Judge Kent Dixon has become a Hannah Montana fan. We're scheduling an intervention.
Our reviews of Hannah Montana: Keeping It Real (published April 6th, 2009), Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert (published August 19th, 2008), Hannah Montana: Miley Says Goodbye? (published March 15th, 2010), Hannah Montana: One In A Million (published January 26th, 2008), Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile (published July 11th, 2007), and Hannah Montana: The Movie (Blu-Ray) (published August 18th, 2009) are also available.
On stage she's a superstar. But at home she leads a totally normal life!
The everyday appeal of Hilary Duff and the stage presence and energy of Shania Twain…ladies and gentlemen, Miley…ummm…I mean Hannah Montana!
Facts of the Case
What's better than Hannah Montana you ask? How about 90 minutes with Hannah Montana in concert in all her 1080p hi-def glory. What's better than hi-def Hannah? How about hi-def Hannah in 3-D? No, I'm not kidding. Welcome to the sold out Salt Lake City concert Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert.
I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded music aficionado. I love most classical music, jazz, and swing. I enjoy big band, industrial, and even some metal, but I just have to draw the line at country music, and just as Cheez Whiz is promoted as "cheese food," I consider most country music to be "music food." Yes, I've lost a dog at one time or another, had my heart broken, and had someone else drink my last beer, but I have never owned a pick-up truck, either foreign or domestic. So there is a fundamental lack of connection that impedes me from getting any significant level of enjoyment from country music.
Love him or hate him, American singer-songwriter Billy Ray Cyrus struck Platinum not once, but twice with his debut album Some Gave All in 1992 and the follow-up release, It Won't Be The Last, in 1993. I'd also say it's relatively impossible to mention the name Billy Ray Cyrus without conjuring up memories of his infamous hit song "Achy Breaky Heart." His own success aside, I doubt even good ol' Billy Ray could have foreseen the success his family would achieve with the birth of his daughter Miley Ray (Destiny Hope at birth) Cyrus in 1992 at the peak of her father's musical career.
Miley was bitten by the acting bug at just 9 years old when her family briefly lived in Toronto, Canada, and she guest starred on her father's TV series Doc. In 2003, she appeared in Tim Burton's film Big Fish and appeared with her father on the Colgate Country Showdown. Little did anyone know what was about to happen when 12-year-old Miley auditioned for the lead role in a new Disney show called Hannah Montana.
The Walt Disney Company has had a hand in generating successful TV programming for decades now, dating back to the anthology series The Wonderful World of Disney, which aired from 1954 to 2005. And who can forget the other legendary Disney show, The Mickey Mouse Club, which boosted the careers of now-legendary performers like Annette Funicello, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran? When the show underwent a revival in the 90s, it served as the starting point for several American pop superstars and actors including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Keri Russell, and Academy Award-nominated actor Ryan Gosling.
With Disney at the helm and the multi-talented Miley Cyrus leading the charge, the entire Hannah Montana machine has become a phenomenon for today's crop of teeny-boppers. I mean no disrespect when I say that either, as Ms. Cyrus has won the hearts and ears of a massive audience of young boys and girls around the world. Following the debut of the TV show in March 2006, Miley Cyrus found herself at the forefront of a surge of success that has yet to subside. The show has a solid family appeal that, despite an often annoying laugh track, is not bad at all. And when it comes to singing and stage presence, you'd be hard pressed to find Miley Cyrus' equal in her own age bracket, or many others for that matter. With talent this big, Disney likely realized early on that they had lightning in a bottle, releasing a CD of music from the show in late 2006. In December 2007, Miley Cyrus was ranked 17th on the list of Forbes top 20 earners under the age of 25, with annual earnings of $3.5 million. And as of December 2007, Cyrus began working on a feature film spin-off of Hannah Montana, titled, appropriately enough, Hannah Montana: The Movie, due to be released in May 2009.
Okay, I may not be the target market for the show, but with an 8-year-old daughter in the house, I knew I'd eventually be laying my hard-earned cash at the feet of the All Powerful Cyrus. It began slowly with posters, CDs, and other miscellaneous trinkets and to this point, I just consider myself lucky that until now, my home town hasn't been a concert tour stop, or I know my VISA would be feeling the pain of that as well. I still get immeasurable pleasure from the fact that my daughter and her 6-year-old brother are amazed that Miley and Hannah Montana are actually the same person. It pleases me to no end as I often say, "Yeah, that blonde wig is a tricky customer alright!"
I popped this release into our PS3 with the most open-minded intentions possible. The fact that my daughter would love it was a foregone conclusion, but little did I expect to be tapping my foot and nodding my head along with almost every tune. Originally a theatrical release that had a one week run during the first week of February 2008, Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert is a high-energy, professional show that ranks with some of the best live concert performances I've ever seen either on DVD or in person. The 3-D movie brought in $8,651,758 on its opening day, and continued on to gross $31,117,834 to finish off the weekend, making it the highest-grossing opening weekend for a film to be released under 1,000 screens.
Miley Cyrus and her entire on-stage entourage give 110 percent through the whole concert, delivering an hour and 22 minutes of fun. Kevin, Joe, and Nick Jonas, a.k.a. The Jonas Brothers, also join Hannah Montana on stage for one song and two of their own. As young pop boy bands go, The Jonas Brothers are a talented trio that adds to the entertainment value of the whole concert.
Concert Set List:
"When You Look Me in the Eyes"
"Start All Over"
Viewers are given the option of watching the entire concert in either 2-D or 3-D 1080p hi-def and both versions are visually impressive. The depth and clarity is stunning with deep colors and deep, solid blacks that add to the drama of the darkened concert venue.
Turning to the 3-D presentation, thankfully this is not your grandmother's 3-D. I still fondly remember my first experience with 3-D when I saw The Creature From the Black Lagoon as a kid. It may be my almost 40-year-old eyes, or the fact that the 3-D glasses were not designed to fit my adult-sized head, but I had to sit them forward on my nose to get the full 3-D effect. The blue and red colors of the 3-D effect are still somewhat visible as you watch, but the 3-D effect is still solid and entertaining. The behind the scenes and rehearsal segments that are intercut between songs are available in 2-D only, so viewers need to do some quick changes with their glasses from time to time, but it's never inconvenient or overly intrusive.
The audio is where the presentation really shines through the 7.1 DTS Master Audio track. Vocals are always crisp and clear, the bass delivers a solid foundation while never dominating the mix, and the surround channels get a solid workout. The bottom line? Viewers are left with an impressive Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert experience, without the painful VISA bill to follow.
Bonus features include 2-D versions of the bonus songs "S.O.S." by the Jonas Brothers and "Good And Broken" by Miley Cyrus. Viewers can also "Sing Along With the Movie" on 2-D versions of "Rock Star" and "Life's What You Make It" as the words appear on the screen karaoke style. "The Ultimate Personal Tour" follows Miley Cyrus back stage from when she arrives at the venue, through sound checks and wardrobe and show time until she heads back to her bus after a job well done. The "Song Selection" feature allows viewers to jump directly to their favorite song or to "Play All." "
The Rebuttal Witnesses
I get the concept of the TV show and that folks seem to have no ability to distinguish Hannah Montana from mild mannered teenager Miley Stewart, but it's still a bit weird that the audience starts the concert off chanting "Hannah, Hannah" and Cyrus hits the stage sporting her blonde locks. But I'm also the guy who's willing to suspend the disbelief that no one can figure out that without those thick glasses Clark Kent is really Superman, and that when Bruce Wayne simply lowers his voice and covers the top half of his face, Holy Conundrum! He's Batman!
If you're looking for a solidly entertaining, family-appropriate concert release, this is it.
Prior to the sold out Salt Lake City concert that is featured in Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, a local radio station held a promotion where fathers had the opportunity to compete against each other, running while wearing high heels. Having seen this release, I'd definitely be up for a high-heeled sprint to take my daughter to a concert like this. Miley Cyrus is a shooting star who has years of career and incredible talent to share with her fans around the world.
Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana in hi-def and 3-D? How could they possibly be guilty?
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Scales of Justice
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