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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz


A Little Background     Openers     


    Modus Operandi     The Scorecard:     

Emotive Connection      Audio     Operations    Extras     The Movie     Equipment




Camp Rock (Extended Rock Star Edition) [Blu-ray]


(Matthew Diamond, 2008)






Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Walt Disney Pictures

Blu-ray: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment



Region: A

Runtime: 98 min.

Chapters: 13

Size: 50 GB

Case: Locking Amaray Blu-ray case

Release date: August 19, 2008



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC



Feature Film: English 5.1 Uncompressed PCM (48 kHz/24-bit). Bonus Features: English 5.1 DD



Feature Film: English SDH; Bonus Features: English SDH & French



• Featurette: How to be a Rock Star (27:51)
• Featurette: Jonas Brothers: Real-Life Rock Stars (15:42)
• Featurette: Introducing Demi Lovato (5:39)
• Featurette: Camp Memories (5:47)
• Featurette: "Hasta La Vista" – From Rehearsal to Final Jam (4:53)
• Featurette: "Too Cool": Setting the Scene (3:34)
• Music Video: "Start the Party"
• Music Video: "We Rock"
• Sing Along with the Movie
• Camp Rock Karaoke
Exclusive to Blu-Ray
• The Camp Rock Set Tours (6:30)

• Theatrical Trailers in HD (x6)




The Film: 4
"Harmless" is a word that leaps to mind here. The moral of this made-for-the-Disney Channel movie is stated loud and clear – and it's a good lesson for kids of all ages: Be yourself. Live your life, not someone else's. Be true to yourself and your dreams even if it risks being popular. It's this last directive that our heroine, Mitchie Torres (newcomer Demi Lovato), learns in this predictable, and occasionally fun Disney movie (whose target audience, let's be clear, is several decades younger than me.) With this confession out there for all to see, I feel entirely irresponsible in saying that even for a kid's movie, Camp Rock is rife with underdeveloped characters whose motivation and response to situations turns on a dime to satisfy the demands of the plot. Let me describe an example while setting up the situation: Mitchie strikes us as your average, sweet high schooler, who is just dying to attend what would be her first Camp Rock this summer. Camp Rock is sort of a summer prep school for kids who want to make it in the entertainment world. Mitchie's parents are unable to afford to send her until her caterer mom lands a job feeding the kids at camp. Their daughter gets in at a significantly reduced fare, the only condition is that she work part time in the kitchen. Once at camp, Mitchie quickly runs afoul of mini-celeb Tess Tyler (Meaghan Jette Martin as a Britney/Paris wannabe) and her small group of Tess Tyler wannabes. Next thing you know Mitchie feels she needs to invent a fake backstory about herself to fit in. She registers appropriate anxiety at just about every turn for the remainder of the movie for her sins, often with the expected comic results – until, of course, she is unmasked.



When Camp Rock alumnus-turned-rock star, Shane Gray (Joe Janos) shows up as an instructor, you would think that his arrival would turn a few heads, but it seems it's not that big a deal, especially for Mitchie, who for reasons that certainly went right past me, finds herself completely at ease with him on every occasion. Given her status envy of Tess and her ilk, I found her cavalier attitude about Shane (a boy, no less!) to be more than a little improbable. (But what do I know? The script is credited to five females and one male.) Anyhow, given her confidence with Shane it struck me as contrived that she would maintain her false history with him when an opportunity presented itself to clear the air. Now I can provide my own answers to this, but I would have preferred a story for kids to have fleshed out and clarified the issues, not turn them into pabulum.


Image: 5/7
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVDs, including SD 480i.

Those sun-drenched Coppertone complexions, regardless of race, get a bit tiresome here. That approach to make-up, art design and photography worked better, I thought, in the more stylized High School Musical 2. Not that it should matter very much to its intended audience (he said, dismissively) but this image is not really very good. The photography lights just about every scene so that we can see clearly and deeply into it, but the image, as recreated on this blu-ray, is no sharper or better resolved as the best 480i DVDs out there. Camp Rock suffers mostly from fuzz factor. The image quality is roughly comparable to HSM2 – with noticeably more fuzz in the present instance. (In my revised scoring system, HSM2 would get a 6/8).












Audio & Music: 6/6
Just when I thought there would be nothing to write home about – the dialogue is crisp enough; the music track is vivacious, but bass-poor as well as not particularly dynamic; and the surrounds are, for the most part, inactive – I noticed that the musical numbers are poorly lip-synced. The editor cleverly cuts away each time it becomes clear that these guys aren't really singing what we hear, but by then it's too late.




Operations: 8
Walt Disney Studios Blu-rays continue their chapter-skipable previews and promos before the loading of the feature film begins (And once again I am grateful for the PS3). As in some other recent Blu-ray DVDs, the menu lists the length of the various segments along with a brief description. And it's laid out so that even an adult could use them without assistance.


Extras: 6
Camp Rock has nothing if not lots of featurettes of all descriptions. Tips on How to be a Rock Star from the Jonas Brothers and the cast is the highlight. It's a clever, entertaining self-parody, if I do say so myself. Then we have a segment all about the Jonas Brothers that you can pack into 15 minutes; an even briefer bit behind the scenes with Disney's hottest new talent, Demi Lovato (now in pre-production on Camp Rock 2); a video scrapbook of the cast, on & off the set; actors Jordan Francis and Roshon Fegan follow "Hasta La Vista" from rehearsal to finished product; Anna Maria Perez de Tagle does likewise for "Too Cool". There are also optional modes for a sing along and karaoke modes. The two music videos: "Start the Party" and "We Rock" with Jordan and the cast, are in execrable SD picture quality, which, thankfully, cannot be said of the other bonus features. The Camp Rock Set Tour, exclusive to the blu-ray edition, is really just another backstage featurette, but in 1080p. The running gag is that Joe Jonas makes ten appearances like he's some sort of drop-in celebrity instead of simply one of the cast.




Bottom line: 6/2
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Camp Rock isn't really much of a movie even for its intended audience. It makes for interesting comparison to HSM2 in that the earlier movie is more polished, but the characters more two-dimensional. I found
the characters in Camp Rock to have more potential as real people, but that the script fails to deliver the promise. There are a couple of nice songs and the cast has obvious talent, but I vote: Thumbs Down. As for kids, tweens and older: I say again: Harmless.

Leonard Norwitz
August 19, 2008







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