Given the success of Hanna Montana and High School:
The Musical, both Disney Channel originals, it's not too surprising
that the channel would attempt to create yet another musical franchise.
This time it revolves around a girl who goes to a summer camp for budding
rock stars: Camp Rock. While the title and premise sound
promising, the incredibly trite and predictable script falls flat and the
supporting actresses outshine the lead making this an average-at-best movie.
Mitchie (Demi Lovato) is a plucky wannabe rock star who is so ready
for fame that she even wakes up with glossed lips and full make-up.
She's a nobody at her high school but loves music and has a great voice.
Her dream is to spend the summer at Camp Rock, a summer camp devoted to
rock music. The only problem is that her parents can't afford it,
so Mitchie mopes through the first 10 minutes of the movie until her mother
informs her that the family catering company has been hired to cook for
the camp. She can go, but she'll have to help out in the kitchen.
Camp is like a dream come true. She instantly makes friends with
a would-be promoter, Caitlyn (Alyson Stoner), but soon gets trapped into
telling a lie when she meets the camp's diva, Tess Tyler (Meaghan Jette
Martin). Wanting to impress the rich girl and her entourage, Mitchie
tells everyone that he mother is the president of a music video channel
in China. Everyone is instantly impressed and she gets taken into
Tess' inner circle where she's allowed to sing backup.
Everyone at camp is excited because a member of the boy-band du jour,
Shane Grey from Connect Three (played by Joe Jonas from the Jonas Brothers)
is going to be teaching a class. Tess is sure that he'll fall
for her, but he's attracted to Mitchie's honesty and down to earth qualities,
even though she perpetuates the lie about her mother with him too.
But how long can she keep her secret while continuing to work in the kitchen
each day? And who will win the Camp Rock end of the summer Jam?
I'll readily admit that this movie wasn't aimed at me. Even so,
I found it lacking in almost every area. The simplistic story was
lifted almost in whole from a subplot in Adams Family Values, and even
if it wasn't the various plot points unfolded in a very predictable manner
like clockwork. It was easy to see not only where the movie was going,
but how it was going to get there about 15 minutes into the show.
That could be forgiven if the movie had other redeeming values, but
it really doesn't. The 'rock' that is sung (actually poorly
lip synced) at the frequent evening "jams" (the producers don't even know
what a jam is. In this movie it's consists of the various kids getting
up and performing one group at a time) is over produced lifeless songs
that have no feeling or heart. The accent is on dancing and choreography
(there's even a hip-hop dance class) rather than musical talent, and none
of the multi-cultural campers even play an instrument.
I have to say I was most surprised by the low quality of the acting.
It's obvious that Disney is hoping that the star, Demi Lovato, will become
the next Miley Cyrus, but she's so drab and lifeless in that it's hard
to see why she was cast. Her two supporting actresses, Meaghan Jette
Martin as the snob you love to hate, and Alyson Stoner as the true friend
steal the scenes away from Demi every time they're on screen together.
Stoner especially had a lot of screen presence and would have been a much
When all is said and done, this was a valiant attempt, but it just didn't
The Blu-ray Disc:
The 1.78:1 AVC encoded image looks fine but it's not outstanding.
The colors are bright and solid and the black levels are even through the
film, but the image is just a tad soft in many places and the level of
detail isn't as razor sharp as I was hoping for. Sure it looks fine
at first glance but while looking closely at the background, something
that's far too easy to do since the action on screen doesn't hold one's
attention, the lines are not as clear as they could be. Digitally
things look fine too. There was a little bit of posterization but
it was fairly minor. When all is said and done the picture looks
okay, but nothing to write home about.
This movie comes with an uncompressed PCM track (which is how I screened
the film) as well as DD 5.1 tracks in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
I was expecting the soundtrack to be to disc's strong point but it really
wasn't. There are plenty of song and dance numbers, but they never
really come alive the way that they could have. The range is fine,
but the music doesn't have that *umph* on the low end that the best concert
videos have. The audio isn't very enveloping either, which is surprising.
The rears are used but not as fully as they could be and they always lacked
punch. This disc never really drew me into the songs, which is too
bad. It could have been a lot better.
There's a fair amount of bonus material, all in HD, but none of it is
very deep and all of it aimed at younger viewers. First off is How
to Be a Rock Star, a nearly half-hour long piece that features interviews
with the cast where they talk about their character and how much they personally
enjoy music. Okay, whatever. Next up is Jonas Brothers:
Real-life Rock Stars, an interview with the tween heart-throbs where
they talk about how hard it is to really be part of a rock band.
The star of the show gets her own 7-minute interview in Introducing
Demi Lovato. It's obvious that the producers are trying to make
her into the next BIG THING, but I don't really see it. She doesn't
have the screen personality that Miley Cyrus has and just doesn't seem
to be 'flash-in-the-pan' material to me. I could be wrong however.
Maybe she'll be the next Debbie Gibson.
The disc also contains rehearsals to a couple of songs, a still gallery,
a sing-along mode where the words to the songs appear on the screen, a
couple of music videos and Karaoke versions of some of the songs.
There's also a Blu-ray exclusive Camp Rock Tour, a 7-minute behind the
This movie got very high ratings when it was first aired, and a sequel
is in the works. Even so, it isn't able to make the Rock Camp look
fun or exciting. The lead is rather lifeless, the plot very predictable,
and the music overproduced. Anyone over the age of 16 should just
avoid this however, and those younger would do better to rent it.
Note: The images in this review are not from the Blu-ray disc and do
not necessarily represent the image quality on the disc.