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Let me just preface this by saying I didn’t want to watch Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert, but I felt an obligation to the folks at Disney to at least give it a whirl (after all, these are the people that decide whether or not I get an advanced Blu-ray copy of Wall-E or Sleeping Beauty). I also can’t judge the kids of today and their musical tastes, because mine were even worse at their age (or so at least I’m assuming. Hannah Montana fans are like five to ten right?). The first cassette tape I ever owned was the New Kids on the Block’s first album (I think it was ironically called ‘Hanging Tough’). In honest comparison Hannah Montana frickin’ rocks (though her appearance has put Billy Ray Cyrus back into the public eye, which should count against her).

Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert
For starters I’m given a choice between the 2D and 3D version of the film. Well that’s hardly even a choice is it? Who wouldn’t go with the 3D version? A Nazi, that’s who, and I love America far too much to risk a boring 2D viewing of the nation’s favourite faux rock star. Needless to say, I went with the American choice. Unfortunately this is the old-school red/blue 3D that will give you a blinding headache in ten minutes flat. I was hoping that the new polarized 3D would work in high definition.

The first shock comes about mere minutes into the film. After a single musical number, we cut to behind the scenes footage…in 3D. Wait, what? I though this was a concert film, now it’s a documentary? And I’m watching behind the scenes footage in 3D? Ok, I’ll go with it.

I don’t think it’s working correctly. Oh wait, this part isn’t in 3D.

Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert
The second shock (of only two shocks) comes when I realize Miley Cyrus is actually singing, not lip-syncing. I thought all pop stars lip-synced in concert. Look at her, she’s running all over that stage and still singing in (relative) tune. Sure, I can hear her gasping for breath a bit, but that’s still very impressive. She’s actually a pretty fantastic showgirl (not that kind of showgirl). She engages the crowd better than half the acts I’ve ever seen on stage. There’s no comparing the music, but Miley Cyrus is a regular James Brown. I’m impressed, especially after just watching the Rolling Stones sleep walk through Shine a Light.

Video


It seems that even in high-definition red/blue 3D doesn’t really work. I mean, it kind of works, but the colour is sucked out of everything, leaving a red tint in place, and edges lose a lot of definition, especially when something or someone gets too close to camera (the birds-eye of the drummer tossing his drumstick doesn’t work at all). Wide shots taken from the back of the stadium looking back at the stage work the best, displaying some real depth into the set, but things coming out of the set just look like a doubled image. The non-3D stuff, and the 2D version of the film, looks pretty much perfect, because it was all filmed using gigantic, state of the art, high-def cameras and appropriately transferred to disc. The only limitations appear when the lighting is less then ideal, which is almost exclusively during the behind the scenes sequences.

Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert

Audio


It’s concert movie, and listening to this DTS-HD Master Audio track sounded a whole lot like being in a concert (though the extra two channels of the 7.1 mix were lost on me). The sound designers mostly leave things natural, as they’d be heard during the concert (unlike Martin Scorsese, who turned up what ever instrument was centred in frame), but they take a couple of effective liberties, such as a pick scrape that rides right to left in the rear channels. The guitars, drums, and vocals are all expertly mixed, but the bass tends to go missing on many tracks. The LFE track is mostly devoted to the kick drum, which pumps without bleeding or warbling. The screaming fans in the rear channels get a little annoying by the second or third song, but they aren’t too high on the track.

Extras


First up on the extras menu is one Jonas Brother’s song that is much more interesting than the ones that made the film, and one addition Miley Cyrus song. This is followed by a sing along option for every song, which is only available in 2D mode. The rather miniscule extras are completed with a basic EPK masquerading as a behind the scenes featurette. I’m guessing the eleven-minute featurette was made for the Disney channel. It’s not worthless, especially not to the little ones that should be watching it. Cyrus is sure to make the behind the scenes experience clear to her fans, and makes the difficulty of the process clear.

Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert

Overall


I’m not the target audience, but I will say that some of Miley Cyrus’ songs were effective power-pop and ’80s electronica throwbacks, and surprisingly dark. Some even have a cool Spaghetti Western flavour. It’s certainly better music then New Kids on the Block. The Hannah Montana stuff was tolerable, but the Jonas Brothers were terrible. The concert itself is a little too bright and shiny for my taste, but the effort put into the stage show, the musicianship, and Cyrus’ generally impressive stage presence was enough to make the experience not entirely unpleasant. Now lets just hope her daddy Billy Ray is a better influence on his kid then Dina Lohan or Lynne Spears, and maybe this kid will make something of genuine value when she grows up and gets all angsty.

Note: The images on this page are not representative of the Blu-ray release.


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