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Hannah Montana
The Movie
(Blu-ray)

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: G

Running Time: 102 Minutes

Starring: Miley Cyrus, Emily Osment, Jason Earles, Melora Hardin with Vanessa Williams and Billy Ray Cyrus

Written by: Dan Berendsen
Based on characters created by: Michael Poryes and Rich Correll & Barry O'Brien

Directed by: Peter Chelsom

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $44.99

Features: The Hoedown Throwdown Dance-Along, The Dance Experience, Audio Commentary with Director Peter Chelsom, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, "The Climb" Music Video, Find Your Way Back Home, I Should Have Gone To Film School - With Jason Earles, 

Specs: 1.85:1 Widescreen 1080p High Defintion, English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection (13 Scenes)

Released: August 18th, 2009

 

 

"Hannah Montana The Movie" is presented in 1080p high definition, with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. This is a pretty stellar and downright colorful transfer. The picture quality is remarkably vibrant, and there a lot of excellent visual details to take in. The variety of colors — be it from the rustic shades on the Tennessee farm to the details on Hannah's costumes — are justly bold and seem to explode without any smearing. The sets and production design also look great, while fleshtones hit their mark. Black levels are solid, and detail is downright excellent. The transfer is also impeccably clean, without any distracting blemishes or marks. Everything really tends to pop out in this transfer, as everything seems to be filled with depth and nothing really comes off as flat. Anyone who checks out the movie on Blu-ray is sure to delight in how sharp and fulfilling the picture quality is. 

 

"Hannah Montana The Movie" features a 7.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio track. The movie features plenty of music, from all the pop songs to John Debney's country-tinged score, and the track really wraps you up in what seems to be a constant assault of melody. From the opening sequence which makes you feel like you are at a Hannah Montana concert, to the country dance number, this DTS mix has plenty of beat that can really enrapture (or annoy) you. The music does spread pretty thickly throughout. Other than the music, there's plenty to like here. Sound effects are pretty rich without being bombastic, as imaging and panning are solid. Bass levels can be pretty deep, and fidelity is quite high. Dialogue is always crisp, centered and easy to hear too. Make no mistake, this track really captures what this movie's ambience is all about.

A French Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 track are also included, as are subtitles in English, French and Spanish. 

 





Exclusive to this Blu-ray version of "Hannah Montana The Movie" are two extras: one is The Howdown Throwdown Dance-Along, which teaches you the moves of a dance sequence in the movie. There's also The Dance Experience With The Cast.

Then there are a decemt amount of other features, on the Blu-ray disc and standard DVD. First up is an Audio Commentary with Director Peter Chelsom. I sincerely doubt kids will listen to this (especially since there is no presence from any of the stars of the film), but adults who saw the movie and didn't mind it might want to give this a spin. As some of you know, Chelsom is an English director who started out in independent film before graduating to some bigger romantic comedies ("Serendipity," "Shall We Dance" — also Disney features). Chelsom is rather dry, but also has a good sense of humor and is refreshing: right off the bat he admits to not knowing what Hannah Montana was when he was approached for the job. But he took the right approach: making it different than the TV series, and approaching it like he was making any other movie. He then goes onto to say how much of a fun experience it was. Chelsom is really talkative, and while at times he states the obvious, it's really clear how much thought he put into making the movie: the tone, the visual style and what it all means to the dueling personalities of Hannah Montana and Miley Stewart. Chelsom also offers up praise for his cast and crew, and all sorts of technical details from camera work to blue screen work (fun fact: some footage from the 3-D concert film was stolen for the opening sequence). I was really surprised that Chelsom recorded a commentary for the film, but this is a really engaging and impressive commentary that offers a lot of details and is balanced all across the board. I really don't know who is going to listen to this commentary, unless there are some fans who want to know as much as they want about the shoot — and perhaps a few adults. Whoever does decide to listen to Chelsom and his insights won't be disappointed. Strange as it might seem since this is the Hannah Montana movie we're talking about, but this is the epitome of a great commentary.

Four Deleted Scenes are included, plus nice introductions by Chelsom where he explains the cuts (and also mentions the final version of the film was what he wanted). Fans are sure to eat these up, and the moments are decent but not exactly relevant. The scenes and introductions total eleven minutes or so.

There are some amusing Outtakes that total nearly four minutes (complete with an unnecessary introduction by Chelsom). Also included is the "The Climb" Music Video, plus additional music videos on the Blu-ray release.

Find Your Way Back Home is a 15 minute piece that ties nicely into the theme of home in the movie, as the featurette showcases the hometowns of the film's stars. The part has Miley Cyrus hanging around Franklin, Tennessee, and the second has Emily Osment visiting some famous Los Angeles locales (including Pink's hot dogs and tar pits). Fluffy and ridiculous, which means the kids will love it.

I Should Have Gone To Film School — With Jason Earles features the film's supporting player giving us the inside scoop on what it's like to be on a big movie set. (Billy Ray Cyrus being asked what a co-producer does is priceless and accurate.) Earles interviews Osment, Cyrus, co-producer Alfred Gough, director Chelsom, the first AD, the second AD, production assistants, make-up, costumers , the sound mixer, the gaffer, a grip, property master and more. A little ridiculous too, but at least viewers can get real job descriptions of those interviewed with a rolling subtitle toward the bottom of the screen. This also runs 15 minutes.

Also included in this combo pack is a standard DVD copy of the movie, plus a Digital Copy you can put on your computer and a portable media player of your choosing.
 
 

Disney is bound to sell millions and millions of "Hannah Montana The Movie" Blu-rays and DVDs, and those who shell for this Blu-ray combo package really are getting the best of both worlds... err, three (Blu-ray, DVD and a digital copy). As you'd expect, the Blu-ray is the way to go: there are a few more supplements here (but both Blu-ray and DVD have a wonderful commentary from director Peter Chelsom), and the movie's visual and audio presentation is colorful, appropriately broad and rather outstanding. This is a satisfying package overall that are sure to delight the kids, so parents — if you haven't already — open those wallets.