The definition of a review proof movie, this 3-D concert film intersperses footage of 15-year-old Disney Channel star Miley Cyrus' sell-out 2007 tour show with carefully spun behind-the-scenes glimpses of the real life preparations for the arena spectacular. For parents who were unable to secure tickets for the young fans in their households, it's nothing short of a godsend.
The film opens with a backstage scene of Cyrus doing vocal exercises as her hair and make up crew get her into her Hannah Montana persona, a blonde, clean-teen pop star – on the evidence of her lyrics, she'd prefer rock star, but wishing doesn't inevitably make things so -- who sings about dates, parties and living life to the rated fullest. Like all the backstage footage, it's flat rather than 3-D, presumably because that's how real life is. Hannah is sassy but not naughty, high-spirited but not rebellious, and if she wears a thigh skimming mini-dress it's over decently opaque tights – hot-pink, of course. After a number with her tour mates, the equally parent-friendly Jonas Brothers, she disappears for her transformation into Miley (who was not yet Miley Ray when the show was filmed). Apparently responding to bad press about the live show's use of a Hannah body-double to elide Cyrus' temporary disappearance from the stage, the transition is now announced by the Jonas Brothers as a lead in to the two songs they do without the main attraction, starting with the surpassingly bland ballad "When You Look Into My Eyes." Cyrus returns in vaguely rocker-chick garb for the rest of the show, which is as upbeat as the beginning: She sings about girl power ("I Got Nerve"), friendship ("GNO: Girls' Night Out"), accepting your (minor) imperfections ("Nobody's Perfect"), being an "ordinary girl in an extraordinary world" ("Just Like You"), and how much she loved her grandfather ("I Miss You") before wrapping with "The Best of Both Worlds," the theme song from Hannah Montana. For viewers puzzled by the nature of Cyrus' her pre-fabricated appeal, there's a montage of young fans declaring that she's pretty, funny and smart, while a beaming dad declares her a good role model.
The show, staged by HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL's Kenny Ortega, is a slick mix of dancing, costume changes, pyrotechnics and patter, and the digital 3-D is excellent. The same can't be said for the muddy sound mix – exacerbated by the high-pitched squealing of pre-teen girls -- that makes most of the lyrics incomprehensible. Not that it matters, since Cyrus fans know every word by heart. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh