While I'm way out of the target demographic for this 3-D concert film, it's not difficult to appreciate the Miley Cyrus hurricane. "Best of Both Worlds" is an infectious, high-energy performance picture that overcomes its rather unsavory purpose by barreling forward with a nuclear bomb of tween enthusiasm and vivid displays of over-choreographed celebration.
Essentially slapped together to peel a few more bucks off exasperated parents who couldn't nab a ticket to Cyrus's sold-out U.S. tour, "Best of Both Worlds" doesn't let its coin-gobbling heart show. Instead, it's a rather sweet reminder of pre-teen hysteria, where 16,000 young girls have gathered to scream until their lungs bleed and bow at the feet of their queen: Ms. Miley. The young mogul takes this daunting entertainment challenge seriously, and her entourage has assembled a delightful night of song, dance, winking, and confetti guns.
I came to this concert picture understanding Cyrus's appeal, aware of her tunes, and unable to watch the Disney Channel "Hannah Montana" show for more than 30 seconds without inviting a throbbing headache. I was wary of this live movie, yet right off the bat "Best of Both Worlds" steamrolls over the viewer with its craving to jazz hands right into your heart. There's not a spontaneous moment in the entire film, but it still pleases, due in no small part to Cyrus's energetic stage prowling and the audience itself: a virtual sea of braces, glow sticks, and anxiety-attack smiles.
Surprisingly, "Best of Both Worlds" is something of a documentary, presenting the viewer with a behind-the-scenes look at the tour's creation, lorded over by the Disney Channel version of Jim Malone: veteran choreographer Kenny Ortega. We also spy Cyrus in a relaxed state, learning rock star microphone stand moves and singing with dad Billy Ray. Perhaps it's an economical way to pad out the brief film (75 minutes theatrical, 82 minutes on the "extended" DVD), but it's amusing to watch the crew pull off snappy costume changes and assorted mayhem, along with humorous interviews conducted with energized concertgoers.
For 15 years-old, Miley Cyrus has a comfort onstage few adults share. She's a natural performer, not to mention a decent singer with ideal rusty pipes that are sure to grow interesting with age and more intricate songwriting. For now, she's a pop queen, and sprinting through the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus catalog of empowerment anthems and party ditties, she displays outstanding personality and traditional plastic performance sass. She's well-rehearsed, but Cyrus is game to give her fans the night of their young lives.
To help shove some of these girls through puberty, Cyrus has brought along The Jonas Brothers: the Shaun Cassidys of the MySpace generation. The Jonas boys whip the audience into a disturbing frenzy, teaming up with Cyrus for a boisterous performance of the hit "We Got the Party" before taking on a solo number. They sound a little too flat for my ears, but perhaps that's missing the point of their appeal.
My only real complaint here would be that the 3-D isn't pushed nearly as far as it should be. Director Bruce Hendricks doesn't like to play shots out, which is where 3-D holds its power. Crowd shots are fun, but minimal, with Hendricks preferring to edit the film like any other concert video. It may be a forgettable pop culture bookmark, but "Best of Both Worlds" deserved a little more three-dimensional awe.
Presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1 aspect ratio), the concert experience was shot with HD cameras, leaving the DVD image a dazzler, bursting with rich colors and solid black levels. Audience and stage detail is vivid throughout. A full-frame presentation is also included on this DVD.
A second disc contains the film in its original 3-D presentation, offering four pairs of anaglyph glasses to enjoy the fun. The 3-D effect doesn't pack quite the same punch at home on an LCD television as it did at the multiplex, but kids are sure to enjoy the contact high of the theatrical experience.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix stays true to the concert event, placing emphasis on gently-echoed musical efforts while beautifully maintaining the crowd atmospherics in the surround channels. The DVD sounds terrific. A 2.0 mix for headphones and television speakers is also included.
English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are offered.
"The Ultimate Personal Tour" (11:24) is a promotional piece for the Disney Channel, offering even more behind-the-scenes footage, this time focusing on the conversational minutiae between the professionals and intense backstage preparations.
Jonas Brothers' "S.O.S." (3:08) and Cyrus's "Good and Broken" (3:11) are offered as deleted sequences.
"Sing Along With the Movie" presents eight of the concert's songs with karaoke-style lyrics to follow. Assured parental resentment is not included.
It may last for only a fleeting moment, but it's hilarious to see a concert film engage the audience so successfully. This is no "U2 3D" (a thoughtful, thrilling 3-D concert experience), yet "Best of Both Worlds" gets the job done in a bright, flashy manner that's more appealing than it seems, especially to those positioned outside Miley Cyrus's considerable reach.