|Here's a terrific wifflegif.com rendering of the immortal Hannah Montana Hoedown Throwdown for thine pleasure|
|Le ART film du Miley|
Hannah Montana - Le Film
Dir. Peter Chelsom
Starring: Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Emily Osment, Jason Earles, Peter Gunn
Review By Greg Klymkiw
When a middle-aged man wanders alone into a theatre full of 8-year-old girls and their Moms, then plops down front row centre, 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? Though a lad couldn't admit he loved Hayley Mills, it was assumed his mates were equally enamoured with the sweet-faced star of Pollyanna.
Alas, 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 disdain I'd receive from the mothers in the audience gave me a taste of what it must feel like to be of any non-caucasian racial persuasion walking into a Ku Klux Klan rally (only not quite as dangerous in spite of similar glares of hatred). This happens less now that I am usually accompanied by my own daughter to such extravaganzas, but I did initially find myself alone during an opening weekend 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 subsequently had the pleasure of watching every extant episode of the Disney series Hannah Montana on DVD (with my daughter, of course), followed by a few too many screenings of Hannah Montana: The Movie on Blu-Ray (with my daughter, of course), I recall that halcyon first theatrical screening of the big screen rendering of Miley Cyrus's Hannah Montana picture wherein she became my favourite contemporary child star.
The title character – much like Superman – bore two identities. By day, she was normal kid Miley Stewart, but by night she became pop music sensation Hannah Montana. Somehow, by merely donning a different-coloured wig, nobody – including characters who should know better - could seem to cotton on to the truth. Well, it worked for Clark Kent with a suit, tie and ultra-nerdy spectacles, so why not Miley/Hannah?
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. Miley's wildly erratic behaviour (a far cry from Cyrus's real-life shenanigans these days) includes a public catfight with Tyra Banks over a pair of shoes in a swanky shop and an unexpected rift with her best friend Lily (Emily Osment).
Wise Dad brings his daughter 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), a whole passel of (no-doubt inbred) 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. As well, Crowley Corners is facing destruction at the hands of evil developers and only Miley/Hannah can save it.
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 was subject to derision from pretentious critics, but the fact remains that the movie itself proved to be extremely engaging. Not only was it everything one would want to occupy the attention spans of kids, but it also fulfilled the very necessary function of promoting family values of the highest order. Miley’s Dad, for example, is a single parent, but not because of divorce, but because her Mom died. This is so much more palatable than parents who are too selfish and immature to put their kids first.
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,I believe the aforementioned poetry will be etched on my mind until my last breath.
What makes the big-screen version a winner, is that it cleverly delivers a stand-alone movie that requires no prior exposure to the series. HOWEVER, once watching the series (yes, I must admit this to myself sometimes, if not the rest of the world), it's obvious how the same-said theatrical version provides oodles of connections for all those familiar with the TV show. More importantly, the film's makers realized that one needed to adhere to the heart and soul of the series, but ALSO up the ante with a whole new location, some new characters and also infuse the whole affair with the sort of big-screen scope that makes you feel like you're watching a bonafide theatrical motion picture as opposed to an overlong episode of the TV show.
Walt Disney’s Blu-Ray release of the feature film 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 music 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 a Muslim extremist wholeheartedly accepting Zionism. So do please enjoy.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: *** 3-Stars
Hannah Montana – The Movie is available on Blu-Ray from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.
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