Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana – DVD Review


Cross-over episodes among popular television shows are not new. Since the beginning of television really, there has been two or three shows coming together for special events or “super-episodes”. The cross-over episodes among Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice the last year or so have become extremely popular. It’s a chance to see all of your favorite stars interacting with each other on one screen at the same time. The Disney Channel is no stranger to cross-over events either, which shouldn’t shock anyone. Earlier this summer, their biggest cross-over special to date, Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana premiered to fantastic ratings. Now it’s on DVD. So kids, go ask your parents for another $20.

If you don’t know, and you should already if you are thinking about watching this special, this cross-over combines three Disney shows into a 68-minute special. In it, Wizards of Waverly Place‘s Justin (David Henrie) wins a Teen Cruise to Hawaii and a chance to meet Suite Life On Deck‘s London (Brenda Song). Both Justin and Max (Jake T. Austin), also from Wizards, do their best to win the London’s affection, while Suite Life‘s Cody (Cody Sprouse) tries to win concert tickets for Suite Life‘s Bailey (Debbie Ryan), and Wizards‘ Alex (Selena Gomez) accuses Suite Life‘s Zack (Dylan Sprouse) of being a prankster. Even with the kids’ pranks and crazy schemes, the excitement goes overboard when international superstar Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) checks in on her way to a sold-out concert in Hawaii. But when Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) loses her lucky charm anklet and her Hannah wig, are her days as the world’s biggest pop star over forever?

On the surface this might be marketed and even look like a stand-alone cross-over film, but it’s really not. First, this film is really three separate cross-over episodes presented without any commercial breaks. The cast and characters of Wizards of Waverly Place, Suite Life on Deck, and Hannah Montana each get their time to shine in separate episodes. But fortunately all the different episodes do blend seamlessly together. Unfortunately, you really need to know about the individual shows to understand what is going on here. They don’t stop to give you any background information you might need to know. Of course, the ending is fairly predictable and not much of payoff to begin with.

The appeal of this special is the chance to see all of your favorite characters from three of Disney’s most popular shows together on screen. The best part of this special is the chemistry among the actors. They are all likable and charming enough to keep you around to see what does happen. You do have to be a fan of the over-the-top acting, though, to really be entertained by this special. You don’t have think too hard to think of the premise for this film, but the way everything comes together is quite brilliant.

In the end, this special is only for fans of the three Disney shows combined here. The shows are similar enough that everything does blend together, which is a good thing for a cross-over special like this. If you don’t like these Disney Channel shows, obviously stay far away. Wizards on Waverly Place certainly won’t win over any newcomers. In the grand scheme of things, though, even fans of these shows will probably only want to watch this once or twice max. The storylines featured here don’t really matter on the individual shows. This is just an excuse to get all of these characters together for 70 minutes. Ultimately that means Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana feels like another cheap way to make get money from the pre-teen crowd and the parents that pay all their bills.

The video is given in fullscreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The transfer is great and on par with other Disney Channel sitcoms released on DVD today. No major problems at all.

The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound or English 2.0 Stereo sound. There are subtitles available in English and Spanish as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. No major problems here either.

“How to Write an Essay” Featurette
This runs 3 minutes and it’s presented in-character by Wizards‘ sibling Justin Russo (David Henrie). This is actually useful advice for students in upper grades on how to write an essay. But, of course, there has to be some comedy thrown in here as well.

“It’s a Suite Life Having Fun with Hannah & The Wizards” Featurette
This runs 6 minutes and all of the cast members talk about the crossover event and how it changes things up for them. About 90 seconds of “bloopers & blunders” appear in the middle as well. It’s really just a fluff piece with everyone excited to have done this, etc.

“Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go” Featurette
Have no fear, you still get Cody and Dylan Sprouse telling you what a Blu-ray is, if you don’t already know, but I no longer count that as an extra. This is a new 1 minute featurette I am sure Disney will include on all their new DVDs this point further (see also Jonas: Volume 1 DVD Review). It explains what a Disney Digital Copy is.

If you like Wizards of Waverly Place, Hannah Montana, or Suite Life on Deck, you’ll like this cross-over special. All we need is the Jonas Brothers to make this every Disney Channel fans’ dream DVD. If you don’t like any of those shows, probably stay away. Casual viewers might just be interested in seeing how this all turned out, though. So it’s worth a rental for them.

Walt Disney Home Entertainment presents Wizards On Deck With Hannah Montana. Directed by Rich Correll and Victor Gonzalez. Written by Todd J. Greenwald, Danny Kallis, Jim Geoghan, Michael Poryes, Rich Correll, and Barry O’Brien. Starring Miley Cyrus, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, Brenda Strong, Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Emily Osment, Phill Lewis, Debby Ryan, Jak, Jason Earles, Mitchel Musso, Jennifer Stone, Maria Canals Barrera, David DeLuise, Matthew Timmons, and Moises Arias. Running time: 68 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: September 22, 2009. Available at Amazon.com

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