Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus - Best
of Both Worlds Concert
The Miley Cyrus hype
machine is so unstoppable in 2008 that this concert film - which normally
would have taken the express train to video racks - actually received a
widespread (but at the same time limited - however that works) cinematic
release. To add to the gimmick value of the release, it was in 3-D!
Whether the content of the
film was worthy of all this special treatment is of course secondary.
As far as the makers of Best of Both Worlds Concert are concerned, if
it will make money then it's worth it.
Proving once again that no one ever
went broke pandering to pre-teen girls, the film (despite its supposed
limited release) was the top grossing film in the country in its opening
week. Maybe that had something to do with the "event" status of the
film apparently called for higher ticket prices.
Yet, for a concert film
that is obviously "product," at least it does hold up musically for the most
part. Granted, Cyrus is not pushing any envelopes here, but her music
is a pleasant enough wad of bubble gum pop. Sure, the occasional song
sounds just a hair too much like earlier hits (the writers of "Kids In
America" and "Mickey" should be looking for restitution), but songs like
"See You Again," "Girls' Night Out," "7 Things"
and the title track are actually damned catchy.
Cyrus has a pleasant voice and does not really over-sing everything, like so
many of her contemporaries. There is also a very capable band keeping
the music tight.
It doesn't hurt either to
surrender the stage to the Jonas Brothers, who despite being teen
heartthrobs are also pretty talented musicians, for two songs.
You may not expect that
musical competence from a concert in which the tour director is not a
musician, but a choreographer (Kenny Ortega of Dirty Dancing and
High School Musical fame).
Like all of these films,
the backstage antics are the low point. While Miley seems like a nice
enough and mostly unaffected girl, she is still only in her mid-teens and
may not totally be able to articulate what she is feeling and why she makes
her artistic choices. This is really noticeable in a backstage
interview where she is trying to explain that one song that appears on the
surface to be a sad love song is actually about missing her grandfather, but
she can't quite seem to get her point across.
In the meantime, you see
lots of hijinks backstage, plus quite a few scenes of musicians, dancers, friends and
family sucking up to Miley while she tries her best to seem like a normal
girl. (A good clothing store is going out of business and everything
is 80% off! Like she really needs to save the money...) Former "Achy Breaky Heart" one-hit wonder
Billy Ray Cyrus is his normal "aw, shucks" good-old-boy self in backstage
scenes and never for a second appears to feel any kind of guilt about
pimping out his teen daughter to extend his own fifteen minutes of fame.
The complicated title of
the video - after all Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus are the same person
and yet the fictional character is given top billing -
shows the slightly schizophrenic state of Miley's career at this point, when
she is trying to break beyond her popular Saturday morning series and create
a persona for herself. For the record, in general the Miley songs are
preferable to the Hannah ones.
Eventually Best of Both
Worlds Concert will be no more relevant than Britney Spears - Live
and More or Debbie Gibson - Electric Youth Live, but for this one
white-hot moment in pop culture this is the ultimate video souvenir for
millions of young girls. At least until the next phenomenon comes
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: August 19, 2008.