Monday, February 4, 2008

Jane's Review: Hannah Montana

by Jane Louise Boursaw

Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus:
Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour in 3-D

Reel Rating: 3 out of 5 reels
MPAA Rating: G
Released in Theaters: Feb. 1, 2008
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Family, Tween
Runtime: 74 minutes
Directed by: Bruce Hendricks, Kenny Ortega (stage director, producer)
Cast: Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers

SYNOPSIS: Miley Cyrus hits the road with her 54-city concert tour last year, sharing the stage with the Jonas Brothers. This movie includes bits of behind-the-scenes stuff, but it’s mainly concert footage.
Sex/ Nudity: None, although Miley dons a few mini skirts and struts some racy dance moves – but not many.
Violence/Gore: None, although dancers accidentally drop her during a stage sequence.
Profanity: None.
Which Kids Will Like It? Ages 7 and older who love Disney Channel shows like “Hannah Montana,” “Life With Derek,” and “High School Musical.”
Will Parents Like It? Yes. Although both my 10-year-old daughter and I wish they would have included more behind-the-scenes footage. The bulk of the movie is concert footage.

REVIEW: Miley Cyrus, the beloved sweetheart of Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana” series and daughter of singer Billy Ray Cyrus, stars in this movie chronicling her 2007 concert tour. It’s in 3-D, which sort of makes you feel like you’re at the concert. On the other hand, makes you realize how much you missed by not being at the concert.

If you were able to snag tickets to Cyrus’ actual concert, you probably shelled out thousands for them – a price that outraged many parents of tween girls begging to attend. Tickets for the movie are high, too, selling in the $15-$18 range. Why? Because it’s all a giant money mill! On the other hand, it’s a small price to pay to make your little Hannah/Miley fan happy. Or, you might say, it’s the best of both worlds.

The movie opens with 14-year-old Miley (her age at the time of the tour) donning her trademark blonde wig to go on stage. On “Hannah Montana,” the wig is what “disguises” her from her alter-ego – although my daughter and I laugh about that, because she looks just the same, only with a blonde wig!

The first half of the concert, she’s Hannah Montana. The second half, she’s Miley Cyrus. There are plenty of wardrobe changes throughout, which means lots of frenzied quick-change sessions back-stage.

While the Hannah segment is wholesome and saccharine, the Miley part gets a little racier. Though she never goes over the line, Miley’s mini skirts and half-seductive dance moves might raise a few parents’ eyebrows.

The songs themselves are addictively catchy, from favorites like “The Best of Both Worlds” to the punchy “I Got Nerve.” Cyrus joins the Jonas Brothers – also Disney Channel favorites – for “We Got the Party.” Between musical numbers, we see tiny glimpses of her life off-stage, including teaching her dad a song she wrote. Not nearly enough, in my view. I would have liked to see more of her real life, and less of her onstage persona. As a performer, however, she’s truly amazing and never shows a smidgeon of nerves.

As mentioned, the movie is in 3-D, although aside from a few flying guitar picks and confetti blizzards, we don’t really notice it that much. I found the 3-D distracting and would have preferred to see the entire movie in regular format.

And all I could think through the whole movie was, here’s this 14-year-old girl who’s getting all this attention and who’s the center of a huge money machine and media frenzy. I can’t imagine letting my kid do this or giving her such a huge responsibility for so many people.

And at one point, her mom says, “They finally brought me into the loop to help dress her between sets,” and I’m thinking, you mean, you weren’t in the loop before? Man, if it was my girl, I’d be there every second. I mean, maybe she was, but it didn’t come off that way.

Plus, during one of the concert sequences, some dancers accidentally drop Miley during a lift. She gets a little spooked and doesn’t want to do the stunt, but her mom and director encourage her to do it, saying they’ll change the moves so there’s no chance of dropping her.

Again, it just seems like they’re laying a lot on this girl, and I hope she doesn’t fall into the downward spiral of so many young stars.


One Reel: Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels: Coulda been a contender.
Three Reels: Something to talk about.
Four Reels: You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels: Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Louise Boursaw is a freelance journalist specializing in the movie and television industries. Visit her online at or email

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