Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Camp Rock 2 - The Final Jam Blu-ray Review

For those 8.9 million Disney Channel Movie premiere viewers who made Camp Rock a huge success, here comes the sequel you’ve been waiting for…Camp Rock 2!  All of the elements that made the first one so popular have returned – The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, and a new talented group to round out the cast.  I’ve never seen the first movie but thanks to my son’s love of the Disney Channel, I’ve seen plenty of music videos and clips of the movie to be familiar with it. You’ve got to hand it it Disney, if you work for them they will do all they can to cross promote you in about every way possible since they use their own stable of talent for about all of their productions pulling the cast from an assortment of Disney Channel shows.  This movie has cast from Sonny With A Chance, The Jonas Brothers, Phineas and Ferb, Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, and more.  I highly recommend young actors to focus on working for Disney! So let’s move on to the review…

Film (3 out of 5 stars) 

When Mitchie (Demi Lovato), Caitlyn (Alyson Stoner) and the rest of their friends  return to Camp Rock (a summer camp for aspiring musicians and singers), they quickly discover that a rival camp called Camp Star has opened across the lake from them.  This new camp is run by Alex Turner (Daniel Kash) who is a former band-mate and rival of  Camp Rock’s owner Daniel Fathers (Brown Cesario).  Camp Star doesn’t share Camp Rock’s philosophy of  having fun while you learn music and instead focuses solely on winning at all costs.  It’s basically Camp Death Star.  On the other side of the lake, the students at Camp Rock face their own problems, as a lot of the camp’s staff have deserted to join their rival for the chance to make more money.  Just as the camp is about to close due to the lack of staff, the Jonas Brothers and Mitchie step up to become counselors so that the camp can continue.

Tensions mount between the camps and a show to decide which camp is better is scheduled to appear on TV with callers calling in to decide which side won.  (Why anyone would care enough to watch two summer camps battle it out on TV and call in to vote on it is beyond me).  Mitchie takes the challenge seriously and drives everyone in the camp mercilessly wanting to make sure that their routines are perfect while losing sight of what was made her love the camp in the first place.  All fun is sacrificed along with any time she could be spending with her boyfriend Shane.   Of course, before the end, she will rediscover what’s important in life and the Camp Rock philosophy towards music.

A lot of the plot is very formulaic such as the idea of a underdog summer camp going against a better funded and more organized foe has been seen many times. There are also the subplots of Mitchie’s lack of time to romance Shane (Joe Jonas) as he becomes more and more focused on saving the camp, and also of Nate’s (Nick Jonas) Romeo and Juliet romance with the daughter of the  rival camp’s owner (Chloe Bridges).  There is also the requisite betrayal of one of Camp Rock’s own over to Camp Star by the egotistic Tess (Meagan Jett Martin) who thinks she could do a lot better by leaving.  The movie’s saving grace however is the talented cast who seem to give it their all with well-choreographed dances and some decent songs.

While watching this movie, I couldn’t help but think how things have changed since the Mickey Mouse Club was on TV.  Those original Mousketeers never had to work so hard on their choreography or singing and the rest of it.  The new Disney kids need to know how to sing and dance and I’m not talking about basics either.  This movie had a lot of intricate dance routines in it that must have taken a long time to master for the young cast.  Not having seen the first movie, I wasn’t sure what my reaction to the movie would be but I was pleasantly surprised.  The dance routines were well executed the movie’s likable cast made give this movie more stars than I probably would have normally.

Video (4 out of 5 stars)

The movie has a very good picture with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio with a resolution of 1080p using the AVC codec.  I didn’t didn’t think the picture quality would be that great for a TV movie but I was happy to be surprised.  The colors pop brilliantly and there is a lot of nice detail as well and even better, there wasn’t any over-saturation and I didn’t notice any DNR abuse. There were a few night-time shots that were a little fuzzy and some close-ups that looked soft but overall this had a very nice picture quality.

Audio (3 out of 5 stars)

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1  mix does a great job especially during the musical numbers which put the LFE to good use.  The surround field doesn’t get used that much except during the aforementioned musical parts but when it is used it’s used well.  I’m not sure why the sound field wasn’t utilized more since they obviously could have but that still doesn’t detract from a pretty decent audio track. The main focus of the movie is the musical numbers and those sound great so considering the amount of songs in the movie, you’ve got most of the movie covered well.

Special Features (2 out of 5 stars)

These special features are pretty basic but I’m sure fans of the movie will enjoy seeing them.   I do have to mention a change I noticed that I applaud.  Lately, when you put a disc in the player, you are forced to watch a ton of trailers, ads, etc.  On this disc at least, Disney has changed their usual presentation by only putting their top tier trailers like upcoming movies like Tangled, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, Prince of Persia, Toy Story 3, and Beauty and the Beast and then has a screen telling you about the  rest of the ads and trailers that can be found in the special feature section.  I love that Disney isn’t front-loading the discs anymore and I hope other studios take note of it and follow their lead.  As usual, the Blu-ray has more special features than the bare bones DVD.  Here are the features that can be found on the disc:

• Rock-along – Basically a Karaoke track with sing along lyrics.

3-Disc BD Combo Pack (1 Blu-ray, 1 DVD version, and 1 disc for the Digital Copy)
• Rock-along – Basically a Karaoke track with sing along lyrics.
• Getting to know Camp Star’s newest stars – Alyson Stones interviews some of the new cast about their auditions and
experiences. A pop up fact track about the starts appears during the interviews.
• Music videos from camp rockers around the world

Final Thoughts (3 out of 5 stars)

Although I am not the target demographic for this kind of movie, I still appreciated the dance routines and energy the actors brought to the movie. It also has some decent songs and I am sure that most of the ‘Tween audience will love this movie just like first one.  The addition of  Disney Channel favorites such as the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, and Alyson Stone,  can only add to the appeal of the movie. This is a movie that the whole family can watch and enjoy and being a Disney movie, you can be assured that it’s safe for young children to watch.  If you were a fan of the first one, then you should definitely pick this one up too!
Order your copy today!

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