DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: Hannah Montana: The Movie

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Hannah Montana: The Movie

Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009) Dir. Peter Chelsom
Starring: Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Emily Osment, Jason Earles and Peter Gunn


Guest Review By Greg Klymkiw

If a middle-aged man wanders alone into a movie theatre full of 8-year-old girls and their mothers and plops himself down in the front row, is it fair to automatically assume he is a child molester? What if this gentleman grew up in a simpler age when the likes of scrumptious childstar Hayley Mills delighted not only little girls and their mothers, but little boys as well? And though one could never admit to one’s mates that he loved Hayley Mills, it was automatically assumed that all one’s male friends were equally enamoured with the joys inherent in the perky, sweet-faced adventures of “Pollyanna”.

Alas, for several years now, whenever I walked alone into a theatre showing the likes of “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” or the Lindsay Lohan remake of “Freaky Friday”, the looks of horror and disdain I would receive from the mothers of all the 8-year-old girls gave me a taste of what it must feel like to be of virtually any non-white racial persuasion walking into a Ku Klux Klan rally and receiving similar looks of utter hatred. This happens less, now that I am usually accompanied by my own daughter to such extravaganzas, but for a variety of reasons too dull to invoke here, I found myself alone at the theatrical screening of “Hannah Montana: The Movie” and once again I received the wary glares of Moms which said, loud and clear: “CHILD MOLESTER!”

It was, of course worth it, because I enjoyed myself very much. Having had the pleasure of watching every extant episode of the Disney series “Hannah Montana” on DVD (with my daughter, of course), I was primed for this big screen rendering of my favourite contemporary childstar Miley Cyrus and I was certainly not disappointed.

As everyone knows, the title character – much like Superman – has two identities. By day, she is normal kid Miley Stewart, but by night she is pop music sensation Hannah Montana. Somehow, by merely donning a wig, nobody – including characters that should know better - can seem to cotton on to the truth. Well, it worked for Clark Kent, so why not? In the big screen version of Hannah’s adventures, her widowed Dad and manager Robby Ray Stewart (Miley’s real-life Dad, country singing sensation Billy Ray “Achy Breaky Heart” Cyrus) is concerned that his daughter needs a break from her hectic life as a pop sensation. Her wildly erratic behaviour includes a public catfight with model/actress/host Tyra Banks over a pair of shoes in a swanky shop and an unexpected rift with her best friend Lily (Emily Osment), so Dad brings her back to their idyllic family farm in the sleepy White Trash hamlet of Crowley Corners, Tennessee. It is here where Miley finds herself re-connecting with childhood sweetheart Jackson Stewart (hunky, drool-inspiring Jason Earles), family and the simple joys of country life. Threatening her happiness is the muckraking celebrity journalist Oswald Granger (Peter Gunn) who is on to the Miley/Hannah ruse and is about to expose her to the world. Does everything work out happily? Well, it’s probably not a spoiler to say that it does. Why wouldn’t it?

This amiable, pleasant and wholesome family entertainment with its picture postcard photography is subject to derision from all those who purportedly know better, but the fact remains that it’s extremely engaging. Not only is the picture everything one would want to occupy the attention spans of kids, but it also fulfills the very necessary function of promoting family values of the highest order (Miley’s Dad is a single parent, but not because of divorce, but because her Mom died).

Miley Cyrus herself is terrific. In addition to being a talented comic actress, she’s got a great voice and truly shines during her musical numbers. She also proves that she’s got the right stuff to be a romantic lead. Daddy Billy Ray is an actor of – to put it mildly – limited range, but he’s perfectly pleasant in a down home corn pone way.

The movie also features a musical number that rivals (I kid you not!) Luis Bunuel in the surrealism sweepstakes – a barn dance replete with step dancing AND (I kid you not!!) hip-hop moves and set to the song (I kid you not!!!) “Hoedown Throwdown”.

To this day, I am unable to shake myself of the lyrics:

Pop it, lock it, Polka dot it, Countrify, then Hip-hop it

I believe the abovementioned poetry will be etched on my mind until my last breath.

Luckily, for those of us in the pro-Hannah-Montana camp, Walt Disney’s recent Blu-Ray release is a dream-come-true. It includes a gorgeous Blu-Ray transfer that captures the Tennessee locations and Miley’s exquisite, milky skin with equal perfection. There are deleted scenes and bloopers hosted by the amiable director Peter Chelsom (who, without talking down, manages a very kid-friendly approach to the material), several videos, the usual making-of shtick and an equally kid-friendly commentary track from the aforementioned director. The cherry on this sundae of extra features is a how-to video on the utterly insane Hoedown Throwdown dance. My child loves it (and no doubt yours will too). What awaits are hours, days, weeks, months and – God forbid! – years of pleasure dancing along to this feature. In addition to the Blu-Ray disc, the deluxe edition also includes a DVD disc for portable players so your kid doesn’t scratch the Blu-Ray all to hell and – God Bless! – a disc that creates a high-resolution digital copy for iTunes, iPods and/or iPhones. It’s a great package!

If you’re not eight years old or a Mom or a middle aged man who loves Miley Cyrus, the likelihood of you enjoying this movie is considerably lower than that of an Arab Muslim extremist wholeheartedly accepting Zionism. So do please enjoy. Or not!

“Hannah Montana – The Movie” is available on Blu-Ray from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

1 comment :

Anonymous said...


I kid, I kid.