Blu-ray
Worth a Look
3.5 stars
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Overall Grade
3.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
3 Stars
HD Video Quality
4 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4 Stars
Supplements
3 Stars
High-Def Extras
3 Stars
Bottom Line
Worth a Look

Hannah Montana: The Movie

Street Date:
August 18th, 2009
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
August 18th, 2009
Movie Release Year:
2009
Studio:
Disney/Buena Vista
Length:
102 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Rated G
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Miley Cyrus uses a blond wig the way Clark Kent employs eyeglasses, only she's not disguising a superhero identity, she's concealing her alter ego, Hannah Montana, pop super STAR! You see, while ordinary Miley is a brunette, Hannah Montana is a platinum blonde. Why no one ever realizes they're the same person is beyond me. It's just one of those plot points that force you to throw up your hands and surrender, 'cause this movie was made for your daughter, not you.

'Hannah Montana: The Movie' is just what you'd expect: One hundred and two minutes of Disney's Hannah Montana show, but with better production values. Miley loves being Hannah, because she gets all the fame, and she loves being Miley because she can walk around and no one will notice her. Like I said, that blonde wig is the disguise of the century.

Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley's father and manager, is concerned that all this fame is going to her head. Her best friend, who knows her secret, is frequently annoyed whenever she's upstaged by Hannah, even at her own birthday party!

I won't spend much time on the plot, since really, there's not much to discuss. It's essentially the same setup as 'Doc Hollywood' or 'Cars,' where a big deal city dweller gets stuck in a small town, and must choose between jetsetting fame or regular small town living. In Miley's case, the conundrums abound upon returning to her hometown for her grandma's birthday.

Which life does she pick? That's what we're all here to find out. It's a nail-biter, I'll tell you that much. Well, maybe it's suspenseful for young girls who imagine being in a similar situation.

'Hannah Montana: The Movie' aims for its target audience and scores a direct hit. I guess you can't really fault it for that. I watched the film with my niece, and she was quite interested for much of the film. At one point, around the 90 minute mark, she did she say, "This movie is too long," but she was attentive almost the entire time. Also, I must confess that I think Miley Cyrus actually has some real singing talent, as opposed to Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson. On the other hand, Mr. Cyrus needs to find a different profession other than acting. It always seems as though he's reading off cue cards!

While 'Hannah Montana: The Movie' isn't my thing, I can see it succeeding with the show's fans. It's a bit slapsticky, and at some points downright irresponsible, as when Miley's younger brother, who is always getting into hijinks, gets attacked by an alligator. Now I know from watching Animal Planet that when someone is attacked by an alligator they don't normally have much flesh left on their legs. But, here the attack is made to look pretty comical. Or what about the scene where the same brother falls backwards from a ladder two stories in the air? When I see slapstick humor like this with real people instead of cartoons I fear younger children will think that's what really happens in those situations. But hey, that's just my opinion on that matter. All in all, while I sat through this movie in a slightly bored stupor, my niece seemed mostly enthralled. In short, this is a film the young girls in your family will love.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

This 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer features some very strong visuals. The colors are vibrant and the fine detail is heavy. The visuals are the best when an open area like a beach stretching into the distance, or an open field is presented. Healthy contrast and consistent black levels make this transfer a very solid addition to Disney's relatively long line of quality transfers. No digital noise or anomalies were detected.

If you pick this feature up, take a moment to compare it to the DVD that's included in the package. The BD is a world of difference compared to the muddy looking DVD.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

'Hannah Montana: The Movie' boasts a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack. The audio mix here works best when it's trying to replicate the feeling of being in a crowded concert. The music is blasted through the speakers evenly. If you like Miley's music you should be quite impressed with how it's presented here. Rumbling bass makes appearances throughout the film, mostly during the numerous songs. While this wasn't the rousing score some would expect from a pop star themed film, it works rather nicely here. It may be a bit understated, but the last thing you need is your daughter rocking your house off its foundation with Miley's vocals.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

  • Audio Commentary - I fail to see the need for director's commentary on a movie like this. Miley fans would've liked to hear Miley, not some guy that they don't know. Instead of doing something original here, this is the same generic commentary you'd hear on most discs.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 11 min) - Peter Chelsom, the director, introduces the deleted scenes. There are four of them. Chelsom explains why they were cut.
  • Music Videos (HD, 27 min) - As if the mini concerts in the movie weren't enough, this disc is packed with seven music videos. Along with a few videos from Miley, there's also a video from Billy Ray, a couple from Rascal Flatts, and one from Taylor Swift. Songs: "Back to Tennessee" by Billy Ray Cyrus "You'll Always Find Your Way Home" by Hannah Montana "Let's Get Crazy" by Hannah Montana "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts "Crazier" by Taylor Swift "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus (two different performances are included of this song}\)
  • Outtakes (HD, 4 min) - Generic blooper reel where most of the time you see actors laughing except you really are never shown exactly why.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

  • Backstage Disney (HD, 54 min) - These are three featurettes that are exclusive to the BD. First up is "The Hoedown Throwdown Home Experience," which is 25 minutes long and is quite a lengthy discussion about the choreography used in the film. Girls will probably be interested in this to learn some of the dance moves. "Find Your Way Back Home" gives the actors a chance to talk about their own hometowns, where they came from, and how they got to where they are now. "I Should Have Gone to Film School" is a behind-the-scenes tour of the movie's production.

BD-Live is also included. You can connect with family and friends, and will be able to download supplemental Hannah Montana content when it becomes available.

Final Thoughts

'Hannah Montana: The Movie' is a family friendly film you can let your kids watch without worry. You're probably unlikely to acquire this title unless you have young daughters, but if you do, you'll know that they're getting a quality product tailored specifically for them. Recommended for parents with preteen girls. Everyone else, unless you're die hard Miley fans, you can miss this one.

All disc reviews at High-Def DVD Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.

Technical Specs

  • Blu-ray
  • BD-50
  • Region A

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.85:1

Audio Formats

  • English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH
  • French
  • Spanish

Supplements

  • Featurettes
  • Audio Commentary
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Outtakes
  • Backstage Disney

Exclusive HD Content

  • Backstage Disney
  • BD-Live
  • BD/DVD Combo Pack