio quality is clear, but the video looks like you’re watching it on TV.
Disclaimer: Parents, you may want to sit these out. All of the extras are geared towards the teen and tween fans.
The DVD features are split into two parts:
Music and More:
Music Videos – “Start the Party” and “We Rock”
Sing Along With the Movie – A version of the movie that, when the songs come on, the words appear on the screen so you can sing along.
Camp Rock Karaoke – A feature with every single song in karaoke mode: words on the bottom of the screen and instead of there being no vocals, the person singing the song is still heard in a very low volume.
How to Be A Rock Star – A ridiculously long feature (25 minutes!) in which the cast goes through the following: How to Sing Like a Rock Star, How to Dress Like a Rock Star, How to Dance Like a Rock Star, How to Behave Like A Rock Star, How to Practice Like a Rock Star, How to Network Like a Rock Star, and then Everyone’s a Rock Star. (What, no how to party like a rock star?)
Jonas Brothers – Real Life Rock Stars – A mini Behind the Music about the Jonas Brothers. 15:44. (Yes, you read that right.)
Introducing Demi Lovato – Poor Demi Lovato. She only gets a five minute long feature. Basically this is a mini-mini Behind the Music. She’s just happy to be here.
Camp Memories – a slide show of pictures taken by the cast and crew. 5:48 (Yes, longer than Demi’s feature.)
“Hasta la Vista” from Rehearsal to Final Jam – Shows the kids rehearsing and then performing one of the songs from the movie. 4:54
“Too Cool” Setting the Scene – Shows how they set up the background and costumes for the scene where they sing “Too Cool”. 3:36
Sneak Peeks –
The following play automatically with Disney’s Fast Play – Disney Blu-Ray, Sleeping Beauty Platinum Edition and Blu-Ray, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds in 3D on Blu-Ray, High School Musical DVD Game, Disney Rewards.
The following are just a part of the Sneak Peeks feature – Wizards of Waverly Place: Wizard School, Phineas and Ferb: The Fast and the Phineas, The secret of the Magic Gourd, 101 Dalmations II: Patch’s London Adventure, and The Wizards of Waverly Place on the Disney Channel.
Camp Rock is a harmless, wholesome, teeny-bopper favorite that just won’t go away. If you’re a parent of a fan, chances are you’ll be watching or listening to this over and over. If you’re not a parent of a fan, I’d suggest skipping this. Camp Rock knows it’s fans and it is completely geared towards them.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents Camp Rock. Directed by Matthew Diamond. Starring Joe Jonas, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Kevin Jonas. Running time: 90 minutes. Rated G. Released on DVD: August 19, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.