Hannah Montana: The MovieBy Karen Wilson
MPAA Rating: G
Theatrical Release Date: April 10, 2009
DVD Release Date: August 18, 2009
Running Time: 1 hour 42 minutes
Plot Synopsis: Sometimes-ordinary girl Miley Stewart wishes she could be her internationally famous pop star alter ego, Hannah Montana, all the time. But Miley's dad Robby Ray thinks Miley has lost her way and takes her back to their roots—her grandmother's farm in Crowley Corners, Tennessee. There she reconnects with her family, small town life, and a former childhood friend named Travis who has grown up to be quite a handsome young man.
Sex/Nudity: A romance develops between Travis and Miley, as well as between Robby Ray and the new fix-it lady in Crowley Corners, Lorelai. Both couples share passionate kisses.
Violence/Gore: A fair amount of slapstick violence happens throughout the movie but without malice. Miley's brother Jackson falls out of a car window, is bitten by an alligator, and tumbles from a ladder while Robby Ray destroys a whole set of commemorative plates. Miley fights with Tyra Banks over a pair of shoes, she falls off her horse and off a chicken coop.
Which Kids Will Like It? Tween girls and younger should be enamored with this continuation of the popular Disney series which features the acting out of familiar musical numbers and a more grown-up romance for Miley.
Will Parents Like It?
The film's brisk pace, catchy songs and likable supporting performances should keep adults entertained even if they're already all too familiar with the Hannah Montana universe.
Special Features: Both the Three-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack and Two-Disc DVD include the following bonus features: Miley Cyrus "The Climb" music video, "Find Your Way Back Home" featurette where Miley takes you on a tour of her hometown, "Production 101: Jackson Style" feature on the making of the film - hosted by Jason Earles, bloopers reel, and deleted scenes with director commentary. The Three-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack also includes 6 additional musical videos, "The HoeDown ThrowDown Home Experience" where famed choreographer Jamal Sims and some of the Hannah Montana cast members do a step-by-step tutorial on how to do the dance from the film.
Kaboose Review: Now in the third season of her Disney television sitcom Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus's popularity amongst tween girls seems unstoppable. She has sold-out packed stadium concerts, peddled tie-in paraphernalia and produced a blockbuster concert film.
By branching into a fictional, full-length film version of her incognito pop star character, Cyrus appears ready to show the world that she has dramatic range, wide box office appeal, and staying power that's more Hilary Duff than Britney Spears. Hannah Montana: The Movie replays familiar themes and songs from the show but for loyal young fans will find it to be more than a retread.
Cyrus plays Miley Stewart, a high school student with a special secret: she's the megastar pop idol, Hannah Montana. With the help of a blonde wig and a deluxe pink makeup kit, Stewart transforms herself from normal girl to A-list star and no one but her family and closest friends are the wiser.
However, the lure of getting constant VIP treatment and encouragement from her publicist Vita (Vanessa Williams) has Miley acting like a grade-A diva. Fed up with her behavior, down-to-earth dad Robby Ray (Billy Ray Cyrus) fools Miley into traveling to her grandmother's farm in Tennessee for a two week Hannah detox. He hopes that the home cooking, Southern twangs, and hard work that comes with running a farm will bring back the old Miley.
Humbled by country life, Miley rekindles an old friendship with her grandmother's hired hand, Travis (the golden-haired, dimpled Lucas Till) and begins to get involved with the small town of Crowley Corners. Unfortunately a developer wants to build a giant mall in town and as a way to preserve their rustic lifestyle, Travis suggests Miley ask her "friend" Hannah Montana to come to town to perform a benefit concert. Once again, Miley is stuck in the middle of her life and Hannah's, trying to have the best of both worlds.
Like the old gag of Lois Lane never noticing the similarities between Clark Kent and Superman, the Miley/Hannah quick changes do test the audience's credulity. But Cyrus is so winning and likable that it's easy to swallow this well-worn conceit. With her long legs and long hair, Cyrus has the natural coltishness of all awkward 15-year-olds, but when she's belting out a song on stage, like the climactic number "The Climb," she seems born to be a star. Without giving too much away, the film's ending could signal the end of Miley Stewart's double life, though it would be very surprising if this were the last we saw of the talented Cyrus.
Those who crave even more Miley and company will not be disappointed with the added bonus features on the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film. Cute segments like "Find Your Way Back Home," where Miley takes viewers on a tour of her hometown of the Franklin area of Nashville, TN are charming and fun, and kids will absolutely love learning all the steps to the "HoeDown ThrowDown" dance which is featured prominently throughout the film. Everyone looks like they are having so much fun doing the dance, you may even find yourself trying to pick up on some of the dance moves.
Directed by: Peter Chelsom
Cast: Miley Cyrus (Miley Stewart/Hannah Montana), Billy Ray Cyrus (Robby Ray Stewart), Lilly Truscott (Emily Osment), Jackson Stewart (Jason Earles), Travis Brody (Lucas Till), Vita (Vanessa Williams), Lorelai (Melora Hardin), Taylor Swift (herself), Oliver (Mitchel Tate Musso), Rico (Moises Arias)
Karen Wilson is a freelance writer living in New York City.